Shrubs are the heart of my garden: Handsome 'Green Velvet' boxwoods line the front walk, and a mixed shrub border of witch hazel, oakleaf hydrangea and spike winterhazel (Corylopsis spicata) adds depth and texture to the bed along the property line.
I love the witch hazels for their tiny, ribbonlike flowers in fall and winter and for their rich fall color.
And I appreciate oakleaf hydrangea for its handsome, coarse leaves, enormous panicles of bloom, and dark-red leaves late in the season.
Shrubs hold the garden together; they put some rhythm in flowerbeds and give them year-round interest. Fine-textured Spiraea 'Ogon (sometimes called 'Mellow Yellow') has leaves so small, they almost look like feathers.
Lots of shrubs have adapted to our challenging climate in the Midwest. The native cranberrybush viburnum (Viburnum trilobum) has white flowers in spring and bright-red berries in fall.
Lacy, white flowers cover doublefile viburnum (V. plicatum tomentosum) in late April. The plant appears delicate but it is untroubled by summer heat and drought.
The beautybush (Kolkwitzia amabalis) in my backyard is one of my favorites--and the birds love it, too. Beautybush grows to about 15 feet tall. Soft-pink flowers cover its arching stems in early May, and the leaf canopy shelters birds all summer long. In winter the birds take shelter in its twiggy branches.
A few years ago I added a dwarf crape myrtle to the collection of shrubs in my front yard. My little 'Sweetheart Dazzle' crape myrtle boasts striking deep-pink flowers in late summer.
The bush is still gorgeous in October, when the tiny leaves are as lively and colorful as a crackling little bonfire. It is doing so well, I decided to plant 'Berry Dazzle' crape myrtle too. It's just getting started--check out my video to see how easy it was to plant. I know it's going to be great.
What are your favorite shrubs?