April 11, 2010

Spring Garden Tour -Berkshire Botanic Garden

Magnolias set the stage in the Berkshire Botanic Garden, saying "spring is here" boldly.

Prunus subhirtella autumnallis

Identified yesterday after viewing this blog by John Grimshaw ( thanks John!) as Petasites hybridus, not P. japonicus as we first we're told that it was, ( although it was correctly labeled at the BBG), this is then indeed a different form of Petasites from our selections of P. japonicus. Mr Grimshaw also informs us that this is a northern European species, "It has nothing to do with P. japonicus beyond generic kinship and the shared habit of extreme invasiveness". Take note: Plant this with caution! This will run and carpet a significant part of your garden. We like it, but we have a large garden and don't mind dedicating a few hundred square feet of wet garden to such plants.

which has a distinctly different blossom in color and form, than our form of the same species. Thankfully, the Berkshire staff shared a division with us ( ha, shared - most people dread planting the plant since it runs, but we are the sort who like such statements). I think that this form may be the slightly smaller Petasites japonicus that was being shared in the 1990's and not the true P. japonicus var. Giganteus' that we have ( from the old Heronswood) since our form has flowers that are lime green and massive. Still, I love the way this form blooms, much denser and when naturalized in the woodland in moist areas, makes a nice early statement in the garden ( in the 'right' garden setting, anyway). In the summer, the huge umbrella like leaves will look like lotus leaves floating above the ground. I've been told that these leaves are about 3 feet in diameter, our form has some that are 4 feet wide, and 6 feet tall.

More Petasites (pronounced Pet-ah-sight-tee's).

A jeffersonia blooms in the woodland garden.

The Bloodroot is starting to blossom in the garden, a few weeks before out native form blooms in the woods.


  1. Your new butterbur is the northern European species Petasites hybridus (our only native species in the British Isles). It has nothing to do with P. japonicus beyond generic kinship and the shared habit of extreme invasiveness.

    John Grimshaw

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