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Weigela middendorffiana - Middendorf weigela


The Middendorff weigela is one of the gems of early and mid-summer when it flowers with pale yellow horn-shaped blossoms. The orange splash of colour on the flowers gradually changes to rust-red. Although it is seldom seen, the species is the hardiest of the genus and thrives as far north as Oulu and Kuusamo. Its habit is erect but snow makes the branches spread, creating deep shade beneath.

In the wild, Middendorf weigela has a range from north-east China to Japan. From seed collected by a Finnish expedition to Amur, a selected variety has been named ‘Jouni’, after one of the expedition members, while in Norway another variety selected from the same seed has been named ‘Amur’. Both these varieties seem to thrive better in more northern and continental climates than in the south of Finland. At Mustila seeds of various origins are being test-grown, with wide variations in their progress.


Weigela florida - old fashioned weigela


The Latin specific name florida refers to the floweriness of this shrub, and has nothing to do with its native habitat, in fact this species grows naturally in East Asia. The abundant flowers are rose-red, standing out against their background of bright green leaves, which are slightly red on opening. In warm summers flowering may continue late into the autumn.

As well as the beautiful trumpet-shaped flowers in summer, the shrub offers a show in winter too, when the seed pods open, paler inside than out, attracting tits to feed throughout the winter.

At Mustila the species thrives both in Alppiruusulaakso (Rhododendron Valley) and on Etelärinne (Southern Slope). Wild provenances from the cold mountains of Manchuria and Central Korea seem hardier than the plants originating from Dutch nurseries.

The shrub grows wider than high, so needs plenty of room. It tolerates a degree of shadiness but flowers best in full light.


Weigela 'Eva Rathke'


These weigelas are handsome shrubs when they flower in June. They are crosses between W. florida and W. praecox. The variety ‘Eva Rathke’ has exceptionally dark and showy leaves, and the trumpet-shaped flowers are carmine.

Without snow cover the weigelas are cold tender even in the south of Finland, but usually new growth sprouts from the roots. At Mustila ‘Eva Rathke’ has survived under the snow for decades on the protected Terassi (Terrace).


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