A Sweet Native

Trying to plant native species in your yard will help attract the right kinds of birds, bees, insects and critters to it. As compared to 20 years ago many nurseries, garden centers and even big box stores are more and more aware of this and the choices are plentiful.

A few years back I won this beautiful plant after attending Hamden’s Earth Day celebration at the Hamden Middle School. It’s called Clethra Alnifolia or Sweetpepperbush. The blooms or spires resemble bottle brushes and arrive in late summer in lovely shades of white or pink. Bees & Butterflies love it. Though not at all “peppery” the little seed pods resemble peppercorns hence it’s nickname. An added bonus is that the leaves turn a pleasant yellow each autumn. I have had to move it 3 times to find the best location. Turns out it needs partial shade and soil that drains well. I also learned to trim back any dead wood at the base and did that last fall. Amazing how a good pruning can revive a plant. Much like a haircut after 5 months can make you feel like a new person!


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