Tuesday, June 19, 2012

The Variegated Weeping Redbud

Several weeks ago I posted about the new stone bench we got for my shade garden, and how I was searching for a plant for behind the seat to give the area some height.

The requirements were rather daunting - the plant had to be skinny enough to fit behind the bench, and it had to tolerate a fair amount of shade and some not-so great-draining clay soil.  Oh, and something with flowers would be preferred..

I spent awhile trying to find a plant that would work.  After blogging about this difficult corner some gardeners gave me some great suggestions to think about; however, soon afterwards we unexpectedly happened upon a plant that amazingly fit all the requirements for the site.

Meet our new variegated weeping Redbud tree - Cercis canadensis ‘Whitewater’:

Cercis canadensis 'Whitewater' behind garden bench
We found this unusual Redbud cultivar while perusing our local nursery, which was having a great sale on trees and shrubs.  Mr. Red House (who can never resist a tree) fell in love with it, and it happened to be perfect for this corner.  The 'Whitewater' Redbud tree grows to around 7 feet tall and only 3 feet wide, and, according to the nursery, can tolerate quite a bit of shade. 

variegated leaves of the 'Whitewater' Redbud tree
A recent cultivar of our native deciduous Redbud tree, the 'Whitewater' Redbud sends out white-splashed leaves that become greener as the summer progresses.  A bonus - like the common Eastern Redbud, this tree will sport magenta-rose colored flowers in early spring.  (I can't wait!)

Redbuds are known to tolerate clay soils quite well, though not necessarily heavy waterlogged ones.  The amount of compost I've incorporated into my shade bed should hopefully be sufficient - thankfully this site doesn't get truly sodden like some other parts of the garden!

I was pleasantly surprised to find out this this cultivar was locally developed right here at North Carolina State University by Dr. Dennis Werner.  I'm hoping that means that it will do exceptionally well in this area!

Of course now I need some medium height plants to bridge the height gap between the tree and the rest of the garden...and I'm going to have to move those hostas that don't really match well...

Is there any such thing as a completed garden?


  1. A Redbud for the Redhouse...perfect!

    1. Ha, I didn't even think of that, but you're right - it is perfect!

  2. The redbud tree has very nice leaves!

    1. Thanks! I like the look of them a lot. They are supposed to have even more white when they emerge in spring.

  3. I've never seen such a small Redbud. It's very cool that it was developed so close to you :)

    There is no such thing as a completed garden, have you ever thought about adding some lattice work, and a flowering vine behind your bench. From the picture it looks like you have plenty of space to keep circulation around your siding. Just a suggestion, I'm a nut for vines :)

    Happy Gardening and congratulations on your find!

    1. I'm nuts for vines, too! I actually used to have a clematis back there, but it really doesn't get enough circulation back there. The clematis ended up with lots of powdery mildew :(


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