Garden Photo of the Day

At the top of my spring shopping list

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Photo/Illustration: Michelle Gervais

I spotted this colewort at White Flower Farm‘s display gardens in Litchfield, Connecticut, a couple of years ago and fell madly in love. Colewort (Crambe cordifolia, USDA Hardiness Zones 6-9) grows up to 8 feet tall and 5 feet wide and flaunts billowing clouds of small white flowers starting in late spring. The AHS encyclopedia says that the large leaves die down in mid- to late summer, which makes me wonder what I’ll do with that blank space in my small garden come August. Any suggestions?

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  1. arboretum 04/05/2011

    cannas, miscanthus, rudbeckia herbstsonne; all get tall and showy in Aug.

  2. user-7006900 04/05/2011

    I have just purchased seeds to start C. cordifolia this year. Anyone have sowing advice?

    Beautiful plant.

  3. CountryCousin 04/05/2011

    On a garden tour a few years ago, I saw a Crambe in full bloom, planted in front of a purple smokebush (Cotinus coggygria), which was also in full 'smoke'. The effect was breath-taking. And - though I didn't know Crambe foliage dies down, as I've seen it in gardens late in the summer (zone 4)- if it did die down, you'd still have the wonderful, dark purple foliage of the smokebush to fill your eye.

  4. sheilaschultz 04/05/2011

    I've never seen this plant before, looks like a lot of fun! The smokebush idea sounds pretty interesting!

  5. JardinDelSol 04/07/2011

    Michelle, Pennisetum Purple Prince (or the smaller Princess) would be perfect! It begins very small but grows very quickly once the hot weather start. By the time the crambe fades, the pennisetum begins to explode in size. I think both White Flower Farms and have it. In your frost zone, it would be an annual. Take some photos when you grow the crambe!

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