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Chardonney Pearls is deutzia that electrifies
By Norman Winter
Central Mississippi Research & Extension Center
Just when you think you've seen everything in the gardening world, up pops a new deutzia. Your grandmother may have had an old white variety that bloomed every spring. The new Chardonney Pearls will change everything you ever thought about deutzia.
Let's look back at Grandma's deutzia for an adequate comparison. This heirloom plant commonly called Fuzzy Deutzia is known botanically as Deutzia scabra. Grandma would probably have told you it was native, but in reality it is from Japan and China. What Grandma more than likely didn't know was that besides the white selection, there were also double pink varieties and even some with hints of purple.
Lately, deutzia has been as hard to find as a four-leaf clover. I suspect that is because deciduous shrubs have fallen out of favor. Most of us think that every perennial has to bloom like New Gold lantana and every shrub must bloom and be evergreen.
Thanks to some innovation in both plants and marketing, Proven Winners is helping bring back a real enjoyment in gardening by introducing a Flowering Shrub collection. In this collection we find Chardonney Pearls, a variety of Deutzia gracilis called slender deutzia.
This species is from Japan and grows 6 feet tall. Chardonney Pearls should be somewhat shorter, between 3 and 4 feet tall. The foliage has an interesting, season-long lime-yellow color. In the spring, pearl-like buds open into glistening, fragrant, white blossoms.
I suspect grandma's deutzia went unnoticed after its spring bloom, but Chardonney Pearls will be just beginning. Placed as a center plant in a large mixed container or grown as a specimen near the front door, it can really add sizzle to the landscape. Choose attractive companion plants, such as blue or purple flowers, to accompany this jewel. Look for a new petunia series called Sanguna next year. Together, the Sanguna Midnight Blue and Chardonney Pearls absolutely will stop traffic.
Proven Winners is promoting these plants for both mixed containers and the landscape. Other outstanding choices in the collection are Black Beauty elder or Sambucus, with dark purple-black foliage and pink, lemon-scented flowers.
Two others I am excited about are hollies we call winterberry or Ilex verticillata. Berry Nice, which has been out a while but hard to find, and Berry Heavy both will excel in the South and prove to be a delight to feasting birds. They will make great cuts for the holiday season.
Talk to local garden center and see if they will get in some of these great new plants. Plant some this season and one day your grandchildren may talk about your old-fashioned Chardonney Pearls deutzia.