50 years ago, in a New York Times column, entitled “Around the Garden,” Jean Lee Faust recommended Deutzias as a ‘welcome change’ for those bored with spires and mock oranges. In the nineties, I was touring a garden in Vermont with Jaci E. I spotted a tall shrub, covered in white blossoms. I loved it, but did not know the name. Jaci is incredibly knowledgeable gardener. “It’s Deutzia, a really old-fashioned plant. You never see in gardens anymore.” She was right. I have never seen it in anyone’s garden, except my own.
A year later, I found Deutzia in a local nursery in Vermont. I planted it and have regretted doing so ever since. My trip to North Hill Garden last week was a kick in the head. Too many plants, too much chaos: I decided to apply a laser focus to my own garden.
Before I grabbed the shovel, I decided to err on the side of caution. Deutzia would have to wait its new home on the compost pile for a little while. I decided to Google its origin. I never know when a little bit of history might change my mind. Deutzias
are native to China, but were cultivated in Japan. Their wood was used for cabinets and their leaves for furniture polish. The plant was named after Dutchman, Johann van der Deutz in 1712, who introduced it to Western horticulture. This is a pretty good pedigree, nevertheless, my Deutzia is being discarded.
1964 was the year I Want To Hold Your Hand became number #1 on the pop charts, which is the same year, the New York Times promoted Deutzia to its gardening readers. In 2014, I’ve given up being a librarian of out-of-fashion plants. Deutzia is gone; replaced by Amsonia hubrichtii.