Spring is my favorite time of year! Not only does it signal the end of a cold winter (especially in the Northeast!) but Springtime brings flowers!
Gardening and working in the yard brings me such pleasure! It is such a rewarding pastime because you can see the fruits of your labor grow every year. And, it’s great exercise!
Perennials shrubs and flowers are the best way to go in my opinion. Plant them once and they come back bigger and better every year with very little effort. As I am thinking about how much I love this time of year, I started compiling a list of my favorite shrubs and flowers. I have a mix of my favorites at both houses, but one day when we find our forever home, I want all of these in one place! So, here is a list of my top 5 favorite shrubs.
Hands down this is my favorite plant/shrub! My Grandmother called them 100 year plants because if they like their location, they can bloom that long, so they are very worth the original investment. Peonies can be finicky the first year or so after they are planted and may not bloom. But after a few years they will reward you with abundant and fragrant flowers year after year. Mine are on the side of our house, so as soon as they bloom, I cut bunches of them and bring them inside where I can enjoy them. We have a lot of wind in Pennsylvania and the stalks get tall and leggy, so I like to use stakes on mine. As soon as they start growing I put the cage over the top and train the stalks through the openings. This keeps them from drooping on the ground. My only complaint is that they don’t bloom long enough, but oh when they are here they are gorgeous!
My second favorite is azaleas. Pink is my favorite color so naturally it is my favorite flower color as well. We have a few azaleas at our PA house, but the ones at the lake are the best. The azaleas at the lake are so big and showy. Probably because they are so old. I’m guessing these are well over 40 years old. Most of them are different shades of pink, but there are a few red and white ones that are also pretty, but like I said, I like the pink! When we first bought the lake house, the entire yard was engulfed by ivy and weeds. We had to trim everything back and I can’t tell you how much round up we went through getting rid of the ivy that was winding its way in every shrub and tree! My husband trimmed back the leggy azaleas just last week. This fall we will fertilize them with Hollytone and next Spring they will be show stoppers once again! The original owner, Mr. E and his wife must have loved pink too. I wish we could thank them for this charming place and the beautiful yard! As soon as they start blooming, I cut them and bring them inside. Lovely!
3-Ligustrum (also called Privet)
This is my newest favorite! We have 2 at the lake and I discovered this year what fragrant blooms they have. The leaves are a deep waxy green and have a pretty shape. They come in about 50 different varieties, some being deciduous and some evergreen. One of ours is a shrub and one is a tree. The blooms on mine are tiny and white and are in little clusters like grapes. I cut several bunches and brought them inside. I put some in the kitchen, entry way and out on the deck so we could enjoy the wonderful scent. The bees love them too! Although I have just one on each side of the house, I’ve heard they make great privacy hedges (hence privet I guess). I think mine must be the deciduous variety. I will definitely plant more of these!
This shrub is probably one of everyone’s favorites because of its beauty and old fashioned charm. I love anything that I can cut and bring inside and the mop head flowers are so beautiful! They prefer full morning sun and afternoon shade for optimal health. Hydrangeas come in many colors but probably the most popular are the blue and pink. Also the color of the blooms can change based on the PH level of the soil. Acidic soil with a lower PH will produce blue flowers (there is a product specifically for this called Hydra Blue or Soil Acidifier by Espoma) and a PH higher than 5.5 will produce pink flowers. I love both! And these beauties bloom spring through summer so they are long lasting and gratifying!
Camelias are such beautiful flowers! I love that in the South at least, ours blooms twice a year. Once in late winter and again in the summer. Ours is red and is probably 25 feet tall! The blooms almost look like roses. It must have been planted around the same time as the azaleas so no telling how old they are. But, they are huge, beautiful and very showy! When we bought the lake house the camellias were blooming in February! We felt like it was a good omen. I’ve read their leaves can be used for tea and the seeds for oil. Interesting! Beautiful and medicinal! I also read there are well over 100 different species and I’m not sure what mine is but I love it!
I really have more than 5 favorites. I also love lilacs, shrub roses, weigela, rhododendron, and forsythia. I hope our future home has a BIG yard. Too many favorites, not enough time! Happy Gardening!