slideshow: springtime’s shrubs on parade

cornus-silver-and-goldS HRUBS ARE THE PEOPLE-SIZED PART OF THE LANDSCAPE, the middle layer that you cannot make a garden without. If you go and skip the shrubs, the transition from tree to perennial is just too drastic, don’t you think? I tried to pick one kind to profile today—lilacs, perhaps, or twig dogwoods (both in the photo above and both treating me to a show at the moment) or maybe a viburnum?—but I failed to single anybody out. Instead, a tour of springtime’s shrubs so far at A Way to Garden, in words and pictures:

Click on the first thumbnail to get started, then navigate from slide to slide using the arrows alongside each caption. Enjoy. Oh, and if you need some really tough groundcovers for under all those shrubs…

  1. Susan says:

    The bark of the giant pussy willow is oddly enough is my favorite, then the rest are all tied for second. Looking forward to seeing your garden in person.

  2. Jeanne Daley says:

    I can’t wait to see “you and yours” on the 31st. What an incredible Spring display, and a particular delight for a City gardener who only has about 50 square feet in which to support Nature’s wonders.

    In our “Times” correspondence you mentioned a nursery that would be worth a visit near Cupcake Falls. Details please? Though that presumes that I’ll be able to tear myself away from your garden.

  3. margaret says:

    Welcome, Jeanne Daley; you should plan to go to Loomis Creek, about 20 mins to my west and slightly north, near Hudson, NY (which is a fun town anyhow for a pitstop).

    Welcome, Kit. Brrr….you are cold up there. But many goodies for even the coldest areas; check their zones carefully first of course. Nice to see you.

  4. laura says:

    Cephalotaxus harringtonia ‘Prostrata’ is hardy here!?! YIPEE! I had significant zonal envy when I saw a spectacular photo in a book, whose title I can’t recall. Must/will try asap! Is this something you could find in a nursery, even with some effort? (Would be great to hear – from you or others – about other zone defying success stories.)

  5. Willi says:

    I really love doublefile viburnums. This fall I am planning on putting in a Maresii between my house and my neighbors. I’m hoping it’s pagoda-like branches will block out his ugly driveway and provide a nice place for birds to perch.

  6. dean says:

    Gorgeous. Gorgeous. Gorgeous. You are the shrub queen! Don’t get me started on Lindera benzoin, perhaps THE most underrated native shrub in the Hudson Valley. I think Lindera is one of those Asian/American botanical parallels: some species in eastern U.S., some in Asia (I’ll have to consult Mr. Bean tonight). Can’t you just imagine it in place of all that horrid Forsythia everywhere in April? (No. I will not apologize for that bit of bombast. Forsythia is awful — so brash and loud at a time when everything else whispers. I consider it a blight on the land.)

    I still want to propose a piece to you-know-who….Hello?

    1. margaret says:

      Welcome back, Dean, hope you are well. I call Forsythia vomit of spring, so I am with you. And yes, propose, propose. :) By the way, that is the even-more-naughty variegated ribbon grass or “gardener’s garters,” not blue Lyme grass; it’s Phalaris arundinacea ‘Picta.’ I love it. It wants to take over the world, but I have fought that urge for 15 or more years and we are happy together.

      @Laura: Don’t know exactly where you are, but in the Berkshires, Windy Hill Nursery in Great Barrington sells it (and they are definitely Zone 5). The owner and I also both tried the upright forms but killed or maimed them all…but this one we can both grow. The first year it was a little freaked out, but quickly recovered and is a monster now. I have two more starting to take off in other spots…one is in too much shade, and I will move it.

      @Bobster: Birds. The birds eat the viburnum fruit before it even ripens. Doublefile, sielbodii, etc…they will leave setigerum much longer, and the yellow-fruited forms like setigerum ‘Michael Dodge’ last longer, too.

  7. Bobster says:

    The doublefile is in it’s glory this week! It’s beautiful during the day, but it just seems to GLOW in the moonlight! By dumb-luck I placed it across the yard from the kitchen window and it really does just light up the yard. I smile now when I think how it fit on the passengers seat so snugly just a couple years ago. It’s a beast now…but one I absolutely love! I only wish the fruits would last a little longer into the season.

  8. Jackie Long says:

    Where can I order plants for the purple agincounrt Beauty
    Daphne’s flower purple
    virburnum plcatum tomatosum? Thanks J Long

    1. margaret says:

      @Jackie: The doublefile viburnum should be in any garden center; defintely ask locally. Forestfarm usually carries the Daphne, but may be sold out by now. The lilac should be something your garden center can get you if they don’t stock it, or you can order a small one from Bluestone Perennials, among other places.

    1. Margaret says:

      @Mary: Yes, we have it here now, too; I mention what to do (and how to find out what kinds are more affected) in this post from last year. I have at least two dozen viburnums here, and between October and April go and cut out overwintering egg cases to reduce the next year’s beetle population. Details and links in that post for more info.

    1. Margaret says:

      Welcome, Susan. I can grow the prostrate Cephalotaxus but not the other forms (which I like better). I am Zone 5Bish, and have had a big one many years. Nice to “meet” you.

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