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Rose Of Sharon

08/06/10 1:04PM By Charlie Nardozzi
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AP Photo/Bloomsburg Press Enterprise, Jimmy May

I'm Charlie Nardozzi and this is the Vermont Garden Journal. Common names for plants can be tricky. Take the Rose of Sharon, for example. Depending on the plant it's a biblical bulb grown in Israel, an evergreen shrub in Europe, or a deciduous shrub that's the national flower of South Korea and means immortality. That's the one I want to talk about.

Hibiscus syriacus gives you the beauty of the tropical hibiscus flower in a shrub that's hardy to zone 5. I really love this plant because it flowers in mid summer when few other shrubs are blooming. The plant is slow to leaf out in spring, but produces single or double flowers that hummingbirds love in colors ranging from white to lavender. It likes the heat and will keep blooming for weeks into August.

Grow Rose of Sharon in a well-drained spot in full sun. Give it room. Most varieties grow to 8 to 12 feet tall and 6 feet wide, making it an excellent hedge plant. It's best to select newer sterile varieties such as 'Minerva', because older varieties produce a ton of viable seed and the plant can become invasive. Oh, and not only is the flower beautiful, it's edible too!

Now for this week's tip, speaking of weird things to eat, got any extra sunflower buds around? Harvest sunflower flower buds before they open, steam them, serve them with melted butter and viola, you have the poor man's version of the artichoke.

Next week on the Vermont Garden Journal, I'll be talking about the putting food by!  For now, I'll be seeing you in the garden!


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