shrubsLandscapes cannot be designed elegant way without the presence of shrubs. Shrubs do benefit the environment — filtering the air by absorbing carbon dioxide and releasing oxygen. Shrubs leave lasting impressions of a garden.

Landscape designers usually understand the importance of shrubs and say that herbs are backbone of the gardens. Shrubs ease out on the maintenance issue up to great extent and require low maintenance but add beauty to the garden.

A single shrub can create dramatic, eye-catching focal points. And, once established, shrubs can produce interesting flowers or berries or stem color or even multi-season appeal as they provide food and shelter for butterflies and hummingbirds.

Shrubs can be evergreen, semi-evergreen or deciduous. Most experts say every garden should have a few shrubs.

While planting shrubs this season in your garden read labels and plant accordingly. And, remember, that during the first growing season, it is important to water shrubs weekly.

Azalea (member of Rhodondrus genus) is one of the most popular shrubs for great landscapes. If planted in the proper location, azaleas require minimal care, are evergreen and kick off springtime with awesome blooms of red, pink, white or mauve. There are also varieties that flower periodically throughout the summer. And you may also find a deciduous native azalea, which produces yellow and orange blooms.

Beautyberry (Callicarpa Americana) is a native plant with its spectacular lavender berries in the fall and its pollen and nectar source for butterflies and bees. Heavy pruning in the winter will keep this plant — which tends to get leggy — compact.

Boxwood (buxus microphylla) can easily be planted around homes as foundation plantings. It is a clean, soft textured plant with medium green leaves, which turn a soft orange in February and return to green by spring. Ideally suited for partial shade, it needs well-drained soil and water only during severe droughts. A haircut in early spring makes this an easy care jewel.

Butterfly bush (Buddleia davidii) shrub is an important food source for butterflies. Its purple, pink, white or red flowers bloom all summer. The more sun, the more flowers. Prune hard in late February because it blooms on new growth.

Crapemyrtle (Lagerstroemia indica) shrub has ability to perform in mid-Augustwith an unequalled extravaganza of gorgeous crinkled, crape-paper blooms in shades of pink, purple, red and white. It’s also appreciated for its attractive bark and brilliant fall color.

Nandina (Nandina domestica) is perhaps the toughest shrub  on earth. Also called heavenly bamboo, its bamboo-like stalks are topped with billowy clusters of white flowers in spring and bright red berries in fall and winter. Foliage is reddish before fading to green, and then in fall turns bright reddish purple. I have cut this plant to the ground (the root system is difficult to dig out) and it returns prettier than ever without an extra drop of water from me.

Pomegranate (Punica granatum) grows well in containers or in the garden, this dwarf shrub displays brilliant scarlet tube-shaped flowers, followed by bright orange fruit. It can grow in the sunniest locations in the yard that might scorch other plants. The flowers are a magnet for hummingbirds.

Smokebush (Cotinus coggygria) is an unusual ornamental shrub is eye-catching throughout the season, but really shows off in fall, deepening to brilliant shades of purple, red or orange and the flower stalks are covered in fuzzy purple hairs resembling puffs of smoke

Turk’s Cap (Malvaceae) is a member of the mallow family grows fairly large with dull green leaves and red twisted-tube-like flowers that resemble miniature Turkish turbans. Once established, is extremely drought tolerant. Watch for flowers in late summer.

There are several more hardy shrubs including camellia, elaeagnus, euonymus, flowering quince, forsythia, hollies, leatherleaf mahonia, mock orange, pyracantha, spirea, sumac, weigela, flowering almond, gardenia, Indian hawthorn, mountain laurel and corkscrew, to name only a few.


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