Adding Shrubs to the Landscape
Flowering shrubs add a colourful and often fragrant element to the landscape. These permanent, multi-stemmed woody plants play an important role in the landscape. They are beautiful as a specimen plant on its own, or in mass plantings, and look beautiful when combined with evergreens and deciduous trees. They are often used as the middle link to fill the gap between the large trees and smaller flowerbeds. Many flowering shrubs add year round interest as they have attractive flowers, foliage, berries and textured and/or colourful bark.
The Red twig dogwood is a good example of a shrub that has attractive colourful bark, that looks beautiful next to the white snow. In summer it has attractive foliage such as the ‘Silver leaf’ with its variegated white and green leaves, and yellow/white flowers. ‘Winged Burning Bush’ is a good example of a shrub with textured bark. As the name suggests the bark has corky ridges or wings that catch the snow in the winter months. It is in the fall when the Winged Burning Bush gets noticed as the foliage turns a brilliant bright fire red.
There are not many shrubs that have flowers as large and showy as the Hydrangea. They are a late bloomer but certainly worth the wait as the flower heads can be 25-30 cm in size, and will last for weeks. When it comes to fragrance, Lilacs are known for their attractive, very fragrant flowers. They are one of the first shrubs to flower in the spring, and if you plant several different varieties with different bloom times you will be able to enjoy lilacs blooming in your landscape for many weeks. Lilacs have large clusters of flowers come in shades of pink, purple, blue and lavender.
An attractive, yet very hardy and tolerant shrub is the ‘Potentilla’. Potentilla can be found growing and blooming in landscapes near highways, parking lots, driveways etc., where other plants may not grow. They have brightly coloured yellow, orange, pink, or white 5-7 cm flowers that bloom throughout the summer months, making them one of the longest blooming flowering shrubs.
Spirea is another low maintenance shrub that is rarely bothered by pests or disease. The early blooming ‘Bridal Wreath’ has white flowers that run along the length of the stem and then there are the later bloomers such as Goldflame, Goldmound and Double Play which also have beautiful colourful foliage.
Weigela is a shrub that has clusters of tubular flowers that grow along the length of the branch. The flowers are a favourite for humming birds. They bloom in the spring for about 6 weeks and then re-bloom again in late summer.
Probably one of the first shrubs to bloom in early spring is the Forsythia. You can see the branches of yellow flowers in April. They do require a little extra maintenance if you want them to bloom. They need to be planted in a sunny location, in a well-drained soil. Extra winter protection will help ensure spring blooms.
Whether you choose only one flowering shrub or a combination of different shrubs, they are sure to make an impact on any landscape!
Jos Van Hage owns and operates two Art Knapp home and garden centres in Prince George
- Highway 16 west at Kimball Road
- Highway 97 north at Northwood Pulpmill Road