Oddly, when it comes to plants that pique my interest, I tend to have the memory of an elephant, yet with birthdates and anniversaries, well suffice to say I have been compared to a fruit fly…… hey! Wait a minute!
I was in Chicago three years ago at the IGC [Independent Garden Centre Convention] and stumbled across the most amazing spectacle! It piqued more than just my interest! It initiated a full sensory overload, culminating in a hortgasm of immeasurable proportions! Sweet baby Jesus, what is that? The leaves were similar to those of Albizia [Mimosa] but the deep, rich velvety purple hue had me doubting myself. Meet Albizia julibrissin ‘Summer Chocolate’ – everything about it sounds sexy doesn’t it?
Of course that was three years ago and it wasn’t until I visited Whistling Gardens this past year and had the opportunity to reacquaint myself with this mesmerizing specimen, did I know for a fact that come hell nor high water, I would be adding one to my garden repertoire in the coming months. They were sold out, but Darren [consummate plantsman and fellow addict that he is!] ensured me that he would have it again in Spring 2013!
Of course, like so many of my hortgasm worthy tribe, it definitely falls into the realm of ‘Zonal Denial’, but has this ever stopped me before? Hardy in Zones 7-10 [and even here I am told it benefits from winter protection!] it attains heights of 9m x 5m! I’ve already got the ceramic pot that will be its home – out on the front veranda for the summer - and then inside for the winter months! I think Loree might have experience with ‘Summer Chocolate’….. if so dear friend, drop a line and offer me some edumication between now and May, when I will be traversing to pick up number two on the ‘Must Have’ list!