Friday, April 04, 2008
Japanese Pieris 'Valley Valentine'
Pieris japonica 'Valley Valentine'
Synonyms: Andromeda, Lily of the Valley Shrub, Fetterbush
Recently I posted a picture of Pieris jap. ‘Flamingo’ and I thought that was one of the ‘reddest’ cultivars but this ‘Valley Valentine’ blooming at the Estate actually seems a little darker. It is really pretty up against the white varieties. The Pieris collection, which has about 60 plants of about 25 different cultivars and species is always special when it comes into flower. I know that it is finally spring and it is really the first group of plants that blooms all together. There are a few Cornus mas blooming right now and the Forsythia is just starting to show some color. If you look around in Connecticut gardens you can usually see some Andromeda. They are very popular and one reason is they are deer resistant.
Pieris is easy to grow and can take sun or a good deal of shade. It likes rich organic soil and a cool root zone. It can tolerate quite a bit moisture; I have some growing right on the side of a pond or slightly dry conditions after it is established. Lace Fly can be a major pest of Pieris. The plants seem less susceptible to infestation when planted in shade. I do occasionally spray with Merit if the population gets too big. Pieris japonica is considered to be the most cold hardy of the seven different species of Pieris. It was introduced to western cultivation in England around 1870.
Pieris is also the Latin binomial of the ‘Whites’ Butterfly . A rare case of a plant and insect sharing the same name.
This is a picture of Pieris japonica ‘Flamingo’, also blooming now at the Estate. You can see that it has more white in the flower when it blooms. It is still a beautiful cultivar. I think you be seeing more of both of these varieties in the future.