Need a shrub for perennial flower bed

tjsangel(z5 OH)April 24, 2007

Hi everyone,

What an awesome spring we are having. My plants are growing like weeds!

Ok, I have a flower bed that's around 4 feet deep and quite long. I have many perennials and self seeding annuals here, with a few groundcovers. Where I want to put a small (maybe evergreen, doesnt have to be) shrub is well drained & sunny in the afternoon. I have Liatris, lilies, Baptisia and an ornamental grass in this bed etc. What are your suggestions? Something 3 feet wide would probably be the max. One possibility is maybe a Potentilla? Thank you!


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lemecdutex(z15 CA Petaluma)

Jen, that would be a good possibility, but what about an old-fashioned rose (not one of the moderns), like one of the scotch roses (perhaps Stanwell Perpetual), it's very fragrant, totally hardy, and blooms over and over. Other good choices might be philadelphus or some forms of Spirea.


    Bookmark   April 24, 2007 at 8:34PM
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donnabaskets(Zone 8a, Central MS)

I love roses in perennial beds too. The ones I grow are: Nearly Wild (pink), White Pet, Nagadoches (yellow), Carefree Sunshine (yellow). They are all continuous bloomers, require absolutely no spraying, etc. and top out at 3 feet, except Nagadoches which is a wee bit larger.

I also love spireas: The one called Ogon is particularly wonderful. It is chartreusey yellow and the blooms are white in early spring. Check your hardiness zones, but I would think it would do well.

Also Berberis are fabulous in flowerbeds: a dark purple or the golden Aurea are terrific. (They are scratchy, but no worse than roses)

And of course, there are hydrangeas. The new Endless Summer will take almost all day long full sun even here in Mississippi. It would be hard to beat it, if it's hardy in your zone.

    Bookmark   April 24, 2007 at 9:33PM
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christinmk z5b eastern WA

Hi! I agree that spireas (particularly the golden ones) and Berberis would be great. Theres even a new gold colored Berberis out thats really pritty, its called "Pow Wow". I also think that Caryopteris (Bluebeard)and Euonymus (which is green year round) would work. If you wanted something tall and narrow Berberis "Helmond's Pillar" and Ilex "Sky Pencil" would work. Hope this helps you!

    Bookmark   April 24, 2007 at 9:47PM
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pitimpinai(z6 Chicago)

I have Hydrangea arborscens 'Annabelle', Barberis 'Royal Burgundy', 'Bonanza Gold', 'Rose Glow', 'Helmond Pillar', Spirea 'Gold Mound', Yucca filamentosa', 'Caryopteris 'Worcester Gold, 'First Choice' , Forthegilla, and 'Miscanthus sinensis 'Yaku Jima' & 'Morning Light' in my perennial beds.

I also have a few miniature conifers in the beds as well. My Cornus alba 'Ivory Halo' is quite compact too. Very pretty year round.

    Bookmark   April 24, 2007 at 10:21PM
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you want to think of what time of flowering you want your shrub to be, how many seasons of interest you want to capture
and whether it should be evegreen or deciduos shrub.
What time of year your other plants are in bloom/ good show and whether you want your shrub to add to it or fill in the time when everything else looks drab?
Next you want to consider colors of leaves, shape of leaves, colors of flowers, berries and size of whole plant.
Roses are good plants but they carry no shape during off season and many will need extra protection in your zone.
Hydrangeas are great but even Endless Summer will not do good job if the placement too windy and unprotected in your zone.
You might also consider a shrubby perennial like persicaria polymorpha- beautiful show stopper and less common.
Out of my latest aquisitions in my garden best favorites were spirea Yellow Mellow- beautiful unusual small yellow leaves which turn to orange burgundy in the fall and flower in the spring, forthynthia Fireworks- yellow flowers in the spring and variegated foliage stunning red stems, viburnum Cardinal Candy- flowers late spring, berries late summer and foliage turning stunning red- purple in the fall. Hydrangea quercifolia pee gee has good stature, leaf shape, mid late summer flower with changing color and great fall leaves coloration. Hydrangea Paniculata little lamb is mid summer huge white clouds of flowers.
Clethra Rosea and ruby spice has beautiful flowers and fragrance- also looks like dead sticks for quite a while early spring.
Of course, Japanese maples have amazing presence and elegance and there are so many to choose from.

    Bookmark   April 24, 2007 at 10:49PM
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tess_5b(z5b S.Ont.)

I have a number of shrubs and roses in a long border:
- golden Ninebark (probably too big for you)
- Spireas - Goldflame, Anthony Waterer, Neon, Snowmound
- golden Mock Orange (might get to big as well)
- roses: Teasing Georgia, A Shropshire Lad, Graham Thomas and Heritage (I have Winchester Cathedral and The Pilgrim in another bed)
- butterfly bushes: Pink Delight, Royal Red, Nanho Purple

I love having the shrubs, butterfly bushes and roses in the big beds as they add some structure - I don't prune anything back til March so as to have some winter interest. I'm planning on adding some evergreen (conifer) small rounded shrubs to a front bed this year, still choosing which ones though.


    Bookmark   April 25, 2007 at 8:42AM
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My votes for your relatively narrow space would go toward Helmond's Pillar barberry and/or Mango Tango potentilla, which stays petite without pruning. For evergreen color, perhaps a pyramidal yew which takes well to pruning back if it begins to outgrow its space.

I like spireas as well, but they're so quick to reseed if you're not out there deadheading regularly... with your reseeding annuals, you may not want to deal with baby spireas.

    Bookmark   April 25, 2007 at 9:07AM
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stevation(z5a Utah)

My Anthony Waterer spireas don't reseed at all. These are a Spirea bumalda hybrid, so perhaps they're sterile. I know there are lots of different kinds of spireas, with different shapes (I used to have Bridal Wreath Spirea at a former home, and it's a totally different kind of plant). Anyway, don't discount the whole family if you're worried about invasiveness -- find out which ones are vigorous reseeders first.

    Bookmark   April 25, 2007 at 2:31PM
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tjsangel(z5 OH)

Thank you so much everyone! I have so many shrubs to choose from. This will be tough. I forgot to mention I have a rose bush right next to where this will go. I'm trying to pick lower maintenance shrubs other than the roses I already have. I like so many of these plants! Thanks again,


    Bookmark   April 25, 2007 at 5:28PM
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lynbornman are in my zone and I hate to ask a stupid and completely unrelated question, but what are your reseeding annuals? To be honest I didn't even know such a thing existed.

    Bookmark   April 25, 2007 at 5:56PM
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leslies(z7 No VA)

Everyone should have at least one leptodermis oblongata. This has got to be one of the sweetest, longest flowering shrubs ever. It's small though, reaching only about 2'.

Kerria (variegated or not) is also lovely and I really like my variegated caryopteris. Blooms (pale blue) are nothing special, but the leaves are eye-catching all summer.

    Bookmark   April 26, 2007 at 2:42PM
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tjsangel(z5 OH)


The reseeding annuals I have are Allysum-spreads like crazy but I like it for that fact!-Cosmos & Dianthus. The dianthus never dies back all the way and lasts a few years. Leslies, I havent heard of these shrubs, will have to look into them. Thanks!


    Bookmark   April 26, 2007 at 4:47PM
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leslies(z7 No VA)

Jen, Bluesstone carries leptodermis and several kerrias. I found the variegated caryopteris at a local plant shop last summer. It didn't even have a cultivar name - the tag just said "variegated caryopteris." Helpful!

    Bookmark   April 27, 2007 at 10:24AM
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debgrow(Z5 Chicago)

I have lilies, baptisia, and liatris in my garden, too, and I have two weigela that I really like - they're not too dense, easy to prune, they have a lovely shape, and they get the prettiest shade of deep red/purple in the fall. I replaced two Little Princess Spireas that died after a harsh winter a few years ago, and I like the Weigela even better!

    Bookmark   April 27, 2007 at 11:07AM
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I have 'worcester gold' caryopteris in my perennial border. The leaves are chartreuse and late season bright blue flowers.

Another one that seems to work with perennials is Deutzia gracilis 'Nikko'. It is a dwarf deutzia. It is low (a foot?) and spreading, but easy to keep to a desired size. small abundant white flowers in spring.

    Bookmark   April 27, 2007 at 9:24PM
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