'Cherry Brandy'
Butterfly Gaura

"Frail Travellers, deftly flickering over the flowers;
O living flowers against the heedless blue
Of summer days, what sends them dancing through
This fiery-blossom'd revel of the hours?"

from "Butterflies"
by Siegfried Sassoon


Gauras are sometimes called windflowers because their flowered wands are in constant motion from breezes, though sundry anemones including A. hupehensis have a stronger claim to that common name.

They're alternatively called Butterfly Bush because the flowers resemble butterflies, again kept in motion by the lightest breeze, but as Buddleia davidii has a popular claim to that common name, Butterfly Gaura is more specific.

Gaura lindheimerii 'Cherry Brandy' has two-tone pink flowers on a semi-dwarf gaura, a bit more compact than the species though of course all gauras are loose & airy.

The wands stand upright to three feet with less fountaining than the species, thus also less swishing about in a breeze. Young foliage has rose-pink tinge, aging to deep green.

The flowers begin May or June & continue until October. Cold-hardy to minus 10 degrees F., heat-hardy in summer, & very drought tolerant, it wants fullest full sun but will adapt to a tiny bit of shade. In zones with mild winters it is nearly evergreen, but should be cut back late in winter or very early spring to grow fresh each summer.

'Cherry Brandy' was developed by Kiepenkerl Nursery in Everswinkel Germany. Various pink cultivars of gaura are not all that distinct from one another, but 'Cherry Brandy' perhaps falls between 'Siskayou Pink' & the small dark-dark pink 'Crimson Butterflies' intermediate for size & color. Its color is softer & more delicate than most pink varieties, with a great deal more white around the edges.

I planted 'Cherry Brandy' in a friend's garden while doing a bit of side-work for that family. I placed them at intervals along the border of a large sun-garden, alternating with the much taller pure white 'Whirling Butterflies' for the greatest achievable contrast & perpetual summer blossoms.

The entire lot of 'em will need to be trimmed back at least every other year, as woody stems can die in winter & a hard prune refreshes it. They otherwise ask for very little care to reward maximumly.


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