Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Plant Discoveries

When we moved to Maine in the winter of 2004, I noticed the large bush next to the house. It was taller than me and without any kind of foliage I couldn't tell what it was.

As the seasons changed, I began to think that the plant was dead. It was April and no sign of life had made any kind of appearance on this brown, twiggy thing.

But not long afterward, it finally woke up and by the end of the summer, it was one of my favorite plants ever.

Smoke Bush - 'Daydream' variety

I've only seen two Smoke Bushes (Cotinus coggygria)in my life and I feel fortunate that one of them is in my own yard.

In the Summer of 2008 we had a pretty bad storm one night and the next day we found that a huge limb of our Maple tree had split off from the main trunk and, even worse, that the Smoke Bush looked as if a giant had decided to use it as a chair cushion.

We (meaning the FIL and his trusty chainsaw) pruned it and we tied it up, but to no avail. It still looked squashy and sad. Fortunately, the pruned branches produced a ton of new growth so we knew the plant itself was healthy - but we could only keep half of it off the ground.

Today, the chainsaw came out again and the FIL is doing cosmetic surgery on it as I type. Who knows what it will look like when I get home tonight. I do know that he's not getting rid of it, but I doubt it'll ever look like this picture again for a very, very long time.


  1. Trade you. I'll move to Maine, you move to Nebraska. I planted a purple and a gold-leaved variety two years ago--they grow fast!

  2. No smokebushes here...not that I've seen anyway. We might be a touch too chilly for them. Hope yours recovers in good time, if not, every "death" in the garden can be looked at as an opportunity to plant something new, right?

    Christine in Alaska

  3. I'm liking that smoke bush. This is the problem, I'd have to clear another patch of garden for it. I doubt it would like the English cold though!

  4. IG, you might be able to grow it. It will grow in zones 4-9. They will grow in almost any soil type, but they do need full sun. You can also keep it any size you want, but it only blooms on previous seasons' wood, not new growth.