“Mount Airy” Fothergill is a selection from the species Fothergillia gardenii or Dwarf Fothergill. This is a native shrub from the coastal plain of the southeastern United States. This was selected as a superior plant at the Mount Airy Arboretum in Cincinnati Ohio.
This hardy shrub (zones 4 to 9) grows from 2′ to 6′ tall and can take both full sun and partial shade. It blooms before the leaves appear in spring. The flowers have no petals but the effect is stunning. I will never forget the first time I saw these in bloom at an extension office in Kentucky, so beautiful and the fragrance was intoxicating almost like honey itself. The flowers have a bottlebrush appearance and are 1″ to 3″ tall.
After the bloom the leathery foliage is a healthy dark green maybe even a blue green. Fall gives another spectacle of color yellow, orange red and purple all at once. It is planted for the fall color as much as for the spring flowers.
This works good as a foundation planting, a low border or to fill in an island containing a feature tree. It shows well with an evergreen background.
It needs a moist well drained acid soil to thrive. All bees love these flowers.