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Here are the Mystery plants for the week of May 9.

5-9-20 Laburnum or Golden Chain tree.

This deciduous tree is native to Europe. When in bloom with large clusters of yellow blooms which hang down, it is one of the most stunning trees on the planet.

If you have ever been to England in May you have been treated to their beauty. In many gardens they are trained into tunnels of blooms.

While they are winter hardy in Arkansas, they are not too happy in the heat and humidity of an Arkansas summer, so rarely do you see one thriving in our gardens. If you are going to plant one, give it morning sun and afternoon shade. If you do get some blooms, they will not blanket the tree like they do in a more temperate climate, but I was thrilled to see even one on the tree in Merilyn’s yard, and it was very shady. We do much better with a golden rain tree with bright yellow flowers that grow upright, but it is a totally separate genus—Koelreuteria.

May 6 - Crossandra is the name of this lovely shade loving annual flower.

For years you could buy this plant at the grocery store as a flowering houseplant for the winter months. Indoors they need bright light, while outdoors they do best in shady gardens, with some filtered sunlight. Some give it the common name firecracker flower, but I have always called it crossandra. It is native to India and is related to Mexican petunia (ruellia) and the yellow shrimp plant (Pachystachys).

While salmon is the most common color (and in my opinion the best) they also come in shades of pink red and yellow.

May 5 – I was a bit sneaky on this one,

first just showing you the flower buds and foliage, before adding the bloom.

It is the most stunning variegated gardenia I have ever seen. Merilyn thinks she got this one from Logees nursery (online) several years ago. I went and looked and they have it for sale and it is ranked as hardy. It says it gets 3 feet tall—look at hers, it is over 6 feet tall.

She has been keeping in overwinter in a greenhouse. The double bloom is just as stunning as the foliage. I may have to get one.

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