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This plant looks really good out of bloom, especially in autumn

Spirea thunbergii ‘Ogon’

Dugald Cameron

PLANT OF THE WEEK

Spirea thunbergii 'Ogon'

WHY YOU SHOULD PLANT IT

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I am not a big fan of spireas. They are ubiquitous where I live, much favoured by lazy landscapers since they are pretty much unkillable.

But 'Ogon' is a special treat. The leaves on this cultivar look almost sensually soft. It is floriferous, ergo has a lot of white flowers in early spring. The real treat, though, is that it looks really good out of bloom, especially in autumn.

WHERE TO PLANT IT

Make sure it gets lots of sun. This deciduous shrub, which tends to get leggy and look very awkward, is what's known as an edge plant: It likes to be near the edges of a garden, but not in a woodland or shade plot.

Five hours of sun will give it a strong golden hue; more shade and it will be closer to a chartreuse. Well-drained soil and a regular haircut will keep it from looking ordinary. In fact, it can be a real beauty. Prune out about a third after it has bloomed to keep it in good fettle. It grows about 1 metre high by 1.75 metres wide in Zone 5.

WHAT IT OFFERS

Great white blooms in spring and three seasons of superb foliage colour.

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Plant it carefully. Don't just think of the pretty white spring blooms – that's easy. Think about combining it with other wild autumn colours and it will fit in perfectly with its rich orange hues later in the year. This one would look good with woodland edge plants such as Serviceberry; the orange of one with the gold of the other could make a lovely scene. It's a fine hedge plant as well.

SOURCE AND COST

Get it for $19.95 through www. gardenimport.com, the mailorder specialty nursery based in Richmond Hill, Ont.

For more plant and garden information, visit www.marjorieharris.com.

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