Lespedeza thunbergii somewhat falls into the above category. In the spring it gets cut back to pretty much nothing but by mid summer it grows into a sizable specimen. I've had Lespedeza in my garden for a few years. Every spring I cut it back to about six inches and end up with a respectable sized shrub of about five by five feet. Maybe it was the mild winter or maybe the shrub is just maturing but this year the Lespedeza in my small fountain garden has reached somewhat monstrous proportions.
A couple of years ago, the hard drive crashed on my old laptop and obliterated my entire plant database so I'm not sure which cultivar I have. I suspect it might be one of the so called "smaller than 'Gibraltar'" varieties or it very well could be 'Gibraltar'. The longer I garden the less I care about remembering Latin and cultivar names. Probably because I no longer can.
Normally I would be in a twitch over a plant growing this far out of bounds (truth be told I plant using a tape measure). Not so with Lespedeza. In September in New England, not much blooms with this sort of reckless abandon especially when given no supplemental water during one of the hottest, driest summers on record. In my humble opinion, you can't beat Lespedeza with a stick.
|Lespedeza thunbergii cascading over a Daphne x transatlantica 'Summer Ice'|
|The poor Miscanthus 'Morning Light' behind the Cleomes may have to find a new home.|
|An "aerial" view|
|Lespedeza thunbergii in my screen porch fountain garden taken September 4, 2012|
As you can see from the above two pictures, the Lespedeza has increased in size somewhat dramatically from 2011 to 2012. Both the Miscanthus 'Morning Light' and Wiegela 'Rubidor', clearly visible in the upper center of the 2011 picture, are not visible this year. I tried with no luck to find a picture of this area taken in early spring after everthing had been cut back and hauled out.
|Flower panicles of Lespedeza thunbergii|
|Although I can't say I planned this vignette, I like the contrast of the bold foliage of the Colocasia and the the colors of the self seeding Cleomes are just perfect.|
Interesting to note: the L. thunbergii 'Avalanche' I have planted in a dry, semi wild part of my garden I fondly refer to as the Reclamation Area is not yet blooming. In fact it appears to be thumbing it's nose at me in retribution for the benign neglect I have heaped onto it this season. If time permits, I'll get out there and show it some love this weekend.
|A neglected L. thunbergii 'Avalanche'|
If you have a sunny spot and need some late season garden interest, I say give Lespedeza thunbergii a try. Just give it room and let it be.