Great Shrub Options For Your Outdoor Landscape

As summer arrives, people often spend their first days trying to enjoy the outdoor environment. There are plenty of outdoor activities to enjoy in our region. After summer sets in, people are often looking to make some improvements to their outdoor spaces. One of many things people look to work on is their home. Foundation plantings can really improve the look of a home. There are many great shrub options for our region that can add a lot of interest to the landscape. We’ll take a quick look at a few of those items in this article.

Among the easiest shrubs to grow in our climate are Potentilla. There are many varieties of potentilla but all of them lend themselves well to foundation planting. Potentilla generally are modest in size achieving a maximum height of around 3 ft. Perhaps, the most attractive attribute of potentilla lies in their bloom time.

While most plants that are year-after-year plants, do not bloom the entire summer season, potentilla tend to break that rule. Beginning in early June, they start their show of flowers. These flowers are roughly the size of a quarter. In a very short time, they fill these shrubs with masses of summer color lasting from the time they begin in June until the time the frost arrives in the fall. Potentilla are available in many bloom colors but unquestionably the most famous is yellow.

Another great option for foundation plantings are Spirea. Spirea also have a modest height which lends them well to the topic of foundation plantings. A maximum of around 3 ft is usually for many Spirea varieties. But watch yourself, there are the occasional Renaissance and Snowmound spirea that can break the 4-5 ft mark. There are increasing varieties of spirea to choose from. Many of the hybrids have foliage that begins one color, usually red, and matures greener as the summer progresses.  

The Little Princess spirea, a green foliage option, is always a strong choice in foundation plantings. Spirea generally bloom for most of June. Japanese spirea are usually first with some of the hybrid forms following after; sometimes closer to the Fourth of July.

Spirea are much more like your average perennial or shrub. As you may recall, most shrubs and perennials don’t bloom continually, in the way that potentilla do.  What they lack in blooms, they make up for in fall foliage. Spirea have a knockout fall foliage. As fall arrives, they take on molten tones of oranges and reds. They’re extremely striking!

Last, in our groups of foundation plantings, I’ll choose to share shrub roses. There are so many varieties of roses. All with varying degrees of hardiness. Many wish to try many of the Hybrid Tea Rose varieties that you may find at the box stores. Unfortunately, they are often not likely to succeed in our region. Instead, I choose to reach for the Morden series of roses.

Originally released by the Morton Arboretum in Canada, these tough roses are known as “own root” roses. All of the Morden series are reliable choices for foundation plantings. 

the great thing about roses, if they are dead-headed, is that they will bloom the entire summer. In addition to the Morden series, the Hansa, Rugosa, and Pavement roses (Snow Pavement and Purple Pavement) all have a fragrance that is simply to die for!

If you’re looking to make any improvements to your outdoor space, we’d love to assist you in being successful in making YOUR yard, one you’ll “love to come home to!”


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