As much as I love flowers, especially flowering perennials, a large garden comprised of only these makes for quite a lot of work. I do enjoy this work very much however my back is saying enough is enough. With a very large garden to fill I have found myself leaning towards adding a flowering shrub here and there. By in large shrubs with flowers take up a nice amount of space and are relatively care free requiring minimum maintenance. This nicely frees up some time to tend to the flowering plants.
Shrubs for Structure
Because shrubs have a woody trunk they are capable of surviving winters and keep on growing year after year. Even when they have lost their leaves in the fall, their framework is still visible when most of the other garden plants have died down for the winter. This is what gives our garden it’s permanent shape, forms it’s background or gives us a center specimen.
Know your Shrubs
When choosing shrubs it is most important to fully understand the mature size of your choices. All too often gardeners plant shrubs that quickly outgrow their site and overpower to a fault. Shape must also be considered. Shrubs may be a slender upright column, they may be weeping or outward like a vase. Fit the shape to your site. The leaves also vary greatly in size and texture between shrubs. Leaves may be any shade of green, yellow, silver or even purple. Understand your garden site and match your shrubs to it’s cultural qualities. Always consider the plants requirements and then continue to to give them adequate care.
Shrubs for Flower Power
Shrubs flowering throughout your garden can be a formidably source for blooms all through the seasons. Shrub flowers come in all colors and many are fragrant.
Start the spring with Camellia, Daphne, Berberis, Forsythia, Prunus, Rhododendron, Azalea, Kerria Japonica and Lilac. Early summer gives you Lilac, Deutzia, Beauty Bush, Roses, Weigela, Exochorda, Paeonia, Viburnum and Mock Orange. Follow with Lavatera, Ceanothus, Genista, Lavandula,Hypericum and Clematis x durandii. End the summer with Buddleja, Fuchsia, Potentilla, Caryopteris, Hibiscus and Hydrangea.
Shrubs for Berries
Just when you thought the show was over fall brings us berries. Many flowering shrubs are smothered in fruits or berries in the later season attracting birds into your garden as a bonus. Rose hips, Viburnum, Cotoneaster, Pyracanthas and Callicarpa are just a few. But wait, there is more! Many shrubs come aflame with their dying leaves if not flowers.. Sumachs, Euonymus, and Maples all put on a good show.
Hopefully I have wet your appetite. With so many choices it is wise to do your homework as planting shrubs is a more permanent endeavor than annuals and perennials. The right flowering shrub in the right place will adorn your garden for years.
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