Name: Physocarpus opuliafolius ‘Seward’ aka Summer Wine ninebark
Type of Plant: A deciduous shrub for full to part sun. Hardy in zones 3 to 8.
Why I love this: This plant is an asset in the garden for several reasons. First of all, the sprays of pinkish-white flowers in June are lovely. Secondly, the purple-to-copper leaves add color to any landscape even when the flowers are gone. And finally, this shrub is a reasonable size for the average landscape and garden. Summer Wine grows 4 to 6 feet high and wide, so it works in most foundation plantings, shrub borders and as background plants in the flower bed.
A Word to the Wise: Don’t shear this plant into round meatballs or cubes…this shrub is most attractive when left to form it’s natural, fountain shape. Prune by removing deadwood regularly, and should a renovation pruning be necessary, cut all the canes down to 3” above ground level in the winter or early spring.
In humid areas such as on Cape Cod, watch for signs of botrytis mold. This looks like a thick, white powder on some of the leaves and flowers. If you notice botrytis, spray immediately with Actinovate or another organic fungicide.