March 8, 2011

Favorite Shrubs

Part Three of my garden series is all about . . .


A hard working, often overlooked, addition to any garden Shrubs can add color, texture and height to your space.  Plus taller varieties can provide a soft backdrop for flowers.

#1:  Boxwood

If you like a neatly clipped and shaped shrubs,  Boxwood is a great choice.  Ranging in size and color you'd be hard pressed to find one that wouldn't work for your yard.  Here in Minnesota we are pretty much limited to a few varieties, but that's fine by me.  Personally I like the smaller, dwarf varieties since I like to use boxwood to frame a garden entrance or for accents in garden beds.  Using their shape and color to add structure to a space.

My favorite is the Green Velvet Boxwood.  It will grow up to four feet tall.  I've planted four throughout my yard and hope to add more in the future.

#2:  Lilac

Beautiful, fragrant Lilac -- not much needs to be said about this beauty that you don't already know and love.   I dream of having the space for a large hedge row, but sadly I've only been able to squeeze two shrubs into my existing landscape.

The first is a Dwarf Korean which should grow to five feet tall with dark purple flowers.  The second I forgot to write down.  It's should also grow to about 5 feet and has pale purple flowers.

#3:  Potentilla

Potentilla is a fabulous shrub with small, glossy leaves.  Ranging in sizes and growth habit from rounded  to arching, Potentilla's best feature is the small yellow or white flowers that bloom all summer long.  My mother has encircled a shed with these delightful shrubs and it's always a treat to see them.

I have four of the yellow shrubs planted in my front yard garden and one white variety called Mckay's White.  I enjoy both.

#4:  Peony

Although not technically a shrub, I'm throwing it in the mix since tend to treat it as one.  Peony's tend to be a little slow to settle into a garden but once established they become a very tough plant.  Plus their flowers are GORGEOUS!

I have two Peonies transplanted from my mothers garden (she's not a fan - GASP!!!).  I have also purchased two Sarah Bernhardt Double Peony's that I have placed in my cutting garden.  One thing I have found is that the don't take to shade at all, not even light shade.  This is definitely a full sun plant.  Truth be told I have moved my poor Peonies so many times I began to wonder if they would ever produce flowers since they don't take kindly to being moved about.  Last spring I did have two blooms, so I'm hoping I have found the perfect spot and am looking forward to at least a handful this coming spring.

#5:  Spirea

When we moved into our current house I was pleased to realize I had a nice row of Spirea leading up to the front door.  Spirea are a great plant for the ever changing temperature's of Minnesota.  I also like them because they grow fast, have pretty flowers in a range of colors, and are easy to clip into neat rounded shapes.

My front yard garden has a total of five Spirea that bloom a pretty mid-toned purple in late spring and then again in late summer.  Deadheading the spent flowers keep them looking nice until they rebloom.  Come autumn, the leave turn a pretty redish, rust color which is nice.

#6:  Shrub Roses

For years I resisted purchasing any roses because of all the horror stories I'd heard about how much upkeep are needed.  But then I discovered Shrub Roses and fell in love.  Shrub Roses require very little extra effort besides deadheading.  They produce one to two inch roses all summer long in a range of colors.

I have kept my rose selections limited to two types.  Knock Out Rose and Flower Carpet Rose.
Knock Out Rose shrubs will grow to four feet tall.  Flower Carpet Rose's grow two feet tall and spread to three feet.  Both produce large amounts of flowers all summer long and are very easy to grow.

In the backyard garden I have two hot pink Knock Out Roses' and one yellow Flower Carpet Rose.  In the Cutting garden I have placed two more Knock Out Rose's in a light pink.  In the front yard garden I have two mid-toned pink Knock Out Roses and plans to add two more Flower Carpet Roses in pale pink.

I have found that I have a family of bunnies that like to come over and snack on my Rose leaves but a dusting of cayenne pepper keeps them protected.

#7:  Hydrangea

Gorgeous Hydrangea!  Is there a more perfect flowering shrub?  I think not.  Ranging is color from white to bright blue, there is a favorite to be found for everyone.  I'm sure there isn't much I can say about this beautiful plant that you don't already know.    Lets just say it's a favorite of mine, and hands down across the board I bet it's one of your's too!

In my backyard garden I have two white Annabelle Hydrangea, one Limelight Hydrangea and one Pink Diamond Hydrangea.  Of the four, the Pink Diamond is my favorite.  It blooms a soft pink color, deepend into a darker pink and then into a lime green color by fall.  It's breathating!  I plan to add a few more to my front yard this year.

That conculded my thoughts on Shrubs!

Hope you enjoyed,


(next up in my Garden Series - - Bulbs and Edibles)

In case you missed Part 1:  Annuals or Part 2:  Perennials you can check them out HERE and HERE.


  1. Robin,
    You have outdone yourself on this series so far! I love it!
    I have to say though that I am not a fan of the peony also...I love the flowers but maybe they just don't like NE...they only bloom for a week or so then fall over. I do help myself to large bouquets from my neighbors garden though. :)
    The spirea are my favorite. Ours get so pink then bright yellow...they're just bright and cheery.
    Can't wait to read the next part!

  2. ahhhh fabulous! question for your hydrangeas also have to be in full sun?

    I think my peonies have to be moved...maybe they are in a little too shady of a spot...ah darn...I guess I'll see if that works in a couple years! can you move them in spring or only in fall?

  3. Robin, I love this series! It is about time for the gardening to begin!!!! YEAH!

  4. Hi Robin....!

    I HOPE you & Zoe are feeling better Lovey....!!!!!

    I ADORE peonies & the hydrangea is my ALL TIME FAVE flower in the world....We don't have ANY plants at all in our tiny yard but if we did, it would be FILLED with hydrangeas....Oh & lavender for the heavenly scent.... :o) !!

    THANKS for sharing your garden....I hope the weather your way becomes more conducive to gardening SOONER rather than later....!

    I hope you're having an EXTRAORDINARY week....!!

    Cheers for now,
    Tamarah :o)

  5. I have two peonies (one is a Sarah Bernhardt) and I'm going to plant a couple more this year. And you actually have a bush that I have never heard of before - Potentilla. I'll have to check that one out this year.

  6. Now you're talking my language! I love love love Peonies and Hydrangeas! I'm planning to add some dwarf boxwoods to the mix this spring! I can't wait!

  7. I've enjoyed your gardening series, Robin! I love my peonies, I have 7 and want to do more! I have planted several hygrangeas and they never make it. I did 3 more last summer and I can't wait to see if they come back this spring. I can't wait to see your garden pictures this spring!

  8. Oh...your post makes me ache for spring all the more, Robin! I can hardly wait to see my favs (peonies, hydrangeas, lilacs, roses) budding out! :)

    xoxo laurie

  9. Shrubs are my favorite because for the most part they are easy to grow! Hydrangeas are my favorite but I do love roses and boxwood too!

  10. Lilacs are my favorite! I could inhale their scent for hours. Boxwood...not a fan. I think they smell funny.

    I didn't know you lived in Minnesota, I do too. I'm praying it doesn't snow tomorrow :)

  11. Robin,

    I think we might be garden sisters :) Great series! It was nice to see you mention, Potentilla. We had 5 of them at our old house. They are a hardy plant. We would cut them down to nothing and they would always come back so full and lush in the Spring. They flower all summer, too. I love peonies and hydrangeas! What's not to love?! I'm curious to try the limelight variety that you mentioned.

    Keep warm today! ~M

  12. I can hardly wait to garden again! I didn't know Boxwood would grow for us here in Minnesota!

  13. What a great series of posts! I love those roses and hydrangeas, and I can grow them here! X

  14. In the autumn, I want to buy yet Buxus. But not for the garden - for large bucket. I love them so much!



  15. you got me dreaming up our summer garden now! i can see you know what you are doing, i must admit, i am not good at gardening, or maybe it's because i haven't really tried :o)

    have a wonderful day!

  16. I love shrubs, too, and have many that you listed in my garden. Love the shrubs you chose to share with us today, and wonderfully informative post. :)


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