Medium 9780253009067

Shrubs Large and Small: Natives and Ornamentals for Midwest Gardens

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This beautifully illustrated book on landscape gardening addresses shrubs and how to determine which you should plant among your perennials and where. Shrubs provide the foundation for a pleasing, yet low-maintenance garden. They are long-lived, have the ornamental appeal of perennials, and provide variety in color, size, shape, and texture, as well as shelter and berries for birds. Shrubs can make attractive arrangements indoors and provide seasonal variation through the entire year. Gillian Harris’s illustrations are botanically correct works of art that make this book absolutely irresistible.

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4 Chapters

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One: Shrubs Are Versatile

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No two gardens are the same.
No two days are the same in one garden.

—Hugh Johnson

Shrubs, and for that matter all plants, are characterized by their form, their texture, and their color. Form and color change with time and seasons, and while texture may become more apparent as a plant grows, its defining attributes are usually consistent. The weight or mass of shrubs in a landscape is always greater than that of herbaceous perennials and annuals, but less than that of trees. The outline or silhouette is related to the shrub’s form, but it will change with growth and also will be seen differently depending on the perspective from which it is viewed. The light conditions and the amount of obstruction presented by neighboring hardscape and buildings, as well as other plants, will also contribute to the way a shrub’s silhouette is perceived by a viewer. At different times of day shadows will also be cast by garden shrubbery, and every shrub will, of course, be seen differently in various seasons. In winter when there is snow cover, the silhouette of a deciduous shrub will be quite different from the one the shrub presents with its summer or fall foliage intact.

 

Two: Shrubs Attract Wildfile

ePub

Bees and blueberries must make their pollen
deal in May if robins and blueberries
are to make their seed deals in July.

—Sara Stein

Use plants to bring life.

—Douglas Wilson

Like trees, most shrubs are long-lived. However, they mature faster, and in four years or so after planting, they will flower and/or fruit well. When we increase the number and variety of shrubs we grow, our garden becomes more diverse and is better equipped to attract different types of birds, who depend on a diversity of habitats for food, nesting spots, and shelter. Shelter involves having a safe place in which to minimize the effects of excessive wind, sun, rain, snow, and hail. A garden also needs to provide hiding places that screen birds from their predators. For example, predators that pounce on their prey from above cannot see through dense evergreens.

Evergreens, especially dense ones such as yews and spruces and large-leaved rhododendrons, provide excellent cover for mammals and birds during heavy snows and downpours of rain. They also serve as protective roost sites for juncos and other birds in winter. In the summer, deciduous shrubs provide shade from the hot sun. Protection from strong winds is also provided by hedges and hedgerows, and mourning doves and other birds that roost at night in a flock often can be found sheltering in shrubs and trees that form windbreaks. Cardinals and mockingbirds like to nest in shrubs with branching that provides a secure site for their nests. In winter we can see and take note of the deciduous shrubs that birds nested in the previous spring and summer. Diversified planting encourages both migrants and breeding birds to frequent our gardens.

 

Three: Bringing Flowers Indoors

ePub

She has taught us that you should be as careful in
choosing a vase for a flower as a dress for yourself,
and she has widened the term “vase” to include
almost anything that is, in itself, beautiful
and capable of holding water.

—Beverly Nichols, foreword to Constance Spry,
How to Do the Flowers

One of the enduring pleasures of having a garden is that we can step out of the door of our house and there it is. The garden gives us a special place to go, a break from the routine, a refuge from anxiety, solace in times of sorrow, and a soothing balm for our stress. It is our creation and yet it nurtures us even more than we nurture it. When we create a garden we create something so personal that it truly is like a part of us. We may even be able to understand why someone once said, “I can imagine leaving my spouse, but I could never abandon my garden.”

No one else knows our garden the way we do. We know where to look for the first crocus each spring. We remember the provenance of our plants, who gave them to us or where we bought them, and the day we planted them. When we can’t sleep we let our mind drift around the garden and visualize what will bloom next, in our mind’s eye. Oh, what lovely gardens we create in our dreams.

 

Appendixes

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Shrubs that bear their flowers on new growth (commonly referred to as new wood) in spring or summer can be cut down in late fall, winter, or very early spring. Since the new buds do not occur on the old branches, pruning before any new growth has begun will not affect the new season’s bloom. Note that hydrangeas used to all bloom on old wood that wintered over from the previous year. Nowadays, there are new varieties that bloom on new wood as well as old wood. For that reason, gardeners need to ascertain the bloom pattern of hydrangeas by researching carefully before taking up the pruning shears.

 

 

BLOOM ON NEW GROWTH

Abelia

Hypericum

Rosa spp.

Barberry (Berberis)

Indigofera

Willow (Salix)

Butterfly bush (Buddleia)

Kerria

Meadowsweet (Spiraea)

Beautyberry (Callicarpa)

Crape myrtle (Lagerstroemia)

 

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