Pied Beauty

Gerard Manley Hopkins (1844-1889)

Glory be to God for dappled things—
For skies of couple-colour as a brinded cow;
For rose-moles all in stipple upon trout that swim;
Fresh-firecoal chestnut-falls; finches' wings;
Landscape plotted and pieced—fold, fallow, and plough;
And all trades, their gear and tackle and trim.

All things counter, original, spare, strange;
Whatever is fickle, freckled (who knows how?)
With swift, slow; sweet, sour; adazzle, dim;
He fathers-forth whose beauty is past change:

Praise him.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Foliage Friday: Nandina 'Blush Pink'

Years ago, I developed a strong dislike, verging on hatred, for nandina.  People who don't garden are always a little surprised that we can actually hate a plant, but we can and we do.  Every gardener I know has a plant that she secretly (or not so secretly) despises, sometimes for no reason at all.  I'll confess, I hate red annual salvia, like 'Lady in Red,' and also the bronze-leaf wax begonias.  No reason.  Just hate them.

But I had a good reason, long ago, for disliking nandina.  The Chief Engineer and I had just bought our first house together, and I took it into my head to dig out the nandinas in the front and replace them with azaleas.  The house boasted two huge Camellia japonicas, and to my way of thinking, only azaleas would do.  Digging them out nearly killed us.  Eventually, we had to tie one of the rootballs to the truck and pull it out.

However, it's been over 20 years and I'm coming around.  This winter, the nandina were stunning, perhaps because most of our tropicals and semi-tropicals were so badly frozen.  The leaf color was rich and dark green or red and the berries were abundant.  I feel better about nandina now.

Nandina 'Blush Pink'
Here's a nandina that's especially pretty.  'Blush Pink' is a sport of an old nandina favorite, 'Firepower.'  The new growth is almost red and contrasts nicely with the bright lime-green older foliage.  This nandina's on the compact size and should only reach about 3 feet tall.  All nandinas tolerate bright shade and make a nice, evergreen foundation plant for the South.

Note:  some jurisdictions list Nandina, or Heavenly Bamboo, as an invasive species.  Some experts disagree.  They do sucker outward, forming ever-larger clumps. 


  1. The plant I hate: sago palms. I can't figure out why, I just don't like them.

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  3. I'm laughing because I share your distaste for all three: nandinas, annual salvias and wax-leaf begonias. Like you, though, I can accept Blush Pink Nandina. There's also a variety called Flirt that gets pretty fall color. I had a trial plant that seems to have disappeared so perhaps it's not hardy here.

  4. Bought a dwarf Nandina, for the railway, but that seems to be reaching for my shoulders, just like the not dwarf ones I already had ;>)

  5. Blush Pink is quite lovely! My thoughts about 'hated" plants is that they don't belong in my garden, but if someone else likes them in theirs, that's fine. I don't like most begonias, either, but I love the angel wings. I haven't found a dahlia I want yet, but who knows? There may be one waiting for me at the next garden center!