My new Smoke Bush was this year’s garden triumph. Planted as a freebie experiment, it produced healthy leaves and developed real roots this summer. The shrub should start filling out in 2016, and maybe even bloom.
Last fall, Curtis came home with a branch from his mother’s Smoke Bush. Her shrub in the Beacon Hill garden has grown into a beautiful 10-foot tall and wide monster. She had Curtis prune it, and this particular branch was slightly buried. The part that hit soil sprouted about a dozen small roots.
“What the heck, let’s plant it and see what happens,” he said. I chose the big ugly pot in back as its experimental home. Filling it with fresh potting soil, the branch became the centerpiece. I planted other perennial orphans around it; two Black Eyed Susan roots, an Asian Chive, and a Weeping Chinese Lantern start.
By early spring, buds started showing up on the branch. In May, tiny leaves sprouted. The leaves filled out nicely by August. It went from branch to Smoke Bush when it developed a healthy root system. The other perennials took root, grew leaves, and even threw out a few late summer flowers.
With Christmas nearly here, everything has died back, but the Smoke Bush remain entrenched. Unlike last December, it doesn’t blow over in heavy wind. I’ll probably give last year’s orphans to my friend Amy for her new garden. I’ve decided the ugly pot will be the perennial orphanage.