Eastern redbud (Cercis canadensis), blooming pink in mid- to late spring; serviceberry (Amelanchier spp.), bearing white flowers in early spring; and the dogwoods, with their white to pink blooms in late spring, add height in shade gardens. Magnolia, apple, crab apple, pear, cherry, and plum trees can be planted individually, in an orchard row, centered in a ring of annuals, or as a supporting player in a border that blends deciduous and evergreen shrubs, perennials, and other mini trees.
More expansive, old-time favorites such as bridalwreath, mock orange, and flowering quince create stand-alone centers of attention near walkways or in patches of lawn.
As a lot-line hedge, consider marshaling a row of golden forsythia; red- or yellow-blooming witch hazel; white, pink, or purple lilacs; or white-blossoming honeysuckle. Or, mass tall, wide, and pink-flowering beautybushes as a privacy screen.
Place the catkin-bearing pussy willow at the back of borders, where its less-than-stellar form adds behind-the-scenes structure and height.
In the forefront of beds, opt for rhododendrons, blooming in a kaleidoscopic range of hues; mountain laurel, with flowers ranging from white to rose; and Fothergilla, boasting white bottlebrushlike spikes. These shrubs will spark close-to-home interest when planted near foundations.
Continued on page 3: Forcing Basics