Once spring begins it usually moves ahead at record speed. The grass greens up and the early flowering trees and shrubs take centre stage. A well planned garden will have incorporated several flowering specimens placed in strategic sites. This is what will hold your spring garden together while the bulbs and perennials start to poke up out of the ground.
It’s wise to choose very hardy cultivars for your area, to minimize having to replace such structural plants. You want them to be strong, healthy specimens that will easily reach mature size and blooming power. Below are the ones I choose to grow in my zone 5 garden. All are hardy and easy to grow.
PINK DOGWOOD TREE ( Cornus florida ‘CherokeeChief ‘ )
A small specimen tree which matures at about 20 feet tall. Mid green leaves turn brilliant purple in the fall and in spring it is covered in dark ruby-pink blooms. Hardy to zone 5. Try to protect from strong wind areas. In full bloom this is really a sight for sore eyes.
KERRIA JAPONICA ‘Pleniflora’
This is a very vigorous upright shrub with large pompom-like double yellow flowers. There are single flowered varieties but the double blooms are showier. Hardy to zone 5. In ideal growing conditions this one will sucker and move out. Best to trim out new shoots when they are small. In an outer area you could just let it roam.
VIBURNUM PLICATUM ‘Mariesii’
This shrub has outstanding form and shape. A horizontally branched shrub with dark green leaves. Distinctly layered, tiered branches are laden with double rows of flattened, lace cap like white blooms. Hardy to zone 5. A very unique looking shrub. They are many viburnums out there but I think this is the best one. Might be a little harder to find at the nurseries. This shrub also attracts honey bees.
WHITE DOGWOOD TREE ( Cornus ‘Eddie’s White Wonder’ )
A beautiful small tree with good fall coloration. In spring purplish-green flowers are borne surrounded by 4-6 ovate white bracts. Hardy to zone 5. Plant out of hard wind areas.
LILAC ‘SENSATION’ ( Syringa vulgaris )
A French lilac which forms into a small tree. Very fragrant single purple flowers with distinct white edges. This is a very unique lilac and hardy to zone 4. This lilac does not sucker and grows naturally into a beautiful shape.
BEAUTY BUSH ( Kolkwitzia amabilis ‘Pink Cloud’ )
Deciduous shrub with arching shoots with masses of bell-shaped bright, deep pink flowers. Grows to about 10 feet tall and hardy to zone 5. Gorgeous in bloom. This shrub can get quite large so allow it lots of room. A slightly outer area of the garden is ideal.
YELLOW MAGNOLIA ( Magnolia ‘Elizabeth’ )
A rounded small tree with cup shaped, soft yellow flowers. Makes a lovely specimen tree and hardy to zone 5. Very pretty and well shaped small tree. This one is a bit unusual but worth the hunt.
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