I love rose of Sharon. I hate to admit it. It is such a common plant, scorned by many because of the fact that it self sows. Being a Hibiscus, each flower is open for only one day then they fall off and magically, another appears. I know, they can be a bit messy. I just love them. Can't help myself.
I grow two really unusual variegated varieties that make me smile every time I see them. The first is 'Sugar Tip' with green leaves edged in white and soft pink, double flowers. I discovered this at The Variegated Plant Nursery and HAD TO HAVE IT. A couple of years later, it was available in the trade and I had to sell it. It is just soft and pretty and visually cools down the summer garden.
The second is really different, in fact, just the opposite of 'Sugar Tip'. The scientific name is straightforward and clinical: Hibiscus syriacus 'Variegated'. I mean, come on people, could we be just a bit more creative? What's fascinating about this plant is that the buds are a deep, dark, maroon red. They look like rosebuds on the plant. They never open all the way. Some people think that's weird- that is why I love it!
Both of these trees have such pretty leaves that if they didn't flower they would still be great garden plants. But the flowers add that icing on the cake that we are looking for in these dog days of August when we just want to ramble around the garden, do a bit of deadheading, a bit of watering, and a lot of admiring.