Friday, October 3, 2008 – Buddleia Hemselyana

Why is it when friends give advice, we don’t take it?  Two summers ago, three friends and I toured several gardens in Cary, North Carolina.  They were all interesting and unique.  Two of the gardens were graced with Buddleia hemselyana. The first garden had it front and center in her very traditional front garden.  A new planting and alluring.  Tall, graceful arching branches holding flowers of lavendar and purple.  It looked elegant.  I was immediately drawn to it.  I didn’t realize it was a butterfly bush until Jere told me so.  Well, of course I had to have one for my butterfly garden.  Jere was proud of it as well.

When we make it to Suzanne’s garden, we are oohing and aahing until we come upon a plant that is narly, nasty looking.  It’s appearance wasn’t enhanced by the gardeners half hearted attempt to kill it with roundup.  It was also huge.  We asked Suzanne what it was and why she was killing it.  We couldn’t believe it was the same cute plant in Jere’s garden, Buddleia hemselyana.  Jere and I actually defended it.  “How – why would want to kill it,” we ask.  The pinnacle shaped flowers were gorgeous and butterflies were all over it.  “It gets too big,” she says.   I told her that I wanted one.  She advised against it.

Two gardening friends with two opinions.  Nothing new about that!  I proceed to get one and enjoyed it for the first year.  The second year, it is WAY to big and narly looking with out any attempts to kill it.  After replaying the conversations in my head from the summer 2 years before, I wondered why I didn’t listen to her advice.  I finally took it out.  Sure glad I did.

As it happens, I was visiting my friend Jere’s garden and looked for her Buddleia hemselyana that graced her front garden so nicely 2 years earlier.  “Where’s the butterfly bush?” I ask.  “It got too big,” she says, “I moved it to the back.”  I wonder how long it will last in the back.

Oh, and I broke a shovel trying to dig it out!

Helen Yoest


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