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Fresh Cream for the Garden

NEW! Nothing makes fresh berries more appealing than “crème fraiche.” Yum! Now you can add some ‘crème fraiche’ to your garden, too. There is an exciting new introduction called Deutzia ‘Crème Fraiche’™. To give you an idea how wonderful this plant is, first let me tell you about a close relative which I believe ‘Crème Fraiche’ came from. Almost two decades ago, I stumbled upon a plant growing in the parking lot at Longwood Gardens. The plant was the Slender Deutzi, Deutzia gracilis ‘Nikko’. The plant had nice green foliage, and bright pure white flowers. I was unfamiliar with this particular plant, and was very excited to see something new and exciting. Nikko was a selection for its horticultural merit and it originated from Watanabe Nursery, Gotemba City Japan in 1976. It was introduced in the late 1980’s here in the United States. Even though it is a fantastic plant, it is still relatively unknown. There has never been much marketing to promote it, but it does seem to gain in popularity every year. It has a compact, low growing habit. In ten years, it will only grow to about two feet tall, and one plant can spread to about five feet wide. It has gentle arching branches. It does lose its leaves in the fall, but before it does, it gets a spectacular burgundy fall color. It is an ideal groundcover for rock garden or perennial border and well suited to the small garden. The flowers bloom late April to early May in profuse panicles of small white flowers. The only disappointment that I have with ‘Nikko’ is that the flower time is so short. ‘Crème Fraise’ gives you quite a bit more seasonal interest in that it has all of the benefits of ‘Nikko’ and its leaves are edged with a rich crème variegation. This plant looks spectacular planted with yellow flowers. For best flowering, I recommend planting it in full sun. It will tolerate some light shade if you don’t have a sunny location.