Thursday, September 9, 2010


VIBURNUMS, FLOWERING ALMONDS  and FORSYTHIAS are shrubs or small trees that produce multi season interest to your gardens.  They are very undemanding, and some can have not only beautiful flowers in the spring, but colorful berries that birds love in fall and winter, and also bright foliage in the fall.  Forsythias are a sure sign of spring--their small, yellow, four-petaled flowers are abundant in spring, even before their leaves emerge.  All are hardy, and like full sun, and hummus rich soil, but will all tolerate light shade and average soil.  The ones I have all flower early, and so if they need pruning, they need to be done as soon as they flower in the spring, since they flower on old wood.  Be careful, however, in their pruning--be careful not to destroy their beautiful shape--their natural shape with arching branches is the most pleasing. They can be planted in spring or fall, and grow to be around 6-10 feet high and wide.  My Sargentii Viburnum has a 4-season interest, with showy red fruit in the fall that birds love, and bronze-purple foliage in the early spring, followed by yellow to red foliage in the fall. Its flat, white-topped clusters in spring have a center of small red/pink buds that pop as the season progresses.  People are always asking about this beautiful small tree because it is so showy.  The snowball viburnum has large, 5" across, snowball-type, sterile blooms that resemble hydrangeas.  When in bloom, they can be spectacular!  Flowering Almonds have abundant, wonderful pink blooms completely covering their  branches before the leaves appear, like the forsythia.  They are long-lived and pest free, adding a beautiful color in your early spring beds.  Just a simple cleaning up of the branches is all they need to keep looking nice and vigorous.  Lilacs have always been one of North America's popular plants.  Their very fragrant blooms appear in late spring to early summer, and can have either single or double blooms, in shades of pink, purple, magenta, violet, lavender-blue and white.  I even have a new yellow one called Primrose, that hasn't bloomed yet.  My very favorite is the white BEAUTY OF MOSCOW.  It's buds are a faint lavender-pink and it has white, big, double blooms! Lilacs can grow to be very big, but if you have limited space like me, choose varieties that don't grow as big, or you can continue to prune them to the size you want.  One drawback, if any, is that they don't have good fall color, but their showy, fragrant blooms in spring make up for that.  They are wonderful in flower arrangements--cut them when about half the flowers are open, and then slice up through the stem, or crush the stem with a sledge hammer.  Let them sit in  a deep bucket of  hot water over night before arranging for best results.  To rejuvenate your lilacs, remove 2 or 3 of the oldest branches each year, cutting them to the ground, and then  lettering the same amount of new ones grow, taking their place.  All lilacs get  lilac bore, and so to keep your plant as healthy as possible and steadily flowering, follow this procedure for successful and vigorous plants.  Avoid planting grafted plants, bare root plants will, in the long-run, have less suckers, which can outgrow the grafted plant and soon become over crowded and will not bloom well, spreading into  broad, unmanageable clumps.  Lilacs can get powdery mildew, so choose a site that has good air circulation.   So if you are looking for easy care shrubs or small trees, Lilacs, Viburnums and Forsythias are adaptable, easy-to-grow, and very showy in their season that I highly recommend.
Susanne Holland Spicker Mother, Grandmother, Homemaker, Gardener, Teacher, Photographer

Passion is defined as the love of, or the object(s) of affection and emotion. I am passionate about family, friends, flowers, food, photography and fabulous music! This blog is dedicated to those loves.

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