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Report From An Opinionated Gardener – September 6

Most of the time plants bloom and then set fruit. This allows us to appreciate the various phases of development in the garden, from the new foliage in the spring to watching the maturing seeds in the fall. This year I accidently found a way to have both fruit and flowers on my honeysuckle, and I’m thrilled with how this looks.

Lonicera periclymenum ‘Belgica’ is my favorite honeysuckle. The flowers are fragrant, the foliage isn’t prone to mildew, and if it’s deadheaded the vine repeat blooms all summer. Why are the nurseries filled with the non-fragrant, often mildew-ridden ‘Gold Flame’ when this plant is, in my striving-to-be-humble opinion, so superior?

True, in order to have both fruit and flowers you have to deadhead most of the old blossoms and leave just a few to develop seeds. This isn’t difficult because basically it calls for doing a half-assed job of deadheading in late June, something that gardeners such as myself excel at since the end of June is a busy time.

This honeysuckle is a great example of finding the small treasures that happen as a result of normal life. Sometimes we go out of our way to do things perfectly, and other times we do them well enough. How nice to know that an adequate but less-than-stellar effort occasionally results in perfection.

Lonicera periclymenum ‘Belgica’ on September 6th.

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