I wouldn’t want to be out on the street. Especially if I was evergreen. Can you imagine? Plow trucks. Sand trucks. I mean, it’s bad enough in the summer with the steady stream of vehicles whizzing by. In winter, it’s suicidal.
There’s zero chance that your average conifer-on-the-street would live to see a second spring. But a deciduous shrub might have a prayer, I figured. Even so, when I first sent Hypericum ‘Blue Velvet’ out to play on the road, I didn’t hold out much hope. Nevertheless, I needed a fearless volunteer (preferably shrubby) to fill the spot that Spiraea betulifolia ‘Tor’ left when it proved unequal to the assignment. (Anybody else having disease problems with ‘Tor’? Mine came down with a leaf blight.)
What’s not to love? This is a whole different animal than most hypericums. First of all, the plant remains a tight 3 foot mound – just as dense as Ilex crenata ‘Helleri’. Granted, it’s not the first shrub in the neighborhood to leaf out. (Some gardeners would accuse it of hesitancy. I would counter that leafing out late is wisdom.) When it finally does don clothes, the foliage is compact and bluish in hue. By midsummer, yellow fluffy flowers like its fellow St. John’s Worts are added to the brew and the bees go bananas.
Then comes the seedpods that form little green pips at the tips of each branch. That’s the state of blissful affairs until autumn when the foliage could rival a sugar maple for autumn flair. ‘Blue Velvet’ goes out in a conflagration of fiery shades.
Hypericum ‘Blue Velvet’ has proved to be streetwise in a beat where only bulletproof shrubs can survive. That said, it would probably do even better in a more humane situation. Still, I suspect that the true grit on the streets is just what this tough guy prefers. Sandy, poor soil is its mother’s milk. Stay tuned, because I’ve got further stories of heroes who survived on the street. How about y’all? Anybody have a survivor story to share?
Wondering where you can find it? I got mine from Broken Arrow Nursery in Hamden, CT www.brokenarrownursery.com