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This multi-stemmed shrub or tree can reach almost 20 feet tall. At one time, it was used medicinally for many conditions. Its autumn color is bright red or yellow and its small, edible black fruits attract much wildlife.
A compact shrub form of serviceberry, 'Regent' produces finely toothed, rounded leaves that are bluish on top and gray-green on the bottom. In fall, they change to vibrant yellow and red. Spring finds the shrub sporting white flowers in upright clusters that give way to fruit in June. Birds as well as humans appreciate the tasty berries, which make great jellies and jams and are more abundant in full sun. This plant is native to the Great Plains and tolerates harsh, dry, or alkaline conditions when mature.
The textural quality of this eastern native's stems and foliage is superb. During winter, a circle of the thorn-covered stems is as magical as an outdoor sculpture. Dark blue-green compound leaves offer a tropical effect before turning yellow and purple in autumn. One-foot-wide flower clusters sit atop the foliage in summer and transform into purple-black fruits that attract birds. Aralia spinosa grows to 30 feet tall and spreads indefinitely.
This is a fine plant for cascading over the edge of a wall. It's a hardy, prostrate shrub with intricate branching that often forms mats up to 3 feet wide, by runners. Fragrant, white bell-shaped flowers tinged with pink are borne in May and followed later in the season by red berries. The common bearberry's stunning red stems are studded with small, glossy, evergreen leaves.
Fragrant white flowers in spring, red fall foliage, and persistent berries for winter interest make Aronia a valuable plant in all seasons.
Black chokeberry is a medium-size shrub with multiple seasons of interest. Starting with showy clusters of white flowers in early summer, followed by dark purple fruits greatly appreciated by robins, this adaptable shrub closes the growing season with beautiful, wine red fall foliage. Black chokeberry is most effective when massed in the landscape and allowed to follow its natural tendency to spread by suckering.
English daisy bears stems topped with a single white, daisy-like flower. The flowers are tinged maroon and yellow; but cultivars are available with single, semi-double, or double button flowers in shades of white, pink, salmon, and ruby. The plant's smooth, spoon-shaped leaves form neat rosettes. This carpeting perennial is often grown as a biennial. Its many cultivars are used for bedding out or container displays.
Mountain sweet is a low-growing, broad, compact, deciduous shrub. Dark-green leaves are irregularly toothed, 2 to 3 inches long, and softly hairy or nearly hairless beneath. This plant bears profuse white flowers in 1- to 2-inch-long terminal clusters.
Bachelor's buttons bear charming and prolific flowers in hues of blue, pink, lavender, white, and maroon. Those with a true blue color are especially welcome in the garden as that color is rare in nature. Each disc-shaped flower is about 1.5 inches across, with ragged petals radiating out from the center.
A native small tree found in wetlands from Minnesota to Florida and from New England to California, buttonbush can reach 8 to 15 feet tall and is often wider than it is tall. Prune it into a small multi-trunked tree to reveal the curly bark of its young stems and the punctuated pale spots of its older stems. Blooms are extremely rich in nectar and attract butterflies and other insects.
This North American native is unrivaled in beauty for its pendulous and diaphanous clusters of fragrant white blossoms, which appear in May or June. The individual blossoms are made up of four petals that dangle from threadlike stems in great silken clusters. The leaves are late to emerge in the spring, and this species flowers before leafing out. Female specimens produce blue-black fruits in autumn.
This vigorous climber can easily cover a support of 8 to 10 feet tall once established. Finely textured, dense light-green foliage makes an excellent foil for dainty, pink and carmine teardrop-shaped flowers 2 inches across. Blooms appear in early August and continue well into autumn.
This upright, suckering shrub has fragrant, white or pink terminal flower spikes in late summer. The blooms look like bottle brushes and attract butterflies and bees. Leaves turn a pleasant yellow in autumn.
This upright, suckering shrub bears creamy white, deliciously spicy clove-scented flowers in dense, upright spikes that last four to six weeks in July and August. It is more compact than the species. Flowers mature to spikes of dark brown capsules that provide winter interest. Its oval, glossy dark green leaves turn a pleasant yellow in autumn.
Very fragrant, light pink bottlebrush flowers grace this native shrub in late summer and early fall, attracting butterflies and other insects and perfuming the garden for weeks. Plant it in beds or borders, in a woodland or shade garden, or at waterside. It also has nice fall color.
This summersweet is a sport of C. alnifolia 'Pink Spires'. Its fragrant, bottlebrush flowers are a darker pink; they attract butterflies, bees, and other insects in late summer and early fall. 'Ruby Spice' grows to about 4 to 6 feet tall and almost as wide, making this shrub suitable for a bed or border, a woodland or shade garden, or a waterside planting. Its yellow fall color extends the season of interest.
‘Sixteen Candles’ summersweet is a newer cultivar of a popular native shrub. This compact selection reaches 3 to 5 feet tall. In summer, ‘Sixteen Candles’ is topped with aromatic, erect, butterfly-enticing white blooms for 4 to 6 weeks. In fall, the leaves turn an attractive yellow.
This vigorous deciduous shrub provides a long season of interest in the garden with its variegated leaves, attractive berries, pretty fall color, and red winter stems.
These showy shrubs have two distinct phases of garden interest. In winter, they display boldly colorful bark—red, yellow, or orange—on twiggy stems to make a striking scene. In spring, the stems lose their vivid color and produce bright green, gold, or variegated foliage that accents the garden through the fall. Twig and leaf color vary according to the cultivar.
A spreading subshrub, Cornus canadensis has whorls of leathery mid-green leaves that turn purple in the winter. Green and white, sometimes pink-flushed flowers emerge in late spring and early summer, followed by clusters of scarlet berries.
Alliums All Season Long
Deer resistant and dynamic, these bulbs provide color from the first showers of spring to the last leaves of fall
by Stephanie Cohen
Spectacular Spring Bloomers
These perennials are the light at the end of the long, wintry tunnel
by Dave Demers
Find out what all the buzz is about by planting these colorful perennials
by Sally Roth
Enchanting Japanese Maples
Two experts pick their favorites based on color, shape
by Francie Schroeder
How to Grow Trilliums
Plant the best species for your region in fall for a spectacular display in spring
by Gene E. Bush
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