enkianthus

Denny Schrock

easy shrubs

Exochorda 'Blizzard' Snow Day Blizzard

Are you looking for a spring-blooming shrub other than forsythia, spirea, or lilac? There’s nothing wrong with these standbys, but as a plant geek, I like more variety in my landscape.

Consider pearl-bush (left), a relatively uncommon shrub that’s been around a long time. However, it’s recently been updated. This mid-spring bloomer begins with creamy white pearl-like buds which open to a spectacular show of pure white blooms. In addition to Snow Day Blizzard, which grows to 5 or 6 feet tall, Proven Winners ColorChoice shrubs also offers ‘Niagara’ Snow Day Surprise, which tops out at 3 to 4 feet tall, making it an excellent choice for smaller yards. Both grow in full sun to part shade in Zones 4-8. The shrubs that Proven Winners sent me to trial have performed beautifully. The flowering display that you see in the photo is after just one year in the ground.

Red-veined enkianthus (below) is more subtle in the spring landscape. Its pink bell-shape blooms sport red veins and hang in clusters. The shrub more than makes up for subdued spring color with fiery orange, red, and yellow fall foliage. Grow enkianthus in part shade to full sun in moist, well-drained, acidic soil. It is hardy in Zones 5-7. This shrub, which I received from Bailey Nurseries, is also in its first year.

Enkianthus campanulatus, red-veined enkianthus