February 21, 2020

Tough but Graceful

Mary Wade Photo | Kerria japonica

Mary Wade Photo | Kerria japonica

The arching stems of Kerria japonica look all the more elegant when bejeweled with yellow blossoms in spring. Hardy to Zone 4, this native of China made its way to Great Britain and the Royal Botanic Garden at Kew in the late 1700s to early 1800s via William Kerr, for whom the deciduous shrub was named. Also known as Japanese rose, the shrub is a member of the rose family and is the only species in the genus Kerria. Unlike many shrubs, Kerria can tolerate partial shade and, in fact, has better color in the flowers, which can fade in full sun. The only thing that can be problematic with Kerria is that it spreads by suckers, which can cause trouble in close quarters if you don’t want it to test its boundaries. As you can see, however, give it plenty of space and you’ll be rewarded by a magnificent show every spring.

This stunning photograph comes from Mary Wade, who writes: “It is a beautiful bush that is probably about 12 feet across and 7 feet high. Love the prolific yellow flowers. Grown in Central Maine.” When asked about the critter employing the bush as a backdrop to accentuate his own good looks, Mary responded: “The dog is Beau.  He is a Bernese Mountain Dog/Australian Cattle Dog cross.  We have twin daughters and they have twin dogs. I wish his sister was also in the picture, but hard to keep them both at attention.”

We love Kerria japonica and have a tale to tell about it: Part 1, Part 2 and a plant profile.