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Shrubs for Winter Color

Moosewood or Striped maple (Acer pensylvanicum Erythrocladum) is a slow growing shrub, but it worth having it in your garden because of its young shrimp-pink shoots that appear after autumn fallen leaves, and which mature orange-red with typical snakebark white stripes. Plant them in a moist, fertile soil, in full sun or partial shade. Apply a shrub fertilizer every spring and mulch annually.

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Wintersweet (Chimonanthus praecox) takes around five years to establish and start flowering but worth waiting. Each winter it will bloom to show you its small, waxy blooms, deep yellow, pendent flowers, marked with maroon inside, with a sweet, spicy fragrance. Grown them on a warm place near a sheltered wall in full sun, where low winter sunrays can illuminate the blooms.

Dogwood (Cornus sanguinea Midwinter Fire) is a shrub with superb stem colors over the winter. Glowing orange-yellow stem bases become suffused with reddish-pink towards the tips. Every spring prune all the stems right down to within a bud or two of the older wood at the base. Plant them in a place with full sun for best winter stem color.

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Darley Dale heath (Erica x darleyensis Silberschmelze) is a winter-flowering shrub that opens its white flowers in late autumn and blooms until spring. They will grow in almost any soil as long as is well-drained. Grow them in a place with full sun. Shear off spent flowers in early spring to encourage compact growth.

Witch hazel (Hamamelis x intermedia Diane) is a winter flowering shrub that brighten up the garden during late winter with its spidery, sweetly fragrant, red flowers and bright red and orange autumn tints. Plant them in a moist, well-drained, neutral to acid soil, in a place in full sun or partial shade.

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Winter honeysuckle (Lonicera x purpusii Winter Beauty) is grown for its pale, sweetly flagrant flowers borne in winter and early spring. Grow well in most soils, in a place with full sun or partial shade. They only need an occasional thinning after flowering.

Rhododendron (Rhododendron Olive) is an early-flowering rhododendron, which opens its trusses of purple-pink flowers in late winter. Plant them in moist, well-drained, acid soil, in a place away from cold winds and early morning sun. Protect their blooms against frost and dead-head straight after flowering. Mulch them with leafmold.

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Christmas box (Sarcococca hookeriana var. digyna) is a ground cover, evergreen shrub that comes alive in winter with clusters of small, flagrant, white flowers. The sweet scent is carried on the air, so plant them along well-used paths or near doorways to enjoy the benefit of its fragrance.

Viburnum (Viburnum x bodnantense Dawn) is grown for its clusters of pink buds opening to sweetly scented, paler pink tubular flowers, which appear from early winter to early spring. Occasionally thin out the older stems after flowering to prevent the shrub to become too tall and woody.

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Shrubs for Spring Color

We all wait spring, the season that start to bring color in our gardens, so it makes sense to plant for an early show of color and perfume. Place shrubs for spring interest at intervals around your garden, underplanted with groups of bulbs and spring-flowering herbaceous perennials.

In the next lines you will find some examples of shrubs that you could plant in your garden for spring color and interest. Many of them are well known and used for a long time in our garden scheme.

Stachyurus (Stachyurus praecox) is a deciduous shrub native from Japan. Its reddish-brown branches are strung with hanging racemes of small, greenish-yellow, bell-shaped flowers, like exotic catkins, in late winter to early spring. It prefers an acid, humus-rich soil, enriched with leafmould or well-rotted compost before planting.

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