Abelia x grandiflora 'Edward Goucher': I mostly forget we have this plant in the garden. I only remembered yesterday when I was getting a picture of the little fig tree and 'Edward' got in the way. Three of them live on a very steep very dry slope, where they bloom all summer and grow--quite vigorously--without pests or problems. Their flowers feed hummingbirds and bees. The growth habit is exuberant fountain, long arching stems shooting from a center, growing ever larger and denser with time. A few years ago I cut them to the ground, and they came back perfectly and without complaint, to be a fountain once more. Extreme heat will create some bare stems; those I remove to the ground. There are plenty more to replace them.
I have another more glamorous Abelia, Abelia x grandiflora 'Kaleidoscope'. The leaves are variegated green, cream, and yellow, with touches of apricot, and sprout from arching red stems.
Abelia x grandiflora 'Kaleidescope':
'Kaleidescope' is quite a bit smaller than 'Edward', perhaps 2'x3'. 'Edward' will get '8x8' or thereabouts. While 'Edward' must make do with steep dry slopes and hard whacking, 'Kaleidescope' has a prime spot by the front gate. Such is the indulgence I make for variegation.
Abelia x grandiflora 'Kaleidescope', against a background of Calocephalus brownii:
The neighbors have their Abelias trimmed into buns. They look quite splendid in their own way, though most of the flowers are lost. Their bougainvillea gets the same treatment, but not quite the same beauty. Abelia looks quite fine sheared, while bougies are only flowerless--what's the point of that? Mere neatness.
All in all, Abelias are a plant so tough, uncomplaining, and yet graceful, that while I always forget it lives in our garden, I am glad it does. An unsung hero!
Speaking of heroes, the Amaryllis belladonna are reaching their peak...