When you cut blossoms to bring them inside, how can you display them off? I bet at least a few of the time you put them in a vase. And guess what? You can use that notion to shrubs in your garden too. Flowers — and leaves too — look ever so sophisticated in forms that are skinny at the bottom and billowing at the top.
Most are greatest with a bit of yearly training and pruning, particularly eliminating suckers that pop up in their feet, but the problem is well worth the return. Here are a number of vase-shaped shrubs, and it occurs that four are spring bloomers, so now’s the perfect time to be thinking in their place in your garden design.
Fountain butterfly bush (Buddleia alternifolia, zones 5 to 9) is a bigger cousin of the more familiar butterfly bushes. Unlike those, this blooms with a frothing fount of lavender in spring, therefore its title. Fountain butterfly bush blooms on last season’s wood, so prune it just right after it blossoms. This drought-resistant shrub likes sunshine and narrow soil, and its silvery leaves make it interesting during the growing season. Cultivar ‘Argentea’ is much more silver.
Photo by Cillas through Wikimedia Commons
Kerria (Kerria japonica, zones 4 to 9) is just another vase-shaped attractiveness that colonizes politely, so give it space to spread. In spring, it blossoms in tens of tens of thousands of gold daisies. This tree does best in part shade, even reasonably dry color, but average soil is nice. For all-season interest, look for variegated cultivar ‘Picta’.
Japanese aucuba (Aucuba japonica, zones 7 to 10) is a bulletproof evergreen with gorgeous gold-flecked foliage that can’t be overcome. A workhorse for shade, in which it positively glows, it’s good in tough spots near trees and inquires little maintenance. Protection from drying winds from the northern reaches of its range is greatest.
Another perk of vase-shaped shrubs? They’re beautiful from above. This is a venerable beauty (Kolkwitzia amabilis, zones 4 to 8) in my garden, as seen from a second-floor window. It blooms in spring with pink flowers that smell like bubble gum, after which it fades to the background, although its peeling old trunks at floor level are eye catching even in winter. Beauty bush is an easy drought-resistant shrub. It does best in sun to part sun but will take a bit of shade.
Elderberry cultivars are sensual, busty foliage plants grown mostly for their colorful foliage, like this one, branded as Black Mirror (Sambucus nigra ‘Eva’, zones 4 to 8). They bloom pink or white, which adds to the show. A lot of different species exist, for instance, native elderberry (Sambucus canadensis, zones 3 to 9), which produces edible fruit. All are hard and thrive in full sun to part shade and ordinary garden soil, though in my experience they like a bit of shade in the hottest part of the day.
Who could forget the throw orange? Really easy to grow, therefore freely, fragrantly blooming in spring, and several natives and their cultivars are more available to the trade all the time. (This is one, Philadelphus lewisii, zones 4 to 8.) Frequent threads among mock oranges, aside from the above: They grow in almost any old place in full sun to part shade, and their clean, crisp foliage is attractive even if they are not in bloom. Cultivars of various sizes also mean there’s a mock orange for any size garden, no matter how little.
Photo by A. Barra through Wikimedia Commons
More amazing design crops:
Red-Leafed Mukdenia | Blue Chalk Sticks| Hens-and-Chicks | Redtwig Dogwood |Toyon
Wonderful design trees:
Bald Cypress | Chinese Witch Hazel |Japanese Maple | Manzanita | Persian Ironwood
Smoke Tree | Texas Mountain Laurel |Tree Aloe
Great design blossoms:
Catmint | Golden Creeping Jenny | Pacific Coast Iris | Plumbago | Red Kangaroo Paw
Sally Holmes Rose | Slipper Plant |Snake Flower
Great design grasses:
Black Mondo Grass | Cape Rush |Feather Reed Grass | New Zealand Wind Grass