Among the bewildering lists of shrubs, certain names stand out as new and unusual, or, on the other hand, tried and familiar. These include both the evergreen shrubs and deciduous types.
Rhododendron and azaleas (a type of rhododendron) head the list of evergreens with some 700 species.
Hardy and long-lived, these ornamental woody plants have flowers of all shapes, colors and tints.
Rhododendrons won’t grow in limey soil type, and humus should be supplied liberally to protect them from winter-burn.
The Azalea Malus has flowers in pastel shades of orange, yellow and tan.
Boxwood has been a well-loved shrub for generations, especially where winters are not so severe. This evergreen can be pruned to formal rounded shapes. Left to grow, it sometimes attains 20 feet. It is used as a shrub for paths and walks.
Euonymus paten are evergreen shrubs that are hardy. They have glossy green leaves and red berries. Some of the evergreen holly shrubs, such as Japanese holly, or inkberry, are popular. Japanese holly resembles boxwood.
Laurel is another familiar evergreen flowering shrubs, valuable for foundation planting. American mountain laurel bears clusters of pink flowers in spring, it grows whether in full sun or partial shade.
Pachysandra (Japanese spurge) is a dense evergreen ground cover for places where grass won’t grow.
Among the deciduous flowering shrubs, lilac is probably one of the best liked. If you buy lilac be sure that it is grafted either on its own stock or on privet stock. Plant lilac as early as the soil can be worked and grows in full sun.
The common lilac is the best-known type and has light purple flowers and reaches a height of about 10 feet. There are several hundred varieties, in white, pinkish-lilac, reddish-lilac and bluish-lilac.
Buddleia, (butterfly bush), is 16 feet or more if not killed back by winter, and gets its name from the fact that in the summer, butterflies are always seen around it.
The buddleia takes many forms: as a small-leaved shrub with small purple flowers; as fascinating, a cattleya-pink bush; as flaming violet, a brilliant purple, and as white profusion, a dwarf variety with pure white flowers.
Also the Empire blue shrub, the dubonnet, the red glory and white cloud.
Flowering quince (Cydonia) has roselike flowers and a scarlet bloom in spring. Japanese quince grows to 6 feet; has orange-scarlet flowers. You can lightly prune it after flowering.
Deutzia is an easily grown shrub, pleasing for the many small flowers in spring. Types include the 2- to 3-foot pink deutzia, with its delicate flowers; the pride of Rochester, with large double white flowers, and Deutzia Lemoinei, which has large, pure white flowers.
Other shrubs are the dwarf buckeye, which blossoms in July with 12-inch spikes; the chokeberry bush, liked for its decorative fruit; broom, which grows in sandy places and blooms in June and July, and witch hazel, a shrub that grows to 20 feet and has spidery yellow flowers.
Forsythia is a welcome shrub because it needs little care; with its drooping sprays of yellow flowers, it is useful for softening the lines of walls.
Hibiscus Tree starts to bloom in August, a rarity, with flowers that are large and purple, or rose-pink or white.
It grows to 12 feet without pruning. Hydrangea, another shrub with large blossoms blooming in July and August, is a showy bush, with big blue globe-shaped clusters.
Honeysuckle bushes are useful for mass planting. Some varieties are especially enjoyable because they blossom in February and March.
Several spirea varieties are found to be useful as screen plantings, particularly because of their dense growth and abundant flowering.
Anthony Waterer spirea are 2-foot bushes with white or rose-pink clusters. Bridal wreath has profuse white clusters in May. Spirea Thunbergii also has white flowers, and Spirea Vanhouttei, 8 feet high with dense white flowers, is used as a living fence.
Viburnum (the popular snowball) is 10 to 12 feet high at maturity and is used for high foundation, screening and hedges. It has white snowball-shaped flowers and foliage turns crimson in fall.
Weigela is popular, too, in many varieties, including the variegated weigela, a dwarf shrub with rose flowers and variegated silvery leaf.
There is also Weigela rosea, with rosy trumpet-shaped flowers, and the new brilliant cardinal shrub.
Unsightly street scenes can be fenced out in a subtle way by combining materials.
Plants, stone, and bamboo rise to effective height on this front property line without seeming overbearing.
Shrubs play a key role in building good garden bones. Getting their placement correct and in scale are important.
One way we get the arrangement wrong is by selecting shrubs that are out of scale – either too large or too small. It’s a mistake to plant out of scale shrubs.
Also what is the function of the shrub? These are just a few of the items P Allen Smith covers in this article.