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Kalmia Keepsake

Kalmia 'Keepsake'

35 years' breeding went into this fabulous native shrub!

Item # 41720

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I don't know which is more beautiful on this electrifying Mountain Laurel -- the big, purplish-burgundy blooms edged in white or the 10-pointed buds of brilliant raspberry! Simply the most exciting hybrid yet of this beloved native shrub, Keepsake will live up to its name in your garden, and may just become the centerpiece of the partly-shaded border or patio!

Keepsake begins with masses of 10-sided buds glowing like raspberry punch. Their distinctive shape always reminds me of pattypan squash, and I love the way this shrub looks when a few blooms have opened and masses of buds remain, as if waiting to pop into flower! And when they do, it's hard to mourn them, as attractive as the buds are -- because the blossoms are simply magnificent, with deep burgundy-purple petals outlined in white! They arise in 3- to 4-inch clusters that simply radiate color, putting the final spring bulbs to shame and ushering in the long season of summer color in your garden!

But the flowers aren't the only thing Keepsake has going for it. The new spring foliage unfurls in bright reddish-bronze tones, adding some early color to the display. Very resistant to leafspot (the bane of native Kalmia), the leaves stay dense, glossy, and unblemished year-round, very plentifully held on these well-branched shrubs. Their mature color (usually reached before the bloomtime is over) is an aquatic blue-green, very distinctive and cooling in hot southern gardens!

Keepsake is the work of five generations of controlled crosses by master Kalmia breeder Dick Jaynes, who began his work in 1966. All I can say is, Keepsake was well worth the wait! Plant this 4-foot-tall, 3- to 4-foot-wide evergreen shrub in any well-drained soil (slightly acidic is best, but not required) receiving partial shade. Space the plants 3 feet apart for dense color coverage, and water it well during the dry summer months. Equally tolerant of unseasonable heat and cold, Keepsake is very resilient! We sell 3-year-old shrubs, healthy and ready to take off in your garden. Zones 4-8. Cannot ship to WA.