Plant of the Week: CESKY GOLD® Dwarf birch

We’ve had a spell of warm weather here in Michigan. Warm by our standards, anyway. Another day in the 90s is just normal for our southern friends.

But people, and plants, in northern regions tend to like it a bit cooler. Like people, cold-climate plants will tolerate warm temperatures better with extra water and some shade. But there’s a limit to how much heat some plants can take. The nice thing about shrubs is, they are very forgiving. If they are stressed and not performing their best when the heat is on – they’ll likely rebound next spring, looking as lovely as ever. We could all take a lesson from that, right?

Betula is a genus known for its cold hardiness. Heat tolerance, not so much. Cesky Gold® is hardy in USDA 2-7, making it a good choice for colder climates.

It’s a shrubby little birch with bright, cheerful yellow foliage. It’s great as a low-growing hedge or as a charming little specimen. At 2-4′ tall and wide it’s a great size for many applications.

It has a very appealing well-branched habit and attractive spring color. I really like it for mass plantings, as have landscapers from the north country who have visited Spring Meadow Nursery, where we grow the starter plants for this variety. They were excited to have another plant to use in their cold, snowy climates.

This one isn’t as well known, so if you can’t get it at your local nursery, try buying a smaller guy online that you can grow to size. Rate of growth is moderate for a shrub, so plant it in a protected area first, so it doesn’t get squashed if you lose track of it. You can always move it later.

Looking for a reason to stay in the A/C?
Here’s a good one: GardenComm has shifted its annual summer conference to a virtual event. It’s always fun to visit with this group, so I’m sorry not to make the trip out to VA and see all the magnificent gardens as planned.

During the four-day online event, educational programs will run from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. EDT, and they will include virtual networking opportunities and other activities.

Attending the conference costs $99 for members and $159 for nonmembers, which includes GardenComm membership for the remainder of 2020. A great way to dip your toe in the water if you haven’t tried a membership yet.

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