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Highbush blueberry provides four seasons of fanfare, starting with twisted, peeling stems in winter; profuse white or pink blossoms in spring; savory blue fruit in summer; and long-lasting foliage the color of a rich red wine in fall. The maroon to scarlet fall shades are effective for a solid month or more, as the leaves (especially in full sun) are reluctant to fall. The best fruit set occurs when you plant at least two cultivars that will bloom concurrently to ensure cross-pollination.
This small deciduous shrub is covered in early spring with pink buds that burst open to reveal slightly fragrant, showy, flat-topped white flowers. Fleshy red fruit is borne in pendulous bunches in late August, darkening to all-black in October. Leaves fade to a dark maroon in the fall and winter months when planted in colder areas. Plants grow to about 5 feet tall and 8 feet wide. A cross between V. utile and V. × burkwoodii ‘Park Farm Hybrid’, this shrub is excellent as a foundation plant, as a specimen, in mass groupings, in a shrub border, or in containers. Evergreen to Zones 7 and 8.
This shrub has a compact, rounded form, growing 8-10 feet tall and wide. In early spring, it produces showy lipstick-red buds that open to white flowers. Once open, the flowers scent the air with their spicy, clove-like perfume for another two weeks. The glossy dark green foliage is handsome throughout the growing season and resistant to bacterial leaf spot and powdery mildew. Foliage turns orange-red in autumn.
This deciduous shrub with toothed, dark green leaves bears pink buds in late spring that open to white or pink-flushed flowers borne in domed clusters. The intoxicating fragrance is reminiscent of spice cake. The plant also has attractive red foliage and berries in the fall. It grows to about 6 feet tall and wide.
This woody, multi-stemmed, deciduous shrub has a rounded shape and grows 5 to 9 feet tall and wide. It has toothed leaves and small, creamy white flowers in May to June that mature to bluish black spherical fruits.
This semi-evergreen or evergreen shrub has a rounded form. In late spring, it bears flower clusters—sometimes up to 8 inches wide—that start out chartreuse and turn pure white. Dark green leaves are semi-evergreen in southern states, where it can grow to 20 feet high and 15 feet wide.
This plant produces a myriad of tiny white flowers set in wide, stalked flower heads. The white flowers appear in early summer, then mature to egg-shaped berries that turn from green to creamy-pink, deepening throughout the summer and ending in a blue-black hue in autumn. Plants grow 12-15 feet tall and 6 feet wide.
There are some shrubs that will light up the fall garden with both leaf color and fruit. 'Winterthur' viburnum is one of those shrubs. It begins its display in late summer, as clusters of half-inch-diameter fruit begin to blush pink and become more intense over the course of a few weeks until the whole shrub looks bedecked in bubble gum. The fruit quickly change to a deep blueberry blue as the glossy, leathery leaves become infused with maroon and red. 'Winterthur' maintains a compact, 6-foot-round, multistemmed habit that produces abundant fruit and more intense fall color than the species. In late spring, it's covered with small, off-white, slightly fragrant flowers.
Doublefile viburnum is a horizontally branched, deciduous shrub native to China and Japan. Along its branches in mid-spring bloom double rows of flattened clusters of sterile florets, resembling lace-cap hydrangea flowers. Oval red fruit follows and ripens to black, often attracting birds.
This shrub's signature characteristics are its tiered shape and handsome, grayish brown branches. It lights up in fall with reddish purple leaves and bright red fruits that change to black. In spring, flat flower clusters borne above stems open white and turn deep pink. Summer leaves are dark green with furrowed veins.
Blackhaw Viburnum is a large shrub or small tree with clusters of creamy white flowers followed by pink-rose berries, which birds love to eat. Its distinctive bronze-green foliage on reddish purple stems turns blue-black in the fall. Blackhaw grows to 12 to 15 feet high and 8 to12 feet wide.
This vigorous, coarsely textured evergreen shrub has an upright habit and 8-inch-long, lustrous, deeply veined oval leaves with dark blue-green surfaces and pale green undersides. The leaf stems are fuzzy brown. In spring, fragrant creamy-white flowers bloom in clusters. Blue berries form in June and become plump through September, maturing to glossy black. Plants grow 10-15 feet tall and wide.
While North American native viburnums occur most commonly in the eastern United States, rusty blackhaw viburnum flirts with the edge of the Plains. One of the most drought-tolerant species in the genus, rusty blackhaw viburnum has neither the showiest floral display nor heaviest fruit production. Still, its glossy, dark green, leathery foliage is reason enough to grow it; the rich burgundy tones of its fall foliage are icing on the cake.
This deciduous, rounded shrub grows to 15 feet tall with maple-like, lobed, dark green leaves that turn shades of red, yellow, and purple in autumn. White flowers resembling lace-cap hydrangeas bloom in spring and are followed by abundant red fruit loved by birds. Grow in a woodland garden or border, or as a wildlife plant.
This low-key, trustworthy shrub is perfect for the back of the border, where its dense form will create a nice backdrop for showier summer plants. Come fall, however, it stands out with deep burgundy foliage and large, bright red berries. Birds don't like the fruit, so the berries often persist well into winter. 'Bailey Compact' is a dwarf version of this normally 20-foot-tall shrub.
A deciduous shrub, wiegela has gracefully arching branches studded with pink tubular flowers. Dwarf, medium, and tall cultivars are now available for the front, middle, or back of the border: 'Midnight Wine' has dark burgundy foliage and pink flowers; 2- to 3-foot-tall and wide 'Minuet' has purplish-green foliage and magenta-rose and pale purple flowers; and 'Dark Horse' has dark burgundy foliage and deep pink flowers. Many other garden-worthy cultivars are available.
This dramatic architectural plant is one of the most beautiful variegated yuccas on the market. Its sword-shaped leaves bear bold central stripes of bright canary-yellow against a rich celadon edge. In cool weather, margins are tinged pink, and the entire yellow stripe turns rose-colored on many of the leaves, lasting through early spring. Plants grow to 2 feet wide and nearly as tall. Branched clusters of nodding, creamy-white bells open in mid-summer on stout stems that reach 6 feet tall.
This easy to grow evergreen yucca bears dramatic, sword-shaped yellow leaves with a dark green edge. Not as staunchly upright as some yuccas, its leaf tips sometimes droop with age. Its foliage color is best from fall to spring. Plants grow to nearly 2 feet in height and 3 feet in width. In summer, it produces a 6-foot-tall spike covered with nodding, fragrant, white bell-shaped flowers.
This clumping evergreen shrub with narrow leaves produces a startling, 3- to 4-foot-tall flower stalk. The fragrant flowers are pale green or greenish white. It is a tenacious weed in areas of the American West, but adds a touch of the desert to gardens. Soap can be made from its roots and the foliage is used in basket-making.
This sculptural plant bears sword-like leaves to 24 inches long in shades of blue- or gray-green and maturing to dark green, with smooth margins. In summer, the plant produces 8-foot spikes of nodding, bell-shaped, fragrant white flowers, sometimes tinged purple, to 2 inches long.
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