The Genus Weigela (Caprifoliaceae)
The genus is named after C E von Weigel (1748-1831), a German botany Professor. It contains 10 species which come from Japan, China, Korea and Manchuria. In 1929 Bailey separated the plants which are now known as Weigela from the Diervilla group.
There are over 200 cultivar names recorded but probably less are in cultivation. Weigela florida was the first species to be introduced – by Robert Fortune in 1845 – and was widely cultivated in the mid-19th century. Other species followed. Since 1867 hybridisers have been working to produce good cultivars to meet the needs of gardeners. The 19th century cultivars were raised largely in France and Holland and are large shrubs with long arching growths. In contrast most of the modern cultivars have coloured foliage and a dwarf habit. They are all hardy, long flowered, easy going, trouble-free ornamental shrubs which make good garden plants.
Weigela prefer full sun or light shade; the golden leaved forms require some shade to prevent leaf scorch. They all need a deep fertile soil, which does not dry out in summer, and feeding in spring. Pruning involves removal of the flowered stem after flowering, with a third of the old stems being removed completely to ground level.
Walking straight down from the Clarkehouse entrance, with the ponds on your left, the Weigela beds are opposite and below on one of the main lawns snaking round to the fountain.