Shrubs are the backbone of the home landscape. Once established, they require only a small amount of care. In return they serve as a backdrop for your other plants, enhance the value and enjoyment of your home, and provide cover and food for wildlife. Following are some choices that are easy to grow, and should be easy to find at your local nursery or home center.
Barberry ‘Crimson Pygmy’ (Berberis thunbergii var atropurpurea ‘Crimson Pygmy’)
The Crimson Pygmy Barberry is popular for good reason. In the summer the old growth is a nice medium green and the new growth is red. In the fall the whole plant turns a deep crimson. With winter the leaves drop to reveal bright red berries and thorny reddish brown stems. The Crimson Pygmy grows about 2′ tall and 3′ wide. This plant is drought resistant. I have two of these in my yard and haven’t had to water or fertilize them after the first year they were planted. All they require is an occasional trimming.
Barberry ‘Rose Glow’ (Berberis thunbergii var atropurpurea ‘Rose Glow’)
The leaves on the Rose Glow are purple with the new growth being a rose color. This barberry grows
5′ to 6′ tall and would make a good hedge plant. It shares the Crimson Pygmy’s drought tolerance. Barberries have thorns so a pair of leather gloves is handy when working with them.
Boxwood ‘Green Mountain’ (Buxus Microphylla var koreana x B.sempervirens ‘Green Mountain’)
While boxwoods are evergreen, cold winter winds can cause their leaves to yellow. This is not the case with Green Mountain. It is a hybrid whose leaves stay green all winter. Green Mountain is also unusual among boxwoods in that it grows taller than it does wide. At 5′ tall and 3′ wide it makes a good hedge or specimen plant. Boxwood’s have roots near the surface so it’s good to keep them well mulched. Also it doesn’t hurt to give them some water during summer dry periods.
Boxwood ‘Green velvet’ (Buxus Microphylla var koreana x B.sempervirens ‘Green Velvet’)
Green Velvet is similar to Green Mountain except it grows to 3′ by 3′. I have one of these in my yard and after a particularly cold winter it’s foliage retained it’s green color. Most boxwoods require little if any pruning.
A few tips:
1) When planting, dig the hole at least twice the size of the container that the shrub came in.
2) If you have heavy clay soil mix in some compost or bagged topsoil.
3) Plants need to be watered on a regular basis during their first growing season.
4)Keep the shrub’s mature size in mind while planting, but also remember that most shrubs can pruned to the size you want.