A Gardening Journal

Today in the Garden of a Lifetime: Regel's Wingnut



By Christmas, the papery three-winged seeds of Regel's wingnut that were rosy white in July have exchanged that coloring for the sturdier warmth of browned butter.  The colors may have shifted, but the aesthetic integrity remains solid July into January.


That's six months of display.  How many other plants can make the same claim?




The pendulous clusters are usually five or six inches long, as shown above, but some loll all the way to eighteen. 


By the time they have reached this coloring, the clusters are fully dry, and can be harvested for dried arrangements—or, given the season, as one of the garnishes to a wreath.  Their "warm wood" hue would be magnificently backed by the large glossy evergreen foliage of Magnolia grandiflora, harmonized by the brown fuzz that so heavily backs it, and accessorized by the magnolia's large orange seeds




But all of my southern magnolias are already "fully swagged" with companion vines and scandent shrubs.  Besides, when they are present from Spring through mid-Fall, the leaves of Tripterygium regelii would be vastly outgunned by those of the magnolia.  So this pairing of wingnut and magnolia is best achieved when both become a seasonal part of your indoor decor.  


Here's how to grow Tripterygium.

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