Bye bye cherry tree – the easy way
New variegated culinary sage

The dream catcher

Kolkwitzia amabilis Dream Catcher (‘Maradco’). Image: © All rights reserved. This is the best new foliage shrub I’ve grown in recent years. OK… a bold claim. But in its habit and its coloring it’s not only unique but supremely effective in the garden. And it’s unusual in a number of ways. I’m talking about Kolkwitzia amabilis Dream Catcher (‘Maradco’).

Now, I expect we all know the familiar K. amabilis ‘Pink Cloud’. It’s a tough, upright shrub with arching growths and in spring every branch is lined with pretty pink trumpets. It makes a spectacular specimen for a few short weeks – after that it’s main use is as a host to summer flowering clematis.

Dream Catcher is the opposite, the foliage is almost surreal. Opening vivid yellow with a coral tint then going through a brief soft orange phase it matures to a uniform bright yellow, it’s a spectacular color enhanced by the new shoots having pinkish red stems. And in fall the whole plant turns orange.

But it doesn’t grow upright with the side shoots arching over like ‘Pink Cloud’. Instead it makes an ever expanding mound with the new shoots arching over each other in layers of flat symmetrical branches. The larger of my two plants is about 5ft/1.5m across and 30in/75cm at the top of this year’s new growth. It looks wonderful but it will never get to the 8ft/2.4m I’ve seen ‘Pink Cloud’. Kolkwitzia amabilis Dream Catcher (‘Maradco’). Image: © All rights reserved.

I’ve never pruned either of my two plants and they’re both behaving in the same way. In fact I’m thinking of moving one of them to trail over the edge of a raised bed I’m going to make on a slope. Both are in partial shade and the one in more light has developed more quickly.

I’ve had each about four years but neither has ever flowered. Frankly, I don’t care, I’m not sure that pink flowers would quite suit the yellow foliage. But arching over the dark green leaves of Helleborus x nigercors and over Hosta ‘Gold Standard’ alongside, and with self sown forget-me-nots peeping through, it looks wonderful.

In Britain you can buy Kolkwitzia amabilis Dream Catcher (‘Maradco’) from these RHS Plant Finder nurseries.

In North America Kolkwitzia amabilis Dream Catcher (‘Maradco’) is available from Forest Farm, Sooner Plant Farm and Wayside Gardens to name just three.