A good gardener knows that careful plant selection is key factor and that is why it becomes important to weigh and judge plants and then act accordingly.

Run-of-the-mill plants that outgrow their limits quickly, or fail to suit the purpose for which they are selected, can require later costly replacement. The right plant – or the best plant – will provide the most beauty, require the least pruning and will require a level of upkeep that the gardener finds acceptable.

English wood hyacinth is a bulb-producing plant is in old gardens throughout the world. It naturalizes in shady spots and returns bigger and better year after year. Flowers are nodding bells in spikes of blue, pink or white. The flowers are not as showy as the modern hyacinths – and not as fragrant – but they are more natural-looking and more lovely in their own right.

The correct botanical name is Scilla hispanica, which tells you the plants originated in Spain, not England, as the common name suggests. The wood hyacinth blooms later than the Dutch hyacinth. It flowers with the early azaleas. And its subdued colors make a fine complement to the intensely bright hues of azaleas. Bulbs are planted in autumn and can be found at garden centers and in bulb catalogs.

Meadow spirea  is the 4- to 5-foot shrub found in landscapes of older homes. It has the tiniest flowers of all spireas, but is just covered with white, sometimes as early as mid-February. The small leaves are apple green. They turn to yellow in autumn, then drop to reveal a mass of rich brown twiggy, weeping growth. The tiny, starlike flowers are slightly fragrant, and when in full bloom, the plant can waft its perfume for several yards around. The correct botanical name of this plant is Spiraea thunbergii.

Bridal wreath is also known as  Spiraea ‘Van Houtte’. This shrub grows a bit taller and more upright than the above and has larger, darker green leaves. It produces later clusters of flowers in pure white that bloom during the peak of azaleas season.

Winter honeysuckle blooms from late December until April. Another name for it is sweet breath of spring.  Its fragrance is among the finest of all flowering plants. Its botanical name is Lonicera fragrantissima. Winter honeysuckle makes a large shrub, up to 7 feet tall by 10 feet wide in an ideal spot. Given plenty of sunlight, it may be cut back hard after flowering to produce a dense, symmetrical shrub.

The Fairy Roses are suitable for use as general landscape plants, and few bloom as heavily and over as long a season as the Fairy. The Fairy produces large clusters of very double, light pink flowers with little or no fragrance. The plant is vigorous and gets only a little black spot in the heat of summer. Some years, it shows no disease at all. It blooms from May until late November.

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