Those of you who’ve been following this blog for a while will be aware that I’m a big fan of Physocarpus – ninebark as it’s known in North America – and especially of the variety Coppertina (‘Diable d’Or’). And it turns out that I’m not the only one. The Association of Specialty Cut Flower Growers has named Physocarpus Coppertina as one of its three Cut Flowers of the Year.
As soon as I heard this judy went out and cut eight or nine stems from the plant outside my window. OK, we let a few of the stems get dry when the water in the vase got low and we forgot to top it up. But even those stems lasted almost two weeks before they started to look sad – with no special treatment and no flower food. And those whose stems never got dry lasted almost three weeks and even then it wasn’t as if they were dead… just not really looking lively any more. They were in fairly good light and the only change was that they steadily became less bronze and more green. Later, I tried a couple of stems in very poor light – but they didn’t really like it.
Physocarpus Coppertina is a tough and resilient shrub which after a year or two in the garden produces so much growth that cutting shoots for the house won’t make it look thin. In the fall, after a shower, its bronze foliage gleamed beautifully and with Hosta ‘Christmas Tree’ at the base it makes a lovely picture.
But our Coppertina plants have never bloomed or fruited well. They’re in good light all the time but not in full sun for more than a few hours a day – perhaps it’s not enough. But, frankly, it doesn’t really matter. With their amber new shoots maturing to rich bronze and with its proven value when cut for the house, it’s one of the first shrubs I’d choose for a new garden.
The other winners of the Association of Specialty Cut Flower Growers Cut Flowers of the Year award are:
• Fresh cut flower: Lisianthus 'Mariachi Carmine'
• Dried flower: Capiscum 'Nippon Taka'
But you know… I really don’t find them so very interesting.
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