Stacey—IN MY GARDEN
Though Stacey Hirvela is the Proven Winners shrub specialist, she’s an equal opportunity plant geek who loves to grow a little bit of everything (and a lot of edibles and ferns!). She works at Proven Winners® ColorChoice® Shrubs administering their Facebook page, taking photos in the trial gardens, running the Invincibelle Spirit® hydrangea campaign for a cure, and doing everything she can to help people be more successful in their gardens. A graduate of the New York Botanical Garden School of Professional Horticulture, Stacey formerly served as the horticulturist for the former Tavern on the Green restaurant in New York’s Central Park and a garden editor at Martha Stewart Living magazine.
Top 10 shrubs for containers and small spaces
Lo & Behold ‘Blue Chip Jr.’ has all the great qualities of the original ‘Blue Chip’ – non-invasive, dwarf habit, non-stop fragrant blooms – but with some major improvements. First, it blooms earlier, giving you a better show for longer. Next, it’s bluer, with flowers approaching a true-blue color. The foliage has a lovely silver tone, giving it a distinctive look and providing nice contrast with the flowers.
Every garden needs a neat, classic evergreen for year-round color and structure. May we suggest Gem Box? This unique variety of our native inkberry holly grows into a tidy ball that will add just the right touch of formality to containers or small gardens. Plant it with white flowers for a truly sophisticated combination.
We discovered the Cityline series of bigleaf hydrangea in Germany where it was being grown as a gift plant – its super strong stems, compact habit, and insanely bright flowers made it perfect for this, and it also happens to be an outstanding garden plant as well. There are six varieties in the series –and since Cityline hydrangeas only get to be 2’ tall, you’ll never have to worry about pruning them and removing those fabulous flowers.
Tuff Stuff is a type of mountain hydrangea, which comes from colder regions than its relative the bigleaf hydrangea, so it blooms much more reliably, even in zone 5. It reblooms, too, so you’ll have blooms from mid-summer through autumn. This beautiful plant is bound to become one of your favorites!
We offer so many reblooming shrubs because, really, who can have enough flowers? Bloom-a-Thon azaleas provide up to 20 weeks – that’s five months! – of flowers. The show begins in spring, when they bloom at normal azalea time, but after they take a short rest to put on some new growth, they begin again in mid-late July and continue until frost.
Roses aren’t typically plants that you think about just tucking into your beds here and there – but Oso Easy roses are not at all typical! We worked with a team of talented breeders in England to create this series of disease-free, long-blooming landscape roses that grow no taller than 3’. In fact, Oso Easy Paprika reaches just 2’ tall and forms a neat and tidy mound, and its spicy orange-yellow flowers appear nearly non-stop from June until frost, all while remaining untouched by typical rose enemies like powdery mildew and black spot.
Looking for a low-maintenance, disease-free landscape rose that doesn’t take the romance out of roses? Try Oso Happy Petit Pink: Hundreds of petal-packed pink flowers cover this plant all summer long for an old-fashioned look without the old-fashioned care regimens. It’s my personal favorite out of the roses we offer, and I’m not alone – the American Rose Society gave it an esteemed Award Of Excellence in 2011! If you love the floriferous look of an English cottage garden, or you simply can’t get enough of powder puff pink, you’ll think this hardy, Minnesota-bred beauty is too good to be true, too.