Perhaps it’s just too easy. Pieris, also known as Andromeda or Lily-of-the Valley shrub, likes our climate, and so we see it everywhere. The old “familiarity breeds contempt” cliché kicks in and grumblings can be heard expressing distaste for a versatile shrub that manages to look good year-round with little to no coddling.
The yellow leaved variety has new growth that ranges from pinkish to almost white, and is a nice alternative to the lovely but only marginally hardy Choisia ‘Sun Dance’.
I’m still on the lookout for one with this pink new growth, which matures to a pleasant medium yellow-green.
Here’s one with deeper pink new growth. Unlike shrubs that sport flowers this impressive, the leaves simply turn slowly greener, rather than withering, dropping and creating a big mess.
The new growth on variegated varieties can be especially interesting.
‘Winter Fire’ is the only one I can name for you. Sorry for the lack of scholarly research, but late April, early May would be the time to go shopping to see what the colors will be.
I quite like the linear effect of buds forming.
I find them least attractive in full bloom: faintly reminiscent of a high school prank.
At Joy Creek they prune their Pieris to show off even the flowers to best advantage.
Unlike some pruners, who spare themselves flowering, but at what cost?
In fact, if you want to see Pieris at their best, Joy Creek in the spring has a number of different varieties in their display gardens.
The other thing I noticed when driving around working for the US Census was that Pieris has found its way into foundation plantings along with more interesting conifers than had been the norm. Since we started gardening on a large property it has become less important for every tree or shrub to be a conversation piece. Sometimes something that can hold its own against the elements, make few demands upon the exhausted gardeners and look better than merely presentable through all the seasons is just the ticket. More leaf lovers’ talk over at Digging.
So…now that I’ve made my case for this much-maligned shrub, what do you think? Have I changed your mind? Did you like them already? Can you imagine one taking up residence at your place?