Next up is the Kolkwitzia amabalis or beautybush (not to be confused with beautyberry). I admit it's wild and scruffy-looking enough to be mistaken for honeysuckle shrub - not a flattering comparison - but I love it for its old-fashioned good looks and other qualifies, like:
It grows really fast, up to 15' x 10', but can fit into a
smaller space by pruning or, as I've done here, by tying it up to a
wall or fence. That's a bit of cheating I indulge in lots cuz I hate
to see plants crowding each other or lying on the ground. But scraggly
or not, wouldn't you rather see it than the toolshed? It's shown here
at its mid-spring peak, of course, because I'm a show-off kind of
gardener. Heather in Houston nailed me on that score all right.
Finally, because I'm also a naturegirl, I admire the beautybush because it's a perfect nesting shrub for my wild birds (feed 'em enough and you start thinking they're yours, not Nature's). So I recommend this shrub from China as a wildlife-friendly plant, despite the fact that it's one of those exotics, nonnatives, immigrants - pick a word. See, nobody ever wants to tell you about the good nonnatives, but I will. Gardeners need as many choices as we can get, dammit.