Friday, December 8, 2023

Rodney’s favourite backyard shade – Fothergilla Blue Shadow


As I’m making ready to show an all-day design course at CMBG, I’ve been going by way of the entire necessities of backyard design: texture, kind, repetition, symmetry, perform, and, after all, shade.

I like shade! Too many panorama designers declare that as they turn into extra subtle of their tastes, they eschew shade for easy shades of inexperienced.

That’s hogwash.

A buddy and I used to joke that when designers get to their “I want shades of inexperienced” stage, they’re often burned out.
Miles Davis

Alright, sufficient opining; let’s get onto my favourite shade – blue. After I say blue, I imply metal blue.

The blue of Panicum ‘Heavy Metallic,’ Agave americanaZenobia pulverulenta, and this week’s plant decide, Fothergilla x intermedia ‘Blue Shadow.’

This blue is delicate whereas on the identical time being highly effective if used appropriately within the backyard. It has probably the most dramatic glaucous blue leaves. If this shade had been music, it could be Miles Davis’ Sketches of Spain (easy, stunning, and powerful). I’d like to design a blue backyard with these and different vegetation represented and, after all, blue audio system emitting Concierto de Aranjuez.

A properly mounded behavior of icy blue-green foliage – fothergilla (also referred to as witch alder) is a standout in any backyard.  Picture from Monrovia (the place you can too order this plant).

Proper now, Fothergilla x intermedia ‘Blue Shadow’ is placing notes of “what’s that stunning plant?” to our company. 

This cool, moist summer season has allowed the foliage to be bluer than ever. 

Fothergilla x intermedia 'Blue Shadow'

Fothergilla intermedia ‘Blue Shadow’

Fall colours

Fothergilla fall

I grew Blue Shadow in Pennsylvania and the leaves would flip from blue to inexperienced after a few 90 diploma weeks – it prefers full solar however will tolerate partial shade, however to get the perfect shade, be certain that the soil is reliably and evenly moist.   

Our plant is nestled beneath a deciduous larch that gives afternoon shade for the shrub. This fothergilla is a hybrid between the massive Fothergilla main and the small Fothergilla gardenii. One of many first cultivars from this cross was Fothergilla x intermedia ‘Mt. Ethereal,’ which was launched by Dr. Michael Dirr. Then, Gary Useful from Useful Nursery in Oregon discovered a department sport of Mt. Ethereal with the extreme blue shade we now know as Blue Shadow.​excellent scarlet

Over time, Blue Shadow fothergilla will kind a shrub 6′ tall and large. It’s a dense multi-stemmed deciduous shrub that maintains a properly rounded behavior. Along with dependable moisture, it additionally desires well-drained and acidic soils. A little bit of afternoon shade is sweet for the plant to maintain the deep, powder-blue foliage. 

Within the fall, the leaves will change to deep reds and oranges earlier than falling off of the plant. It’s recognized for its spectacular fall colours. 

Showy spikes of aromatic white flowers emerge from department ideas making this a terrific multi-season curiosity shrub.

In late spring, the plant is roofed with bottle-brush-shaped white honey-scented flowers. The flowers are enticing, however the true motive to develop Blue Shadow is for the colour of the distinctive shade of leaves.

Do you want metal blue foliage vegetation in your backyard?

If that’s the case, I wholeheartedly suggest that you just develop Blue Shadow fothergilla.

– Rodney

  • Plant just a few fothergilla ‘blue shadow in a rhythmic manner by way of massive prolonged shrub borders.  These placing foliage vegetation shall be a focus all through the rising season, and you need to use them to information the attention across the backyard. 
  • Plant Fothergilla in mass plantings for a clear, fashionable design with a delicate contact.
  • Each Fothergilla main and Fothergilla gardenii are native American species discovered within the Allegheny Mountains and southern Appalachian Mountains of the southeastern United States. Fothergilla varieties are sometimes included in native gardens past it’s native vary as a result of it’s a good useful resource for pollinators. 
  • If you’re in New England, Fothergilla is a wonderful alternative for the backyard – it’s hardy to zone 4.

And various to F. ‘blue shadow’ is Fothergilla gardenii ‘Blue Mist’. It’s NOT nevertheless thought of to be a greater selection. It isn’t as vigorous, not as blue, and never as robust as ‘Blue shadow’.

Fothergilla gardenii ‘Blue Mist’ by Megan Hansen


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