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Wine & Roses® Weigela

WINE & ROSES recently became the first Weigela ever to win the coveted Pennsylvania Horticultural Society Gold Medal Award. This is not your grandmother's Weigela.

When you think of Weigela, most likely you recall pleasant memories of that big old shrub in front of your Grandmother's house. You remember the burst of pink or red trumpet-like flowers in spring and the hummingbirds that gleaned its nectar. But can you remember that plant once the blooms had faded? Not likely, because Weigela is one of those plants that fades into garden obscurity after spring. Unlike our Grandmother, we demand landscape plants with more. Our precious garden space is best reserved for plants that not only flower but also earn there keep with additional attributes like attractive fruit, colorful stems or fantastic fall color. So is Weigela a shrub that deserves to be a garden memory? Not with the introduction of WINE & ROSES Weigela florida 'Alexandra'. WINE & ROSES recently became the first Weigela ever to win the coveted Pennsylvania Horticultural Society Gold Medal Award. This is not your grandmother's Weigela.

WINE & ROSES is the culmination of nearly twenty years of breeding effort by Herman Geers of Boskoop, Netherlands. Geers patiently crossed existing varieties of Weigela, sowing out thousands of seeds each year and selecting out only those with the darkest foliage. After selecting out the best plants, he crossed  pollinated those and repeated the process numerous times until he got what he was after, the first, truly purple-leafed Weigela. By all accounts this is a plant development breakthrough. Wine & Roses shines from spring to fall by combining colorful foliage and intensely colored, funnel shaped flowers.

One of the most interesting aspects of this new plant is how it's being used in Europe. The dark purple foliage is so attractive, it is being sold and used as a cut branch in the thriving European floral market. Floral designers are combining Wine & Roses with more traditional cut flowers like roses, baby's breath and chrysanthemums to create uniquely beautiful flower bouquets. Demand is so high in Europe that the world famous Dutch flower auction at Aalsmeer has been selling Wine & Roses for as much as twenty times the price of traditional cut flowers. Wine & Roses is a natural addition to floral bouquets because of its unique color and lasting ability. You can easily combine it with common perennials found in your garden. Try combining Wine & Roses with either Shasta Daisy, Siberian Iris, Globe Thistle, or Russian Sage. The results will simply amaze you.     

As a garden shrub Wine & Roses is strong grower with no serious insect of disease problems. Reaching a mature height of four to five feet, it may be easily trimmed to maintain lower height. It can be used as a hedge, as a foundation plant or it can be effectively integrated into a shrub or perennial border to provide season long color. It's also perfect for use in a Hummingbird garden or cut flower garden. Like many perennials, a light shearing after it blooms in mid-spring will often be rewarded with a second bloom. To achieve its best foliage color it is essential to plant Wine & Roses in full sun. Sunlight  brings out the dark pigments that gives Wine and Roses it dark purple leaf color.

Wine & Roses is now available in the United States and can be found locally at better garden centers and nurseries. If they don't have it, ask them to find it for you. Good garden centers will carry the plants you want. Plants like Weigela Wine & Roses.

By Tim Wood 

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