Today in the Garden of a Lifetime: 'Sunburst' Hypericum

When the foliage of 'Sunburst' hypericum returns later in Spring, and its flowers in Summer, the writhing branches that are their scaffold will be hidden. Muscularity and complexity will be clothed in fluff and frills.




These branches are at their contorted and colorful best at their bases, which Winter snows hide. With the entire shrub a mound of blue foliage and yellow flowers all Summer, lovely as they are, that leaves Spring and Fall as the seasons for viewing structure—for savoring substance and honoring meaning-of-life endurance.


The multicolored flaking bark rivals that of Stewartia, Lagerstroemia, or Parrotia, but all of those shrubs and trees have a broadly-upright and, comparatively, orderly branching habit. The branches of Hypericum frondosum 'Sunburst' arise in a Medusa-like mass from the shrub's base.




 My colony has a pronounced lean overall—in the picture below, towards the front—but this is from the shade of larger deciduous shrubs and small trees farther back. If the shrub could be planted closer to the front (mine is easily a dozen feet back from the edges of an enormous 20 X 30-foot bed), or in planting pockets of ledge, the wild energy of its branches that is revealed in the cool months could finally be center-stage.




I'll give 'Sunburst' a full profile when it's in flower.

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