Kintzley‚Äôs Ghost ¬ģ Vining Honeysuckle (Lonicera reticulate ‚ÄėKintzley‚Äôs Ghost‚Äô)
Vines are so useful in our landscapes. They provide coverage for fences (especially unsightly ones) and make a wonderful trellis plant to cover walls and narrow upright spaces with attractive foliage and colorful flowers. Kintzley‚Äôs Ghost is a very unusual native vine that gives us an unusually long season of interest. With showy late spring yellow flowers followed by a summer long display of large, bright silver-dollar like bracts, ‚ÄėKintzley‚Äôs Ghost‚Äô is a little known but highly ornamental Lonicera species.
It‚Äôs also a plant that comes to 21st century gardeners with a very interesting story attached to it. Originally propagated by William ‚ÄúPed‚ÄĚ Kintzley at the Iowa State University greenhouses in the 1880‚Äôs, he passed it along to family members, where it grew in a few family gardens unknown to the rest of the world. Then in the late 1990‚Äôs nurseryman Scott Skogerboe of Ft. Collins Wholesale Nursery spotted the plant growing in old town Ft. Collins, CO.¬† A man with a passion for plant history, Scott stopped to examine this startling discovery and talked with the homeowner. This is how he learned of its origins and realized that he had re-discovered a superb heirloom plant. Scott began to propagate the vine and in 2006, Colorado‚Äôs Plant Select‚ĄĘ program awarded it recognition as a Plant Select winner.
I had had forgotten about the plant until this past June when I visited Denver Botanic Garden for a conference. These photos that I took that day reminded me why Kintzley‚Äôs Ghost truly is an award winner. Easily grown in most any soil in a part to full sun location, it is a moderately fast grower that matures to a very manageable size. ¬†(8-12′¬† tall x 3-5′ wide). It is very cold hardyand grows in USDA Zones 4-8. To add even more color to its space plant some so companion plants like Salvia nemerosa ‚ÄėMay Night‚Äô at the base of the vine to dress-up it up a bit.