This time of year the island is popping with excitement. It’s almost Figawi, and town is starting to fill up with the summer crowd. Although it feels like we have only been graced with two days of sun all spring, our garden on Somerset Road is coming along nicely. The border of lady’s mantle is all budded up and the ferns, Astilbe and Hosta have begun to fill in the shady areas. Deutzia gracilis, one of our favorite shrubs, is just about to reach full bloom in the border.
If your garden could use a big splash of white for Memorial Day, Deutzia gracilis (Slender Deutzia) might be just the right plant for you. This medium to small sized shrub does very well in sunny locations with average soil and even moisture. But slender Deutzia also does just fine in part shade with sporadic water. We notice that our Deutzia that gets more shade tends to arch wider than it is tall, while the one that gets more sun is somewhat rounder.
The species is a shrub of medium size, reaching 4 to 5′ tall and wide with arching branches that are covered their full length in white bell-shaped flowers in late May. After the flowers fade, it’s medium green, ovate leaves provide a calm space in the garden that provides a great backdrop for summer-flowering perennials like Nepeta, Calamintha, or Geranium ‘Rozanne’. For smaller gardens, ‘Nikko’ is a tried and true compact cultivar that stays under three feet. In the past few years we have sold the Proven Winners selection, Yuki Snowflake® which seems to be just as strong as ‘Nikko’ with the same compact habit. “But I need more color!” No problem! Chardonnay Pearls®, another Proven Winners plant, has chartreuse leaves all season. A google search for “Pink Deutzia gracilis” pulls up Yuki Cherry Blossom® a selection with pink bicolor flowers. There is even a variegated selection, ‘Nikko Dawn’.
So, there you go! A beautiful shrub that won’t take over your garden, is deer resistant and never seems to get any bugs. That’s Deutzia gracilis. Try it, I think you’ll really like it.