June’s Bloom Where You Are Planted Edition
Photo by Paul W. Meyer
Our History at Home offerings typically sprout from history and architecture. Today, and once every month, we offer a conservation cornucopia from the Conservancy and some friends on trees, gardening, and stormwater management. We hope to help you “Bloom Where You Are Planted.”
June – Korean Stewartia
by Paul W. Meyer, Conservancy Board Member and
Morris Arboretum’s Retired F. Otto Haas Executive Director
Korean Stewartia – Stewartia koreana
I am often asked what is one tree I would I choose for a small garden. It would be a tree that has relatively small stature, beautiful flowers, excellent fall color and winter interest. If one can have only one tree, it should be attractive every season of the year.
A number of trees come to mind, but a favorite is the Korean stewartia. It has outstanding white flowers for 2-3 weeks in June, orange to red fall color, and beautiful smooth, mottled bark that is attractive year-round. Its native range is limited to South Korea, but it has a close relative, Stewartia pseudocamellia, from Japan. Some botanist have argued that these are the same species, but recent molecular work has confirmed that they are genetically distinct species, though closely related.
Though Korean stewartia has been grown in the US since 1917, it is still relatively rare in landscapes outside of Arboreta, where is considered a must-have specimen. It is generally available from specialty nurseries or garden centers that cater to connoisseurs.  A few cultivars have been selected for particularly showy flowers, but tese are not widely available.
Korean stewartia is easy to grow in soils that are moist but not too wet and is generally pest resistant. It is not highly drought tolerant, especially when newly planted. I would not normally recommend Stewartias for stressful street-side conditions, but a prominent plant on Highland Avenue in front of BMT offices is doing well. Stewartia is relatively slow growing. I have seen Stewartia in South Korea up to 60’ tall, but here in cultivation, it is typically under 35’.
See the full gallery of images HERE.
Photos by Paul W. Meyer
Top: Korean stewartia flowers open in succession over a period of 2-3 weeks in mid-June. This is a time when few other trees are flowering.
Second: Korean stewartia flower.
Third: Korean stewartia has dramatic fall color with shades of red, orange and sometimes yellow.
Fourth: Korean stewartia flower buds about to open.
Fifth: A prominent specimen of Korean stewartia is growing in front of the BMT office on Highland Avenue in Chestnut Hill.
Bottom Photo: The smooth, multi-colored camouflage-like bark of Korean stewartia is attractive year-round.
See the entire gallery of images for this month’s article at our Tree of the Month page! Visit our History at Home page for more information.
Chestnut Hill Conservancy is regularly highlighting special trees in our community, both large and small, as well as common and obscure. In doing so, we hope to promote an appreciation of our arbor legacy and foster a culture of stewardship and renewal of this invaluable resource.
June – Clematis
by Emilie Lapham, Conservancy Board Member, avid gardener, botanical artist, and active participant in several noted local and national garden organizations.
Stars in the Garden, Clematis
Vines are a wonderful way to embellish your garden and clematis are one of the most exciting plants to grow and offer a great deal of “show”. Growing in very little ground space, clematis can provide color, texture, backdrop, and seasonal interest. The vines can be trained to a fence or wall but can also grow on a separate structure. There are also bushy varieties that require no support. With more than 300 species there are more than enough to choose from!
Choose a few varieties of clematis to plant and think of color combinations and try to stagger blooming times so there is blooming splendor to enjoy throughout the season. Clematis are available in a range of colors from white to deep purple and the size of blooms can vary from clouds of tiny flowers to huge stunning blossoms.
There are 10 different shapes of flower to select from as well : Single, double, bell, open bell, tubular, star, saucer etc . Where you buy plants and availability might narrow the choices as well as the correct zone for growing. This area is zone 7a – 7b. To collect unusual varieties there are good sources by mail order via catalog or internet.
Plant in a location where the roots have some shade to keep cooler. Ground cover or mulch can help provide cooler roots for a happy plant. To assist the vine getting started, netting, string or wire might help to encourage growth in the intended direction. In my garden the willow fence has provided lots to grow in and out of with no assistance. Both sides of the fence are covered in flowers.
For years I tried to grow clematis on a stone wall with full sun and the plants never flourished, but now I have a thriving clematis garden in a cooler partial sun location. Pruning is recommended for some types, but to best understand what and how to clip, refer to the information supplied with the plant or check on the internet.
I plan to add more varieties now that I have found out where they like to be. Clematis are not favored by deer or rabbits but you might attract a hummingbird, so go ahead, plant lots of clematis and enjoy vertical gardening!
All Photos by Emilie Lapham
Top: Clematis, Dr. Ruppel. Second: Large Blossoms. Third: The center!. Fourth: Betty Corning, Clematis Viticella. Fifth: Nelly Moser. Sixth: Seed head. Seventh: Clematis growing on and through the Willow fence. Eighth: Clematis Viticella, Violet Stargazer.
See the entire gallery of images for this month’s article at our A Gardener’s World page! Visit our History at Home page for more information.
This is an Investment
There’s still time to double the impact of your Conservancy membership in June and join your neighbors as stewards and advocates of our irreplaceable community! A group of committed community champions has pledged to match $10,000 for all new, renewed, and upgraded memberships in June, and each and every membership, at any level, helps us to reach our goal.
Why join as a member of the Conservancy? We think our members say it best! This week, Rhonda and David Cohen share why they are proud members of the Conservancy’s Leadership Circle:

Chestnut Hill and its neighboring communities are special enhancements to the Northwest Philadelphia area. Especially in this past year of the pandemic, the landscapes and stories of Chesnut Hill have brought comfort and connection to residents and visitors alike. We support the Conservancy as members so we can continue to enjoy the stories, buildings, and green spaces that make Northwest Philadelphia a great place to live. We view this as an investment in nurturing our community — and we’re proud to contribute!

Thanks very much to Rhonda and David, all of our challenge leaders, and all of our members for your support!
Ready to join and want to learn more about your membership’s impact? Check out these highlights of all our members and supporters have accomplished over the past 50+ years!
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Always feel free to contact us with any questions about the Conservancy, our programs and events, or your membership at info@chconservancy.org
Chestnut Hill Conservancy | 8708 Germantown AvenuePhiladelphia, PA 19118