Caryopteris × clandonensis ‘Arthur Simmonds’ bluebeard won the prize as the hardiest cultivar of Caryopteris in the Ornamental Plant Evaluation trials at the Chicago Botanic Garden. This low-growing, half-hardy shrub features dark green leaves with silver undersides and clumps of violet-blue flowers at each node. Plant this bluebeard in full sun and in sandy, well-drained soil for best long-term survival in the Chicago region, where they don’t do well in heavy clay soil in winter. This is a butterfly and bee magnet when in flower from mid-summer through fall. Insect and disease resistant, the fragrant foliage is also a turn-off to rabbits and deer.
This cultivar is a classic example of "what’s in a name." Arthur Simmonds was a gardener in Clandon near Surrey, England, in 1930, when he collected seed from a rare Caryopteris mongolhica in his garden. Some of the seedlings showed obvious hybrid characteristics, and he very carefully gave them tender loving care. However, he didn’t collect all of the seed, and one of the hybrid seedlings made itself known by outperforming its parent (basically smothered it). The specific epithet (fancy word for species name) celebrates the city of Clandon (clandonensis translating into "from the city of Clandon" in Latin); the × in front of the specific epithet identifies this cultivar as a hybrid; and the cultivar name honors the gardener who raised this seedling and eventually shared it with the gardening world.
July - August, September - October
Bedding or Border, Specimen Plant, Groundcover
Attracts Butterflies, Resistant To Deer