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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.
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.
This mound-forming shrub has white leaf margins and blue or pink lacecap inflorescences.
This species was formerly grouped with the Lacecap hydrangeas because of its flattened flowerheads that consist of central, small florets surrounded by showy, larger florets. It is similiar to H. macrophylla but is a more compact plant with smaller flowers and leaves.
'Henry's Garnet' Virginia sweetspire is a very dependable, showy plant. It is an arching, 3- to 5-foot-tall shrub that holds its leaves well into fall, allowing the maroon, yellow, and orange tones to develop and reveal themselves over time. Virginia sweetspire also produces an early-summer show, featuring slender, drooping racemes of white flowers that attract all sorts of pollinating insects. Its suckering, slowly spreading, 6-foot-wide habit makes it a good choice for slopes and mass plantings.
Like the popular 'Henry's Garnet' Virginia sweetspire, Little Henry® has mildly fragrant white blooms in summer and red to orange leaf color in fall, but grows to just 2 to 3 feet tall and 3 feet wide. Use it in massed plantings, mixed borders, and containers. -Allan Armitage, Plants to know and grow, Fine Gardening issue #121
A familiar native shrub, American elderberry is commonly seen along streambanks and roadsides and in moist woodlands and thickets throughout eastern North America. It has pinnate leaves with toothed leaflets and small white flowers borne in large flattened clusters in summer. Purple-black, round fruit comes next, attracting wildlife to the garden. Elderberries typically grow to about 12 feet high, but they tolerate pruning to a smaller size. Fruit is edible when cooked.
Don't Judge Peonies On Looks Alone
All three types offer something different, from shade tolerance to long bloom seasons
by Ann Stratton
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
Building Better Borders
Use plant combinations that focus on complementary colors, textures, and forms
Find out what all the buzz is about by planting these colorful perennials
by Sally Roth
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