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Regional Picks: Spring Color—Midwest

Fine Gardening - Issue 192

1. Japanese kerria

Japanese Kerria

Kerria japonica and cvs.

Zones: 4–9

Size: 5 feet tall and 6 feet wide

Conditions: Full sun to full shade; moist, well-drained, slightly acidic soil

Native range: Japan and China

Few shrubs are dependable no matter the sunlight conditions, but Japanese kerria works well on all sides of a house, even under tall trees. This is one of my go-to plants in partial shade, where it grows best. It is a tough, dependable bloomer with abundant golden yellow spring flowers that will sometimes rebloom. Deer don’t like it, and it attracts butterflies and hummingbirds. It blooms on old and new wood and has bright green stems in winter. Use it as a specimen, a natural hedge, a screen, or in woodland borders. ‘Golden Guinea’ and ‘Pleniflora’ (pictured) are the best available cultivars.

 

2. Variegated Dalmatian iris

Variegated Dalmatian Iris

Iris pallida ‘Variegata’

Zones: 4–9

Size: 2 to 3 feet tall and 1½ to 2 feet wide

Conditions: Full…

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