There is no doubt that spring blooming shrubs make any garden look spectacular. After a long and dreary, gray winter, the pastel blooms of spring are a welcome site for sure! When spring fades into summer, so often times do the blooms of shrubs fade along with it and then we have only green. Sometimes after the spring blooms of shrubs disappear we're dependent upon only our perennials. This can be particularly disheartening when it's too chilly to spend any real time outdoors and enjoy the beauty and fragrance of your spring blooming shrubs.
Don't despair, there are a number of summer blooming shrubs that can fill your garden with colorful blooms!
Hydrangeas. These shrubs are long time garden classic and for good reason. Their large blooms add color to any garden. There are a number of varieties such as your typical mophead hydrangea, hydrangea macroophylla. If you're looking for an easy care variety, try the Endless Summer collection.
http://www.endlesssummerblooms.com/the-collection. These hydrangeas bloom on old and new wood so it takes the guesswork out of pruning. Pictured below is another variety of hydrangea called a panicle hydrangea.
Bluebeard shrub is a delight in the summer garden. My particular favorite is 'Lil Miss Sunshine'. This selection has bright sunny foliage. Getting only 2-3 feet tall and just as wide, it's good for that spot that's too big for a perennial, but not big enough for a large shrub. This shrub blooms on new wood and is great in the garden or even in a container. It's a drought-resistant, easy to grow, gotta have it kind of shrub.
Ninebark. This shrub comes in a few varieties. 'Diablo' has deep burgundy foliage which makes it a standout in the garden. Profuse creamy-white flowers in summer and great textured bark during the winter. 'Coppertina' has copper-flushed spring foliage which turns a rich red in summer. This variety has soft pink colored flowers that line the arching branches throughout the summer. The show doesn't end there. 'Coppertina' has bright red seed capsules in fall and attractive peeling bark during the winter.
Spirea is a very versatile shrub. It's a beautiful, easy to grow shrub that comes in all sizes and varieties to fit your needs. 'Goldmound' is covered with raspberry-rose flowers all summer and offers attractive golden colored foliage throughout the season as well. Some spirea varieties have deeper red flowers while yet others offer up a mauvy-pink. There are those with variegated foliage, straight green foliage, golden foliage or a smoky blue foliage.
Summersweet is an excellent choice, especially for shady spots. It has pink or white flowers depending on the variety you select and both varieties have wonderfully fragrant flowers. This shrub is an upright variety that gets to be about 5-6 feet tall and about 4 feet wide.
'Sugar Shack' Buttonbush. This is a very underused shrub in my personal opinion. Smaller than it's cousin native buttonbush, it fits nicely into any landscape at 4 feet tall and wide. Glossy green foliage throughout the season. Fragrant, fiber-optic looking white flowers give way to red fruit in the fall. This shrub commands attention.
Butterfly Bush. Ok, what garden is really complete without a butterfly bush? It's kind of like a summer blooming lilac. With blooms in colors of purple, pink, white, lavender and blue this shrub is aptly named because it truly is a butterfly magnet. There is the 'Summer Skies' with it's green and yellow variegated foliage. The typical butterfly bush can get quite large, topping out at over 8 feet. The plant breeders have realized not everybody has the space for that size of a shrub. For that reason, they developed what I call the “Chip Collection”, which has smaller varieties that range in size from 2-3 feet in height and width. One size may not fit all, but one shrub in different sizes should do the job! Any shrub that has all these characteristics is one that should definitely get consideration in your garden. Just look at the beautiful yellow swallowtail in this picture!
Carolina Allspice. Another underused gem. Deep red or creamy-white flowers in the summer, depending on the variety you pick, these flowers have a deep, spicy fragrance you can enjoy. It's native to North America so this shrub is tough as nails. It gets to be about 8 feet tall and is a great selection for its intoxicating fragrance.
Mockorange. This shrub is loaded with clusters of creamy-white flowers all summer long. Deliciously fragrant flowers persist for weeks. Some varieties such as 'Snow White Sensation' has double blooms. Growing about 6 feet tall and wide, there are smaller varieties if this doesn't fit your landscape. Hummingbirds and butterflies love this shrub so that's an added bonus for your landscape.
Roses seem to strike fear in the heart of many gardeners. My favorite roses are the Floribunda Rose. They require a little more care than some others, but there are so many varieties out there that are very easy to grow. Most everyone has heard of Knock Out Roses. They have fragrant, long-lived blooms and are easy to grow. Another easy variety of rose to grow is the Oso Easy series from proven winners. These guys are tough as nails. They are drought and disease resistant. For more information on this series open this link to Proven Winners. https://www.provenwinners.com/learn/care/easy-way-grow-roses