I have mentioned that I like for plants to “pull their weight” in our garden. One such plant is Abelia grandiflora ‘Rose Creek,’ which is a dwarf, glossy abelia. We have had this enjoyable shrub now for about six years, and it is still performing well with very little maintenance.
Butterflies love the small, white, fragrant flowers. Black and Eastern Tiger Swallowtails, Hackberry Emperors, and Silver-spotted and Fiery Skippers nectar on it, and they stay for several minutes at a time allowing you to get some photographs! Flowers bloom from the new tips from late May through fall, and, as the flowers die, they are replaced with dusty, pink-coral sepals. The leaves are shiny green and persist through at least some cold weather.
Flowers from this shrub also make soft, old-timey additions to cut flower arrangements. Since abelias have been grown for so long in Tennessee, they remind people of their gardening days of yesteryear. Add ‘Rose Creek’ to a bouquet to carry to the nursing home to awaken some happy memories.
Plant ‘Rose Creek’ in full sun if you want to maximize blooms and butterfly visits. It has a loose growing form with some “spranglers” that may need to be trimmed from time to time, but the overall size is not more than four feet tall and about as wide. It is not particular about soil.
This is a good, solid shrub that “hits the mark” of beauty, functionality, and maintenance for the Tennessee butterfly garden. You can probably find it for sale at local nurseries.
©Rita Venable 2012