Why, you might reasonably ask, should you give space in your garden to a plant that is found all around us?
Fragrance, that is why, and summersweet, or sweet pepperbush, Clethra alnifolia, has it in abundance. It is spicy, somewhat reminiscent of cloves and cinnamon, and a light breeze casts its perfume over a large area.
Purple is the darnedest color. It attracts us like bees to a honeypot. But get it home and it is nearly impossible to find a spot where it fits in.
After spending entirely too much time on this conundrum I’m coming to the conclusion that purple works well on a small scale or in a large park-like setting. But not in the smaller domestic properties in which most of us live and garden.