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Attractive shrubs

Spring is such an exciting time of the year, especially in the garden. After a long, grey winter, spring flowers offer a much needed dose of color.  Here are a few especially interesting shrub varieties that will add color and excitement to your garden:

Contributors: Jane Beggs-Joles


Butterfly bushes are among the most popular and familiar garden plants. Their fragrant, colorful flowers are magnets for butterflies and hummingbirds. The problem with most butterfly bush varieties is they’re huge and need to be cut back regularly to keep from outgrowing their space. In some areas, there are also concerns about Buddleia’s ability to produce a lot of seed. If you’ve been reluctant to add butterfly bushes to your garden because of these things, you owe it to yourself to check out Lo & Behold ‘Blue Chip’ (photo left).

‘Blue Chip’ is a truly compact Buddleia that grows to just 24 to 30 inches tall and wide. It doesn’t need trimming, and blooms from midsummer to frost without deadheading. It’s a tidy, compact, extra-bushy plant with all of the fragrance and butterfly appeal of other varieties without the work. This non-invasive hybrid is an environmentally responsible way to add wildlife habitat to your garden. It can be grown in container gardens and also makes a wonderful mass planting.

Hydrangeas are another popular group of shrubs, especially hardy, reblooming varieties. Let’s Dance Blue Jangles® (photo below) and Let’s Dance Starlight are two reblooming Hydrangeas that were selected for their exceptionally vibrant flower color and sturdy stems. They bloom on both old and new growth, therefore, producing lots of flowers every year, even after harsh winters. Starlight is the first re-blooming lace-cap variety to be introduced, and Moonlight is a richly-colored mop-head.

Ghost Weigela is another twist on an old favorite. Many gardeners enjoy the classic appeal of Weigela flowers, especially in the spring.  While older varieties were one-hit wonders, exciting in spring but dull the rest of the time, newer varieties have extended the interest of this easy-to-grow plant. Ghost Weigela has a profusion of red spring flowers, and then continues to rebloom throughout the season. The really interesting thing about Ghost, however, is its foliage. The soft, green, foliage magically turns to a ghostly iridescent butter-cream as the season progresses. By late summer and fall Ghost’s color has a very appealing and unusual glow.

The final challenge for many gardeners is roses. Roses get a bad rap as troublesome, disease-prone prima donnas. While hybrid tea roses can be finicky, the newer varieties of landscape roses are very easy-to-grow and maintain. Oso Easy roses were specially selected for their disease resistance and easy maintenance. You don’t need to spray these roses – they’re naturally resistant to black spot and other common diseases.

Oso Easy, a lovely, low mounded rose that delivers clouds of blooms. The large, double flowers are self-cleaning and contrast wonderfully against the glossy, dark green foliage. Tthe award winning Paprika as great options for low-maintenance summer color. All are perfect for mass plantings, container designs, and mixed beds and borders.

Serious gardeners are buzzing about Bloomerang lilac. This is a breakthrough variety that blooms in spring like other lilacs and then reblooms throughout the summer. Imagine having the classic appeal and fragrance of lilac flowers for months rather than weeks!

Two Hydrangea varieties are also getting a lot of attention. The first is Incrediball® (photo left)an outrageous variety of smooth Hydrangea. Incrediball® is like an ‘Annabelle’ Hydrangea on steroids; the blooms can reach up to 12” across. Each bloom has roughly four times as many florets as ‘Annabelle.’ Even though these flowers are huge, they don’t flop because Incrediball® has exceptionally strong, sturdy stems.

For yet another twist on ‘Annabelle’ check out Invincibelle® Spirit II, the first pink flowering, smooth, mop-head ‘Annabelle.’ Proven Winners® ColorChoice® will donate 5¢ from the purchase of each plant to The Breast Cancer Research Foundation® with a guaranteed minimum donation of $10,000. BCRF is dedicated to preventing breast cancer and finding a cure in our lifetime by funding clinical and translational research worldwide. For more about BCRF, visit  Like ‘Annabelle’, both Incrediball® and Invincibelle® Spirit II are hardy, adaptable and reliable throughout most of North America.

Lo & Behold 'Blue Chip' US PPAF, Can. COPF; Let's Dance® Blue Jangles® Hydrangea macrophylla 'SMHMTAU' USPPAF, Can PBRAF; Let's Dance Starlight 'Lynn' US PPAF, Can. PBRAF; Ghost 'Carlton' US PPAF, Can. PBRAF; Oso Easy Paprika 'ChewMayTime' US PPAF; Bloomerang Purple 'Penda' US PPAF, Can. PBRAF;

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