By Jodi Torpey
Shrubs are some of the most versatile plants you can add to your landscape. They can serve as a simple backdrop to focus attention on colorful perennials, or draw the eye to a single, spectacular shrub planted in a mixed border.
Many shrubs add interest to the garden through all seasons. Shrubs also can offer shelter for birds, and their flowers and fruits help feed bees, butterflies, and other watchable wildlife.
Silver Fountain butterfly bush (Buddleia alternifolia ‘Argentea’) is a gorgeous shrub, if you have the room for it. The lavender flowers bloom in mid-spring on long, arching branches that attract butterflies to the clusters of tiny, nectar-filled blossoms. Even when butterfly bush is not in bloom, its willowlike branches add an extra dimension to the landscape. Give Silver Fountain plenty of room because it can grow as large as a small tree.
Two of my favorite flowering shrubs look perfect together in the cottage garden. I love how the large, deep-pink flowers of the ‘Frontenac’ rose complement the small, yellow flowers of shrubby cinquefoil (Potentilla fruticosa).
‘Frontenac’ is a shrub rose from the Explorer Series, so you know it’s hardy. The flowers are semidouble, and they bloom throughout the season. This shrub rose has an upright and spreading habit that fits well in a corner garden.
Potentilla is a low-growing shrub with a spreading habit, and it mixes well in informal or xeric gardens. Flowering begins in June and continues throughout summer.
Shrub roses are a creative option for a garden hedge. Vigorous varieties can grow to 8 ft tall and just as wide. Many varieties bloom in June and July, then sporadically into fall. Shrub roses can make a lovely border along a front sidewalk, or grow into a flowering fence to provide privacy.
Shrubs help improve any view, so be sure to plant your favorite flowering variety where you can enjoy it the most. The common lilac (Syringa) outside my bedroom window provides flowers and fragrance for a short time each spring, but I appreciate every second it’s in bloom.
Do you have a favorite shrub in your landscape?
See more by this author.