When I was a (more) novice gar­dener, I made the mistake…

…of think­ing that the tiny but­ter­fly bush I dragged home from my local gar­den cen­ter couldn’t pos­si­bly grow to be 12 feet high as the tag described. I though that per­haps other people’s but­ter­fly bushes might get that big, but mine surely wouldn’t. The hard­pan Mary­land clay, my rel­a­tive inex­pe­ri­ence or a host of poten­tial per­ils would surely pre­vent 12 feet of unfet­tered growth.

Five years have proven me quite wrong.



I have spent three years star­ing at amaze­ment as the bush that I reli­giously hack to about three feet of sticks in the fall burst back to life and grow to nearly 12 feet by June. The but­ter­fly bush has been threat­en­ing to over­take the two Nikko Blue Hydrangeas planted on either side.

In fact, the but­ter­fly bush has grown so unwieldy that I planned on hav­ing Wal­ter, my some­times handy­man, dig up the beast and move it to a more suit­able loca­tion. Unfor­tu­nately, Wal­ter was a lit­tle late in arriv­ing this year and the bush was already in full leaf–not a good time for a major move.

We’ll be liv­ing with the mon­ster but­ter­fly bush again this year. The beauty of it, though, is that with all the blooms, the bush attracts dozens of but­ter­flies at any time. The don’t call it a but­ter­fly bush with­out a good rea­son. I can look out my kitchen win­dow and see but­ter­flies any time of the day.




It’s hard to beat that. And I’ll cer­tainly miss that nature show when the but­ter­fly bush is finally moved to roomier quarters.

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Garden and food writer Robin Ripley is co-author of Grocery Gardening. Her new book, Wisdom for Home Preservers, will be released later in 2014 from Taunton Press.

Bumblebee is about her life in rural Maryland, her garden, cooking, dogs and pet chickens. She also blogs about food and chickens at Eggs & Chickens. Follow her on Twitter, Pinterest and Facebook. Thank you for visiting.


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