March 19, 2009

A Sweet Little Shrub

I like shrubs that do well with little maintenance. A cute character that grows in my garden is itea virginica 'Little Henry.'

Before I purchased several of these shrubs in fall 2006, I only knew about the large, native itea, often called sweetspire. I saw the bright red fall leaf color of 'Little Henry' and decided to give it a try.

This deciduous shrub is versatile and can handle sun or shade, and a variety of soils. Suitable for zones 5-9. Standing between two and three feet high and wide, these are compact shrubs that take up no more space than some of my perennials.

I planted these in my rain garden since they can handle wet feet and sunshine. In mid-May, 'Little Henry' produces spirals of white blooms.

Itea 'Little Henry' is on the deer resistant list. A few blooms seem to disappear, so I do believe that the deer are sneaking a snack now and then. I've not had a problem with aggressive runners or spreading of this shrub, but always research whether or not a plant will be a problem in your area.

Amsonia hubrichtii looks like a good companion, so I need to do some rearranging to move the amsonia and itea closer together. Perennial ageratum and iris ensata are other good companions in moist soil areas.

Story and photo by Freda Cameron
Freelance travel writer. My current fiction writing projects include a completed manuscript and several works in progress.

By the way, my name is pronounced fred-ah, not freed-ah. Thank you.

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