Plant of the Week: DOUBLE PLAY BIG BANG® Spirea

Ring in the New Year with a BANG!

In some areas, you can expect to hear some big bangs over the weekend as people celebrate the coming of the New Year…or the departure of the old one. I don’t know about you, but I’m ready to put this year behind me and move into the next.

It’s funny how we think something like a change of the calendar year can magically change the course of the future for the better. When in fact, the best way to change your future is to make a critical examination of your present and then make the appropriate modifications based on your current observations.

Observing spirea

It’s kind of like plant breeding. To introduce a better plant, our breeders take a critical look at what is already on the market and use that information to design plants that fill roles that no other plant is supplying.

Such was the case with Double Play Big Bang® Spiraea, bred by Spring Meadow’s own Tim Wood.

Tim and his team observed that most spirea is sold in the spring before the flowers appear. This meant that the foliage would be the only thing people could judge the plant on at the point of purchase. And when it came to the foliage on most spirea, it was kind of a snooze.

So they chose a Spiraea japonica variety with interesting foliage and crossed it with ‘Pink Parasols’ Spiraea fritschiana, which has large, impressive flowers. As a result, they came up with a number of floriferous hybrids with bright, colorful foliage, and of those, they introduced the best one and named it Double Play Big Bang® Spiraea x.

This gorgeous spirea hybrid has solved the issue of early-season interest sans flowers with vibrant orange spring foliage, which matures bright yellow with red new growth.

Of course, the flowers are very showy as well. As with Spiraea fritschiana, it boasts flocks of extra-large pink flowers that bloom on new wood, so a mid-season prune will bring fresh blooms. Double Play Big Bang® spirea will grow to 2-3′ tall and wide and is durable and hardy down to USDA zone 4.

What’s in a name?

Double Play Big Bang® (Spiraea x ‘Tracy’) was named in honor of Tim’s wife, Tracy. Tim says it “…has proven itself to be a first-class garden and landscape plant. Thank goodness for that because you don’t want to name a bad plant after your wife!”

This little tidbit about Double Play Big Bang® spirea is just a small piece of a larger spirea breeding story. Read Tim’s whole blog post here.

Celebrate in style

It might be a little late to book travel, but if you’re near one of these top destinations for New Year’s Eve festivities, you can bring in 2023 with a Big Bang of your own! Or if you’re anything like me, you’ll be dozing away on the sofa as the New Year is rung in.

No matter your celebratory style, I wish you all the best for the upcoming year.

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