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May 23, 2014

Add color, curb appeal with flowering shrubs

MOULTRIE — “Perfumes are the feelings of flowers, and as the human heart, imagining itself alone and unwatched, feels most deeply in the night-time, so seems it as if the flowers, in musing modesty, await the mantling eventide ere they give themselves up wholly to feeling, and breathe forth their sweetest odours. Flow forth, ye perfumes of my heart, and seek beyond these mountains the dear one of my dreams!” Heinrich Heine, "The Hartz Journey" (1824), Pictures of Travel, translated from German by Charles Godfrey Leland, 1855.

Summer blooming shrubs have an influence on color and curb appeal in our landscapes. Choosing the right plant and placing it in the right place are most critical in the survival and success process. Make your selections based upon the cultural and microenvironment requirements of the plants, as well as personal choices. The following summer flowering shrubs offer curb appeal and desirable color in our landscapes.

Bluebeard Shrub (Caryopteris spp.) exhibits clusters of attractive blue blooms in late summer and is heat and drought tolerant. Often called blue mist spirea, bluebeard is not a true spirea. This low maintenance shrub attracts birds, butterflies, and bees. Reaching a height of 4-feet, it prefers full sun and well-drained soils. ‘Longwood Blue’ is a cultivar whose leaves smell of mint.

Butterfly Bush (Buddleia davidii) is a summer to fall flowering shrub offering fragrant blooms of purple, lavender, blue, pink, and white colors.  Reaching a height of 10-feet, it prefers full sun and well-drained soils. Common cultivars greater than 6-feet tall are ‘Attraction’, ‘Bicolor’, ‘Black Knight’, ‘Dartmoor’, ‘Guinevere’, ‘Honeycomb’, and ‘Lochinch’. Cultivars shorter than 6-feet include ‘Ellen’s Blue’, ‘Nanho Blue’, ‘Summer Beauty’, and ‘White Ball’.

Carolina Allspice (Calycanthus floridus) brings attractive deep red flowers with a spicy fragrance to the landscape garden in the summer. Reaching a height of 8-feet, this low maintenance plant prefers full sun to partial shade and well-drained soils.

Oleander (Nerium oleander) is a low maintenance, subtropical shrub in colors of pink, red, purple, lilac, yellow, and white which stand out against its green foliage for summer enjoyment. A test of its tolerance levels can be seen as you observe it growing along roadsides with little to no maintenance. Reaching a height of 10-feet, oleander prefers full sun and well-drained soils. However, do keep in mind that oleander is extremely poisonous, so exercise care in where you place it.

Reblooming Hydrangea (Hydrangea macrophylla) is a hydrangea that produces flowers on current season’s growth throughout the summer. ‘Endless Summer’ is an awesome cultivar. Reaching a height of 5-feet, it prefers part shade and moist, well-drained soils.

Rock Rose (Cistus spp.) produces attractive rose-like flowers (pink, purple, lavender, and white) throughout the summer months. The rock rose is drought tolerant and easy to grow. Reaching a height of 5-feet, it prefers full sun and well-drained soils.

Rose of Sharon (Hibiscus syriacus) was one of my mom’s most favorite plants. It provides color throughout the summer and into the fall with its tropical-looking blooms in pink, lavender-blue, and white. ‘Minerva’ is a sterile variety and does not produce the excessive seedlings (which can become weedy) so characteristic of the regular varieties. Reaching a height of 10-feet, it prefers full sun and well-drained soils.

Shrub Rose (Rosa spp.) exhibits attractive blooms (yellow, pink, red and white) all summer and into the fall on vegetative stock that is disease tolerant. Shrub roses take the best qualities of the hardiest rose species, and combine those traits with modern repeat blooming and diverse flower forms, colors and fragrances. Some shrub roses may grow tall while others stay compact. Recent rose breeding has focused on developing hardier shrub roses for landscaping that need little to no maintenance. These plants have thorns so plant them away from traffic flow situations for people safety reasons. Reaching a height of 6-feet, the shrub rose prefers full sun and well-drained soils, and attracts birds. Cultivars such as ‘Ballerina’, ‘Blanc Double de Coubert’, ‘Bonica’, ‘Carefree Beauty’, ‘Carefree Wonder’, ‘DayDream’, ‘Hansa’, ‘Home Run’, John Cabot’, ‘Knock Out’, ‘Little Mischief’, ‘Pinktopia’, ‘Snowdrift’, ‘Sunrise’, ‘Super Hero’, and ‘William Rafin’ are great choices.

Spirea (Spiraea japonica) is a low maintenance shrub that is grown in so many different settings with minimal effort. From home landscapes and commercial properties to public plantings and streetsides, the spirea grows quite well and offers clusters of raspberry-rose flowers for our personal enjoyment. ‘Goldmound’ is a cultivar exhibiting golden or lime-green foliage. Reaching a height of 4-feet, it prefers full sun and well-drained soils.

Summersweet (Clethra alnifolia) offers fragrant flowers (pink and white) throughout the summer and golden leaf color in the fall. ‘Ruby Spice’ is a cultivar offering a longer blooming season. Reaching a height of 5-feet, it prefers part to full shade and moist, well-drained soils. There are several cultivars of summersweet clethra that are available at garden centers and through mail order catalogs. These cultivars are different from the wild form (white and tall) by either being more compact and floriferous (making more flowers) or by having pink buds and flowers. Cultivars include ‘Ruby Spice’ and ‘Pink Spires’as regular sized, and ‘Hummingbird’ and ‘Sixteen Candles’ in dwarf form.

As you continue your plantscaping this spring and commit to this cost and effort, please also commit to providing the necessary care to keep your plants healthy and attractive. Continue to think in terms of native and sustainable plants in the landscape as their supplemental needs (things you must do) will be much less than any of the exotic plants. And, as always, remember to feed and water the birds!

Many thanks to all who read this column which is an effort to provide each reader with timely and useful information which is a small contribution on my part in “paying it forward” to my readers. We are planning a mission trip to the Amazon Jungle in Peru this summer and accepting donations to assist in its funding. If you would like to donate to this cause, please make a check payable to Heritage Church and mail to Eddie Seagle, Peru Mission Team, 108 Tallokas Circle, Moultrie, GA 31788. We thank you and would appreciate your prayers for a safe journey for our team.

“The Lord your God is with you, he is mighty to save. He will take great delight in you, he will quiet you with his love, he will rejoice over you with singing.” Zephaniah 3:17.

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