Kolkwitzia Amabilis or Beauty Bush
The genus is named after the German professor Kolkwitz. The only species was discovered in 1901 in China. It is a deciuous, 1 to 2m (3 to 6ft) high shrub with opposite, broadly ovate leaves, 3 to 7 cm (1 to 2¾ in) long, entire or slightly toothed on the margin, and hairy below. The white or pale pink, bell-shaped blossoms, five-petalled and about 1.5 cm (½ in) long, are borne in terminal clusters (cymes) in May to June. Also sometimes available is the variety ‘Rosea’ with rose blossoms.
The beauty bush is propagated by means of seeds sown in the autumn or by softwood cuttings. It does best in light soils and sunny situations for though it will grow in slight shade it then has fewer blossoms. It does not tolerateand heavy soils.
It is seldom planted in parks or gardens, being seen more often in botanical gardens or private collections, which is a pity as this is an unusually beautiful shrub, particularly in full bloom when it is literally covered with white or pale pink blossoms. It makes a very effective colour contrast planted with weigelas as well as with certain evergreen shrubs such as rhododendrons, and is also striking as a solitary specimen in grass close to a pathway or near a piece of garden architecture.