But unlike previous visits, I found myself immune to the tender advances of his leafy minions. "How about this shrub?" he asked. "Nope", I replied again and again. I just didn't like them. Too big, too short, too thirsty, too purple, too boring. "I'm going to be picky about this one", I finally offered. He stopped, stroked his beard, and didn't disagree.
The real problem wasn't with the shrubs suggested by the horticulturalist or my other friends but with me. I wasn't interested in the boring predictability of an evergreen and was frustrated by falling for the seductive charms of flashy foliage and lush blooms. I was looking for substance over style and had a long list of requirements: strength in the face of adversity, adaptability and a willingness to thrive during a drought, an interesting personality, and good bone structure.
Fothergilla 'Mt Airy' in the spring