Flowering shrubs provide a long-lived, low-fuss, eye-fetching framework in any garden design. And their rich array of form, foliage, fruit, and flowers can yield year-round rewards.
Lavishly lathered with blue flower trusses in spring, frost-tender wild lilacs (Ceanothus) are deceptively rugged. Their tough roots control erosion; their evergreen leaves are water-thrifty. In cold climes, plant deciduous, white-blossomed New Jersey tea.
Nosegay clusters of Daphne odora bear a sweet scent of mingled rose and anise in early spring. Daphne, including the evergreen marginata with yellow-edged leaves, thrive in warm climes. Fragrant Viburnum carlesii is a fine cold-hardy alternative.
Doublefile viburnum grows in elegant, horizontal tiers decked with flat-topped flower clusters. Its spring scent, deep-green summer foliage, claret-colored fall leaves, and black fruit make Viburnum burkwoodii a year-round favorite.
Spring-flowering branches brighten homespun pitchers. The rich pink blossoms of flowering quince are a colorful standout. This cold-hardy shrub is ideal grown in rows as a prickly-limbed security hedge.
Lush-blooming spireas are rewarding additions to any sunny garden. Snowmound spirea blooms in spring and boasts a compact habit primed for tucking in among perennials in a mixed border.
The glossy-leaved evergreen pieris, draped with frothy flower clusters, is well worth pampering. Ply it with acidic soil and ample water to help it reach its 7-foot potential. Plant it in protected niches in the North to shield early spring blossoms from late frost.
Holly-like leaves, brilliant yellow flower trusses, blue-black fruit, and bronzy winter color place Mahonia in the limelight each season. Since this native evergreen spreads (in moist soil) to form broad colonies, it's a great screen or foundation plant.
Continued on page 2: Compassionate pruning