Spirea is one of my favorite shrubs. There are many different kinds – we have at least four varieties of them in our yard. The nine dwarfs with their open leaf work add a wonderful texture to our plantings in front of the house. The flowers amaze me. Not only do they continue throughout the summer, but they come in a variety of colors on the same plant – hues of pink, lilac, and white, so light and delicate. The leafless winter branches are also perfect for holding the white twinkle lights we decorate with at Christmas.
Out by the mailbox we have five spireas with lime green leaves and just the hint of a flower every now and then. I love these because they are the only plants that have survived (and thrived) in that spot.
When I first started my quest to add spirea to our yard, we bought the one that is now out by the side gate that separates the front and back parts of our lawn. It has balled-up white flowers that look like teeny tiny roses. There are hundreds of them on each branch. This bush is always stretching for the sun, and consequently it has grown into an odd comma shape. It may need to be relocated, because I am tired of pruning it and ending up with the same sad form. It is very ambitious and determined though, so I can’t get rid of it altogether.
My favorite spirea is in the rear, growing beside the stone column that sits beside the back sidewalk. This is the one I was looking for all along. Its cascading branches spread graciously to welcome the close friends and family that always come to the back door. It survived a severe clipping by our daughter’s dog, who nipped at it repeatedly when she was staked out in the back yard and didn’t like being there one little bit. It was probably a good thing, though, because this spirea can grow to be quite large. I keep it trimmed each year, and now it drapes itself over the column and along the sidewalk and sways in the gentle breezes that chance to blow there.
I decided we had to have a spirea because I remember the one in my family’s yard when I was young. I thought it was one of the most beautiful things I had ever seen – from afar it was like a flower waterfall and up close it was even more magical. This variety that I love most is called a bridal wreath spirea, with circles of small white flowers that look like a miniature bridal bouquet. The return of its blooms each spring renews my faith and gives me hope for the growing season to come.