Shrubs are such an essential element of a landscape that they simply blend into the background. These "bones" of the garden add beauty, interest and visual texture without a lot of fanfare.
You can create a balance of textures in your garden by planting shrubs with different forms, foliage and color. When these plant structures work together, they create a pleasing backdrop for ornamental plants that are often the stars of the garden.
When you plant a shrub rose, such as 'Frontenac', in a corner of the garden, it becomes an interesting focal point. Its dark-green foliage, deep-pink flowers and tall form make it a nice specimen plant. But this rose also can be part of a layered scene that adds color and depth to the landscape.
Gold Lace Juniper (Juniperus chinensis pfitzeriana 'Gold Lace' ) adds a coarse texture to the garden with its compact, spreading form and spiky needles. This juniper is an especially lovely shrub because its gold-tipped foliage actually intensifies in winter to light up the yard.
Potentilla fruticosa, also called shrubby cinquefoil, is a robust shrub with a mounding habit. This shrub has fuzzy leaves and features bright-yellow flowers in early summer. Its hardy nature makes it a stalwart in the garden all year round.
My landscape wouldn't be complete without a variety of lavender plants. Lavandula angustifolia is a low-growing, woody subshrub that features long spires of purple, pink or white flowers in late spring and early summer. Lavender's gray-green foliage adds both color and texture. Its mounding form works well alone, or several plants can form a low border along the garden's edge.
Would you like to see four of my favorite shrubs? Here's a short video tour.