For easy care, beauty and structure in your landscape, consider adding a few shrubs this year.
If you make a smart purchase at planting time, gone are the days of having to trim shrubs every year. For a bush that grows up to 3 feet tall, choose from the many genera available that offer dwarfs.
For flowers all summer, try on a butterfly bush (Buddleia). Butterfly bushes come in different heights and colors and attract not only butterflies but hummingbirds as well. If you are really lucky you may get a chance to see a tiny hummingbird moth, too. Take off the spent blooms to have flowers all summer.
Oakleaf Hydrangea is another great shrub, and it now comes in dwarf sizes. This shrub has a four-season interest: lovely cone-shaped flower heads in the spring, the prettiest purple fall leaves that remain on the shrub for one month and exfoliating bark for winter interest. It never needs trimming, though you may want to cut the old blooms off in the spring.
Hydrangea paniculata is another species of hydrangea I recommend. They can even be trimmed to grow into small trees.
A tall highbush cranberry hedge (Viburnum trilobum) has fragrant white flowers in late spring, spectacular fall leaf color and bright red berries that persist until January, which the birds relish. There are many other nice species of Viburnums to choose for the yard as well, so do your research to see which one you like best.
Fiveleaf Aralia or Beautybriar (Eleutherococcus sieboldianus ‘variegatus’) is an arching 7-by-7 shrub with buckeye-like, palmate green leaves with white edges. This versatile plant grows well anywhere except in wet sites. It prefers part sun and will naturalize in woodland areas. It’s great as a screen or a hedge, and loves shade.
Like leaf color? Then check out Ninebark (Physocarpus opulifolius). There are several cultivars including Amber Jubilee, Coppertina, Dart’s Gold and Little Devil to choose from that will perk up a shady spot.
If you want to cut down work in the yard without losing the charm you have created in your landscape, plant shrubs. They cover a lot of space so there is less work for you, and they add appeal with flowers, berries and greenery.