What’s in Bloom
Virginia Sweetspire (Itea virginica ‘Henry’s Garnet’)
Native to the Southern US, Virginia Sweetspire is a small, spreading shrub generally reaching 3-4’ in height. It is planted for interest in both the spring and the fall. It flowers profusely in the spring, producing an abundant number of white, fragrant flowers. Though the plant stays green throughout most of the summer once the flowers have passed, it turns a brilliant purplish-red during the fall. Virginia Sweetspire is currently flowering in the Fort Point Channel Parks.
Common Bluestar (Amsonia tabernaemontana)
Common Bluestar is a perennial plant native to the Eastern US, producing light-blue colored blooms in the late spring. Like many other bluestars, the foliage turns a bright yellow during the early fall, adding an additional season of interest for the plant. It can tolerate a wide variety of soil and moisture conditions, however does struggle in heavy shade. Common Bluestar can currently be seen flowering in the Wharf District Parks.
Sweetbay Magnolia (Magnolia virginiana)
Native to the Southern US, though there is a small wild population in Massachusetts, the Sweetbay Magnolia is a small tree which grows 10-20’ in height, though significantly larger in the south. It is most commonly planted for its flowers, which are white to cream in color and possess a sweet lemony fragrance. The flowers first appear in late spring, though the plant will continue to flower sporadically throughout the summer. The leaves of the plant are also appealing with a silvery underside, providing an interesting effect when the leaves blow with the wind, and an interesting texture, balancing between the thin foliage of a deciduous tree such as a Maple, and the thick, leathery leaves of a broadleaf evergreen such as a Rhododendron. The Sweetbay Magnolia is a “semi-evergreen” tree, and will attempt to hold on to many of its leaves throughout the winter. Though the Sweetbay Magnolias on the Greenway tend to be completely defoliated by November, in other more sheltered locations across the state at least a few green leaves persist throughout the winter months. Sweetbay Magnolias can currently be seen flowering in the Wharf District Parks.