Bring Color To Your Special Place by Arlena Schott  Garden Wise
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Bring Color To Your Special Place
by Arlena Schott  Garden Wise

As gardeners, we are always in search of the allusive color scheme.

Continuously trying to get the most from our gardens pallet .
To do this we add flowering bushes, perennials our favorite annuals for splashes of color and an array of texture and color with trees.

There is a saying that comes to mind "out of site and out of mind ?"

That is what I refer to as the Spring flowering bushes.

They grace us with their beauty in the early days of spring and fade in to the back ground as the season progresses.

Then as the next first days of spring appear we are reminded that we hadn't added one of those beauties to our garden and now we will have to wait yet another season to enjoy their blossoms in our very own gardens.

To the most experienced of all gardeners these may seem a little repetitious and old fashion ,but I just have to keep them at the for front of your minds while you are planting this fall and thinking of ways to add more color and texture to your gardens.

Here is a list of some of my favorite spring flowering beauties.

Forsythia is both the common name and botanical name of a genus belonging to the (Olive family).

The forsythia is one of the old favorites that seem to be left in the dirt as the new varieties of flowering bushes are cultivated.

She is a very popular early spring flowering shrub that is grown and prized for being a tough and reliable garden plant.
After the forsythia finishes blooming she will leaf out with beautiful long and thin green leaves and become a wonderful foundation plant for your garden.

Bridal Wreath Spirea  (S. vanhouttei)

Spireas (Spiraea species) are among the easiest flowering shrubs to grow.

There are two distinct kinds of spireas the bridal wreath type, with clusters of white flowers on arching branches in spring and the shrubby, much lower-growing type, which has pink, red or white flowers clustered at the end of upright branches in summer to fall.

To control and keep the largest of the spireas healthy it is important to prune your bushes at least once a year to promote new growth from the center and lower parts of the plants.

If you have an ancient spirea bush that has been in the garden for who knows how long and you have just done all you can do with her but you are still not satisfied with her shape.

No fear, prune her back to about 2'-3' , yes! cut her way back ,this tells her to grow her healthy branches.

I have even gone as far as to take an old, shaggy ,bad hair day and poorly trimmed for years specimen all the way to the ground , leaving her 18" tall at the most and then watch as she comes to life the following season, thanking us with her beautiful white show of arching branches.

Mock Orange  (Philadelphus)

The Idaho's state flower; when in full bloom the flowers scent the air with a delightfully sweet fragrance reminiscent of orange blossoms.
Mock Orange is a loosely branched shrub, covered in the spring ,May through June by many white flowers.

She grows from 4 ' to 10' tall and 6 feet wide. Mock Orange is just one more woody flowering shrub that can be contained and kept her healthy with regular pruning.

Philadelphus 'Miniature Snowflake'

For a smaller version of the Mock Orange try the hybrid philadelphus "Miniature Snowflake" it is a compact, deciduous shrub that grows to only 3' tall and 4 feet wide. She has fragrant, double white flowers that bloom profusely in late spring.

Double Flowering Almond  (Prunus triloba)
These are one of my most favorite of all spring flowering bushes.

The Double Flowering Almond is a smaller lighter flowering bush that is covered with double pink blossoms in early spring.

They are smaller growing only to about 4'-5' feet tall and 4' feet wide.

The Flowering Almond makes a wonderful background shrub for your garden. After flowering they have small leaves that cover their upright branches.

Lilacs  (Syringa Vulgaris)

Who could forget the fragrance of the Lilac and the fond memories that they bring.

With all the new varieties we are splashed with a multitude of colors to choose from.

Lilacs bloom from May to June.

With all the new cultivators we can choose the size as well as the colors.

Some of the newer varieties like Miss Kim are a more manageable size. They grow 3"-4 " and 3 feet wide.

The Miss Kim lilac has smaller blossoms but the same beauty as its Grandmother the common lilac.

Once again if you have a Lilac bush that grandma had and she looks a little wore out and spindly.

You can give her a hair cut ( cut down to 2 feet tall) and wake her up for many more years of beauty to share.

Weigelia  (Weigela florida)
Originally from China the Weigelia has been a favorite in many yards and gardens. The several kinds of this showy flowering shrub all produce blooms late May to June.

Most Weigelia grow to 7 or 8 feet, although there are dwarf forms that grow to only 4 or 5 feet. Their loosely branching habit causes them to spread nearly as wide as they are tall. Their woody branches becoming somewhat coarse and stiffly rangy if they are not pruned.

We have now brought back into view all the old standards for spring flowering bushes and I have reminded you of their distinguished beauty that they will bring after the snow has gone in the spring.

Fall Color is another way of adding the color back into the landscape after a long hot summer.

Don't wait until fall to strive for maximum color displays on the fall landscape. Color can be achieved through trees, shrubs and vines, but you must plan and plant ahead!

In addition to foliage, the fruits (berries) of your plants must also be considered , many berries provide striking fall color.

If you are planning on adding some fall color to your gardens you still have time to enjoy their show. Here are just a few of my favorites for you to think about when doing your fall planting.

Burning Bush  ( Euonymus alata )
They are known for the fiery pinkish-red foliage color that appears in autumn and remains a bright spot for several weeks around the neighborhood.

The shrubs become more spreading as they mature at a height of 10 to 15 feet. there are dwarf compact versions that will grow to 4' tall and 4 feet wide.I insignificant yellow flowers are followed by attractive red berries.

It is important to give your burning bush a good haircut every fall after the leaves fall or early spring as the leaves appear.

Sumac is one of the most underrated bushes for providing fall colors on the landscape . We all notice it in the wild landscape as we take our Sunday drives, but we rarely think of it for fall color in our own gardens. There is one good reason we do not see sumac gracing your neighbors yard and that is the poisons aspect of the plant.

In reality, poison sumac would hardly ever be found in a front yard, unless your front yard is a swamp ,which is poison sumac's habitat.

The cultivated varieties of sumac that you find in your garden centers and nurseries are not poisonous, and the colorful leaves of many varieties provide fall colors ranging from red or maroon to gold.

Two such varieties are Staghorn and smooth sumac. The widespread Staghorn sumac (Rhus typhina) is a relatively tall variety (reaches 18 feet to 35 feet). The smooth sumac (Rhus glabra) is another common variety; this bush attains a height of about 10 feet

There are newer varieties that would be just perfect for that special fall color spot in your garden.

Tigers Eyes Staghorn Sumac
This variety grows to be about 5 feet tall and 3 feet wide.

The leaves emerge in the spring and turn a bright yellow for the summer.

In the fall is when they truly amaze you with their flaming red color.

American Cranberry Bush  (Viburnum trilobum)

This is an excellent deciduous shrub for screening up to 10 to 12 ft. high. It grows to a width of 8 ft. with very dense growth of up to 3 feet per year in full sun or part shade.

The American Cranberry Bush has showy white flowers in spring followed by red berries in fall and winter. These berries hang through mid winter, making excellent bird feed.

There is a compact form Dwarf European Cranberry Bush that makes a wonderful single planting display for the fall. Grows to 3 feet tall and 3 feet wide.

Sedum  (Stonecrop)
Sedum 'Autumn Joy' comes as close to perfection as any plant can. It looks good all year, requires minimal attention and attracts few problems. 'Autumn Joy' has been joined in the garden by a growing number of fall wonders like: 'Bertram Anderson, 'Brilliant' and 'Matrona'. No fall garden is complete without sedum.

So now you have the scoop on those flowering shrubs that we all marvel over come spring.

So don't make me say "I told you so" come spring when you wish that they were blooming in your yard. There is plenty of time to add them and like the old saying goes "there is no time like the present" and Fall is for planting"

Arlena Garden Wise
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