At the center of every flower bed, I have one focal flower. In Garden 3 (G3) that flower is a Hibiscus (Kopper King), and when it is in bloom, it commands attention. This year, it is more than 5 feet tall, though it didn’t start out that way. In fact, the first spring after I planted it, I thought I had killed it. I dutifully cut it down in Fall 2010 to about 8 inches above the ground and let it settle in for the winter. And then in Spring 2011, nothing happened. All other plants were emerging, but not the Kopper King. I was about to dig it up in defeat one day when I noticed tiny shoots emerging around the old wood from the previous year. And those shoots took off. Kopper King may be a late bloomer, but it makes up for it with warp-speed growth.
In the lower left of the left-hand photo you can see the Kopper King on May 1, 2012. Well, actually, you can’t see it; the new shoots are still microscopic at this point. But you can see the upside-down flower pots I put around the old wood to keep Schnauzer 1 and Schnauzer 2 from trampling the new growth in their squirrel-chasing rampages through the flower beds. Two brand-new (2012) lilacs are in the background against the fence. The photo on the right shows the Kopper King one month later, in early June. In less than a month, it grew to the height of the fence. Note the lovely copper-colored foliage.
Within a few weeks, the buds had emerged, and then began to open:
And voila, on July 4 — a flower the size of a dinner plate, one of many to come from a regal plant that more than earns its place in the garden.