Create an Easy-Care Shrub Garden

Combine these beautiful, easy-care plants for a gorgeous summer garden.

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  • 1 of 12

    Endless Summer Hydrangea

    You can't go wrong with 'Endless Summer'. This gorgeous hydrangea blooms all season -- even in the north. It's great for cutting, with 8-inch-wide flower clusters. The blooms range from pink in alkaline soils to blue in acidic soils. The selection is wonderfully disease resistant, too.

    Name: Hydrangea 'Endless Summer'

    Growing Conditions: Afternoon shade and moist, well-drained soil

    Size: To 5 feet tall and wide

    Zones: 4-9

    It's Also Perfect With: White impatiens for nonstop color to first fall frost.

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    Endless Summer Blushing Bride Hydrangea

    Lighten shady spots with this beautiful shrub. 'Endless Summer Blushing Bride' bears clusters of gorgeous white flowers touched with light pink. Best of all, it reblooms all summer. And it resists unsightly diseases such as powdery mildew.

    Name: Hydrangea 'Endless Summer Blushing Bride'

    Growing Conditions: Afternoon shade and moist, well-drained soil

    Size: To 6 feet tall and wide

    Zones: 5-9

    It's Also Perfect With: Japanese painted fern for a terrific color combination.

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    Light-O-Day Hydrangea

    Variegated foliage is a perfect way to add season-long interest. We love the crisp white edges around this shrub's foliage. Its early summer blooms -- clusters of pink or blue lacecap-type flowers -- are a nice accent to the leaves.

    Name: Hydrangea 'Light-O-Day'

    Growing Conditions: Afternoon shade and moist, well-drained soil

    Size: To 5 feet tall and wide

    Zones: 5-9

    It's Also Perfect With: Fothergilla, a shade-loving shrub with springtime white flowers and blue-green foliage that turns festive shades of red and orange in fall.

  • 4 of 12

    Snowflake Oakleaf Hydrangea

    Oakleaf hydrangea is a great season extender: In summer, we love its big clusters of white blooms. Then in fall, the leaves turn beautiful shades of burgundy red. The peeling, cinnamon-colored bark is great for winter interest, too. This selection is great for adding height, structure, and texture to shady gardens.

    Name: Hydrangea quercifolia 'Snowflake'

    Growing Conditions: Afternoon shade and moist, well-drained soil

    Size: To 7 feet tall and wide

    Zones: 5-9

    It's Also Perfect With: Clethra, a summer-blooming shrub with clusters of fragrant white or pink flowers. They're great for creating a wall of privacy in shady spots.

  • 5 of 12

    Prairie Sky Switchgrass

    Switchgrass has it all: This tough plant tolerates heat, drought, and even a little shade. 'Prairie Sky' offers gorgeous metallic blue foliage that turns bright yellow in fall and looks good through winter.

    Name: Panicum virgatum 'Prairie Sky'

    Growing Conditions: Full sun or part shade and well-drained soil

    Size: To 5 feet tall and 3 feet wide

    Zones: 4-9

    It's Also Perfect With: Evergreens such as dwarf hemlock or blue spruce for interest all year long.

  • 6 of 12

    Miniature Snowflake Mock Orange

    One of spring's best scents, mock orange perfumes the air for weeks. This tough, compact selection offers double white flowers on a plant that fits perfectly just about anywhere.

    Name: Philadelphus 'Miniature Snowflake'

    Growing Conditions: Full sun to part shade and moist, well-drained soil

    Size: To 2 feet tall and wide

    Zones: 4-8

    It's Also Perfect With: Easy-care shrub roses so you can extend the season of color and fragrance all the way to frost.

  • 7 of 12

    Little Mischief Shrub Rose

    Grow low-care 'Little Mischief' for a burst of hot pink flowers all summer. It's heat and disease resistant, too, so you can enjoy it in any kind of weather.

    Name: Rosa 'Little Mischief'

    Growing Conditions: Full sun to part shade and moist, well-drained soil

    Size: To 2 feet tall and wide

    Zones: 4-9

    It's Also Perfect With: Purple coneflower, another tough plant that blooms much of the summer. The two combine beautifully in bouquets.

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    Rozanne Perennial Geranium

    'Rozanne' gives you big flower power: It starts blooming in June and the show of sky blue flowers continues nonstop all the way to frost. This perennial makes a bold statement as it weaves through the garden.

    Name: Geranium 'Rozanne'

    Growing Conditions: Full sun to part shade and moist, well-drained soil

    Size: To 2 feet tall and 3 feet wide

    Zones: 4-8

    It's Also Perfect With: Spring-blooming bulbs; 'Rozanne' starts blooming as most bulbs start to fade.

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    Snowdrift Astilbe

    Add texture to your shade garden with astilbe. This easy-care perennial produces feathery plumes of pink, red, or white flowers in early summer. The finely divided, ferny foliage looks great, too -- especially when you pair it with hostas and other big-leafed perennials.

    Name: Astilbe 'Snowdrift'

    Growing Conditions: Shade and moist soil

    Size: To 2 feet tall and wide

    Zones: 3-9

    It's Also Perfect With: Old-fashioned bleeding heart; the astilbe blooms as the bleeding heart starts to fade so you don't have a bare spot in the garden.

  • 10 of 12

    Sky Wings Siberian Iris

    Add a graceful element to your yard with Siberian iris. Though the blooms are smaller than their tall-bearded cousins, Siberian iris flowers are much more elegant. The plant's grassy foliage looks great, too. It adds an architectural element for the rest of the season.

    Name: Iris sibirica 'Sky Wings'

    Growing Conditions: Full sun or part shade and moist, well-drained soil

    Size: To 3 feet tall and 2 feet wide

    Zones: 3-9

    It's Also Perfect With: Peonies or baptisia for a wonderful contrast in bloom and foliage.

  • 11 of 12

    Tinkerbelle Lilac

    Grow this great little lilac as a shrub or small tree! No matter how you train it, you'll love the spicy-scent of its bright pink flowers (which emerge from wine-red buds, creating a two-toned effect) in late spring. And best of all, you don't need to worry about it getting too big -- 'Tinkerbelle' only grows 5 feet tall.

    Name: Syringa 'Tinkerbelle'

    Growing Conditions: Full sun to part shade and moist, well-drained soil

    Size: To 5 feet tall and wide

    Zones: 3-7

    It's Also Perfect With: Underplant it with peonies for a rich, romantic look in spring.

  • Next Slideshow Small Garden Ideas

    Small Garden Ideas

    A small garden space doesn't mean you can't have the garden you want. Here are our favorite ideas for small garden ideas, including small patio garden ideas, to help you maximize your space!
    Begin Slideshow »
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