Dress up landscaping with spring flowering shrubs | Life

Add a pop of color to the start of the gardening season with spring flowering shrubs. Small or large, these beauties add color, support pollinators and attract birds to the landscape.

Make room in mixed borders and gardens for these spring bloomers. Use strains with slightly different flowering times for consistent color throughout spring. Complement these with spring-flowering shrubs and bulbs. Once the shrubs have finished flowering, add some lovely green to the edge.

Plant some compact varieties in containers to add color to patios and decks. Add seasonal colors with annuals, pansies, or other cool, weather-resistant flowers for spring and fall. Replace these with petunias, lantana, or other suitable heat-resistant flowers for the summer.

Forsythia and lilac are traditional spring favorites. Forsythias bright yellow flowers signal spring for many. The eye-catching flowers have a light fragrance and the plants are basically free from pests. Choose varieties that have flower buds that can withstand the cold winter temperatures so that flowers bloom from the tip of the stem to the ground.

Lilac-scented flowers can create wonderful childhood memories. Choose the preferred white, pink, or purple color and varieties that, when ripe, will suit the growing location. These will lighten each point later in the spring.

Look for other easy-care, spring-flowering shrubs to add to the landscape. Viburnum’s spring blooms are sure to provide plenty of enjoyment, not to mention the attractive foliage, autumn color and fruits that attract birds. Use them to create an attractive screen, hedge, or mixed border. Several varieties of viburnum, such as Korean Spice and Doublefile, make great specimens or impressive small groupings in the landscape.

Brighten up those shady spots with azaleas. These spring bloomers thrive with afternoon or mottled shade. Grow them in moist, rich, and acidic soils in a sheltered location for best results. Make sure you have a good view to enjoy the flowers and hummingbirds that they attract.

Light up the spring garden with Garden Glow Dogwood. The light foliage of the Chartreuse turns burgundy red in autumn. The white flowers give way to blue fruits and the red stems are a welcome sight in winter.

Other dogwoods, like red twigs and gray dogwoods, are native shrubs with flowers that aid pollinators and fruits that feed the birds.

Fothergilla’s fragrant white spring flowers are a favorite of hummingbirds. This beauty ends her season with a colorful mix of yellow, orange and scarlet fall colors, often on the same leaf.

Add an evergreen backdrop of boxwood, arborvitae, and juniper to show off these spring beauties. The spring blooms, the fall color and the winter interest shine when they stand in front of the green.

Now take a walk in the countryside to identify places that would benefit from a spring color. Choose the right plants that suit the growing conditions and complement the garden design. Then plant and enjoy these colorful additions for years to come.

Melinda Myers has written more than 20 gardening books, including The Midwest Gardener’s Handbook and Small Space Gardening. She hosts the DVD series “How to Grow Anything” from The Great Courses and the nationally syndicated television and radio program Melindas Garden Moment. Myers is a columnist and editor for Birds & Blooms magazine. Their website is www.melindamyers.com.

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