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Shrub Source Blog

  • Loving Lilacs

    Are there any spring-blooming shrubs with as much tradition, as many memories attached as the fragrant-flowered lilac? When you drive through the country, you can see lilac shrubs blooming around tumbled down old porch steps. You'll sometimes see lilacs standing at either side of old cemetery gates. But the lilacs we have at Shrub Source aren't your grandma's lilacs. They are re-bloomers, compact-growers, and more resistant to problems that plague older varieties. Here are our new favorite fragrant flowering shrubs.

    Bloomerang® Purple Lilac (Syringa)

    Bloomerang-purple

    Bloomerang® Purple Syringa is a compact blooming shrub reaching a mature height of 4-5 feet and spread of 5-6 feet. The shrubs are covered with flowers in the early spring, but the plant re-blooms in the summer and keeps blooming until frost. They're hardy in zones 3-7 and are resistant to powdery mildew and root rot.

    Bloomerang® Dark Purple Lilac

    Screen Shot 2014-03-18 at 9.02.57 PM

    This deer-resistant re-blooming lilac starts the show in early spring with tightly-closed plum purple flower buds that open to fragrant flowers beloved by butterflies and hummingbirds. Keep these shrubs looking their best by giving them a light pruning after they bloom. Fertilize after the spring bloom to encourage reblooming later in the summer.

    Scent and Scensibilty™ Pink Lilac

    Scent and Scensibilty™ Pink

    A truly unique lilac, Scent and Scensibilty™ Pink Syringa, has a compact, mounding growth habit with a height of 2-3 feet and a spread of 4-6 feet. It grows best in full sun in moist, well-drained soil. It will re bloom sporadically throughout the summer, but not as reliably as the Bloomerang® lilacs.

    Lilac Care and Maintenance

    If you have older lilacs, the way to keep them blooming beautifully is through renewal pruning. This is the practice of removing one third of the old growth back to the ground each year.

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    Keeping lilacs pruned helps promote airflow and reduces problems with powdery mildew.

    Newer varieties benefit from light pruning for shape after the spring bloom and application of a liquid fertilizer. Always plant in full sun and well-drained soils to avoid problems with root rot.

    Deadhead (remove spent flowers after bloom) to encourage re-blooming.

    Still grows the vivacious lilac a generation after the door and lintel and the sill are gone, unfolding its sweet-scented flowers each spring, to be plucked by the musing traveller; planted and tended once by children's hands, in front-yard plots,--now standing by wall-sides in retired pastures, and giving place to new-rising forests;Mthe last of that stirp, sole survivor of that family.
    ~Henry David Thoreau

  • Early Blooms Get the Party Started!

    Many of the early blooming shrubs at Shrub Source are newer varieties of old favorites. Flowering quince, lilacs, azaleas, and forsythias factor into many a childhood memory. These are some of the first shrubs to bloom after a long winter. They welcome spring, indoors as forced branches and outdoors when they burst into color. These shrubs have the flowers that serve as centerpieces for Mother’s Day celebrations and graduation parties.

    If your garden doesn’t kick into gear until June, chances are good that you need a few early flowering shrubs to extend the season. Here are some of our favorites.

    Fantastically Fragrant

    Viburnum Spice Ball

    In warmer areas, Spice Ball Viburnum blooms as early as mid to late March. This is a specimen shrub to plant near your front door or back porch so that you can enjoy the wonderful scent of the flowers when it is in bloom.

    Unusual Beauty

    Calycanthus

    Calycanthus is a lesser-grown shrub, but one that everyone should make some room for, if possible. Dark burgundy flowers appear in greatest numbers during the spring, but the shrub will sporadically re-bloom throughout the summer. When not in bloom, glossy green leaves serve as an excellent foundation, screening, or backdrop plant in the landscape.

    Spring Cheer

    A few of the early bloomers are excellent for forcing. You can cut branches from these shrubs in February and bring them inside to put on a spectacular floral display long before the snow melts outside.

    Two of our favorites are forsythia and flowering quince.

    Older varieties of forsythia were huge and rangy, but newer varieties, such as Show Off™ Starlet are more compact growers. This one is also absolutely covered in blooms each spring.

    Forsythia Show Off Starlet

    Double Take™ Pink Storm Flowering Quince always gets lots of appreciative glances when it shows off hundreds of rose-like blooms when everything else in the landscape is still deep in winter slumber. Plus, the Double Take™ series are thorn-less. It cannot get any better than this.

    Double Take Pink Flowering Quince

    Don’t Forget Roses!

    Oso Easy Italian Ice RoseWe are big fans of the Oso Easy™ roses for their, you guessed it, easy care attributes. These are some of the latest of the early bloomers, but they fill the gap nicely between extreme earlybirds such as forsythia and the summer blooming hydrangeas and crape myrtles. These roses will also re-bloom throughout the summer. For unusual color in the garden, plant Oso Easy™ Italian Ice (pictured, yellow center with pink blushing petals), Oso Easy™ Cherry Pie (bright pink single flowers), and Oso Easy™ Paprika—with bright orange blooms.

     Maintenance Considerations

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    Most of these plants are fairly low-maintenance, but timing on what little maintenance that's required is crucial. Here are some tips to keep early-flowering shrubs looking great!

    • Prune right after the plants are finished flowering in the spring. Early bloomers set flower buds for next year during the summer. If you prune them hard in late summer, you'll cut off all of the flowers. If you make no other change to your gardening habits, MAKE THIS CHANGE!
    • Fertilize after blooming. Most of the spring flowering shrubs will push new growth immediately after flowering. (Pruning can make this new growth bushier and fuller.) Fertilize shrubs with the proper fertilizer at the same time that you prune. (Azaleas, rhododendrons, and hollies all benefit from Holly-tone or holly fertilizers.)
    • Water shrubs after pruning. Whenever you do something that could stress a plant or require it to use more reserves than usual, it's a good idea to water it. (That is, unless you're having higher than usual rainfall.) So, after pruning and fertilizing, make sure to water!

    Following these tips will help you keep your early bloomers looking gorgeous!

  • Evergreens: Never-Ending Beauty

    ilex_berry_poppins If this winter has helped you realize nothing else, it’s that a few evergreens can go a long way in the garden. While the rest of the garden is barren and covered with snow, evergreens provide a respite for your eyes and a promise that everything else will, eventually leaf out.

    There are more reasons to plant evergreens beyond the fact that they have color when nothing else does. Here are some reasons why you’re going to want to make room in the garden for some new plants this year.

    Welcoming Wildlife

    ilex_berry_heavy_gold

    Development and construction have eliminated much of the naturally existing cover that wildlife, from birds to mammals to reptiles, rely on. You can make a big difference in the health of wildlife populations by planting trees and shrubs in the garden. While some birds need taller trees for nesting, a lot of favorite songbirds derive more benefit from eye-level cover from shrubs. Birds that have access to shelter will fledge (raise to maturity) more chicks. So, it’s not just food (in the form of berries) that shrubs with winter interest can provide. These plants also provide a welcoming home.

    Enjoyment Indoors and Out

    “Winter interest” doesn’t have to mean green leaves. The berries on deciduous hollies such as Berry Heavy ®, Berry Heavy® Gold, Berry Nice®, or Berry Poppins® are beautiful, in part, because they are the stars of the show, with no leaves to distract from the bright color.

     

    basketPorch pot with Evergreens

    The red twigs of Cornus Arctic Fire ™ make stunning and statuesque arrangements without any other flowers. They can also serve as the structure for more elaborate creations.

    Screen Shot 2014-03-04 at 4.29.45 PM

    You can use branches and twigs from these and other, evergreen, plants to make porch pots and floral arrangements all year long.

    Privacy and Screening

    Less exciting, but no less important is the important function evergreens have in creating natural privacy and screening. While putting up a fence is a faster way to block out your neighbors, a beautiful row of Thujas is nicer to look at.

    When planting a privacy screen, it’s better to go for Evergreens than deciduous shrubs, even shrubs with dense canopies, because you’ll lose some of the screening benefits in the winter when the shrubs lose their leaves. American Piller Thuja is one of our favorite evergreen shrubs for screening.

    Thuja-American Pillar

    You can plant close together and hedge the plants or allow them to grow to their natural conical shape.

  • New Shrubs for 2014!

    We are so excited to introduce 19 new and spectacular plants to the Shrub Source online catalog. From gorgeous new Clematis vines to shrubs with four-season interest, there’s something for everyone. Check out the new varieties here.

    When you’re shopping, keep in mind that most of our shrubs are available in two sizes: a landscape-ready 1 QT Pot - 1.0 qt/946 ml size container shrub (pictured below left), and also in an 8" Jumbo Pot - 1.0 gal/3.78 L. (pictured below right). Our Jumbo plants are ready to hit the ground running and give you a more filled-out look, faster.

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    Big Bloomers

    Lots of flowers with a compact growth habits are hallmarks of the new big bloomers on offer.

     Yuki Cherry Blossom™ Deutzia

    Yuki Cherry Blossom™ Deutzia

    With all of the beauty of a cherry tree at a diminutive size and with blooms that last much longer, the Yuki Cherry Blossom™ Deutzia provides weeks of color in the spring. Plant in a container near the doorway to enjoy the fragrance of the blooms!

     Blue Diddley™ Vitex

    Blue Didley Vitex

    Blue Diddley™ Vitex agnus-castus, the blue-flowered Chaste Tree is a must-have for your shrub border or landscape bed. The long blue bloom spikes are a welcome sight in early summer. Hummingbirds and butterflies are big fans, too!

     Let's Dance® Blue Jangles Hydrangea

    hydrangea_blue_jangles

    Let's Dance® Blue Jangles Hydrangea is a gorgeous and compact-growing hydrangea with blue (or pink) flowers. Ensure that the large flowers stay blue by lowering the pH of your soil. Plant this shrub in partial shade in moderately moist soil for best results.

    Four-Season Interest

     Berry Heavy® Gold Ilex verticillata

    ilex_berry_heavy_gold

    Get the most out of limited space by planting shrubs with four season interest. These hardworking shrubs need to have lovely foliage, pretty flowers, interesting bark, or eye-catching fruits. Berry Heavy® Gold Ilex verticillata is a Winterberry Holly that has yellow-gold fruits in the late fall and early winter. At a mature height of 6 feet, these make excellent specimen shrubs.

     Castle Gold™ Ilex

    Ilex_Castle_Gold_2

    Castle Gold™ Ilex is an evergreen holly with bright chartreuse leaves that add light and depth to the garden all year long. In addition to the lovely loves, this holly has a big berry display as long as it has a pollinator (male) plant nearby. 

    Fantastic Foliage

     Lemon Lace™ Sambucus racemosa

    sambucus_lemon_lace_1

    One of our favorite new specimen plants, Lemon Lace™ Sambucus racemosa, has show-stopping chartreuse foliage with the lacy look of a Japanese Maple. You plant this elderberry primarily for the leaves, though the flowers and fruits are beautiful too!

    Marie Gold™ Ceanothus

    Marie Gold™ Ceanothus

    Another prolific bloomer, Marie Gold™ Ceanothus, also called “New Jersey Tea,” has yellow-green leaves and pink flowers that emerge mid-summer and continue to open through fall. Seedheads provide fall and winter interest.

     Golden Ticket™ Ligustrum

    ligustrum_golden_ticket

    This isn’t your grandma’s privet. Golden Ticket™ Ligustrum has gorgeous foliage and beautiful flowers that do not develop into invasive seedheads. Great for a bright hedge plant.

    Growing Up!

    Don’t miss our new vine varieties!

    Clematis ‘Diamond Ball’ 

    clematis_diamond_ball

    Clematis ‘Diamond Ball’ is a breathtaking new clematis with almost peony-like white flowers with blue tinges and highlights. It is a showstopper that deserves a prominent place in the garden!

    Parthenocissus 'Yellow Wall'

    Parthenocissus Yellow Wall

    While Virginia Creeper might not be first on your list when you think of a new vine to grow, ‘Yellow Wall’ is a showstopper with bright yellow fall color. Plant it where you need a living screen or a pop of color.

  • Welcome to the NEW Shrub Source Website!

    New Shrub Source Website

    We are thrilled to announce the launch of our newly redesigned website that has been reorganized to make it easier for you to find the shrubs you’re looking for to complete your new landscape project or refresh your garden.

    There are many new features to introduce you to. How about a quick tour?

    Navigation

    In fancy website lingo, this is called the “nav.” Good navigation means the difference between you finding what you need on a website and not finding anything at all. On the new Shrub Source website you can search through all shrubs, vines, and edibles from handy drop-down menus. You can also shop shrubs by searching by common name and shrub attributes.

    Shrub Source Website Navigation

    New “Wishlist”

    Create an account on Shrub Source (it’s free!) and you can start building your wishlist. Every shrub on the website has a link that you can click that says “Add to wishlist.”

    Add to Wishlist

    Once you click, you’ll be taken to your wishlist Add comments to each shrub as you add it to the wishlist so you can remember where you’re planning to plant it and what you want to get to plant with it. It’s also a handy way to let someone know what you might like for a gift!

    wishlist

    Compare Shrubs

    You can also hit a link that says “Add to Compare.” This will add a shrub to your compare list. You can then click on the right-hand column and “Compare Products,” which will bring a up a screen like this:

    Compare Shrubs

    You can view pictures of the shrubs, see the prices, view hardiness zones, etc. It’s a great feature if you’re trying to decide between different plants, or look at plants together. By comparing them, you can check to make sure that all of their growing requirements are compatible.

    Learn!

    Are you new to gardening? Want to learn about some new shrub types? Need to figure out some information about how to care for your newly-planted shrubs? Visit the new “Learn” section that puts everything you need to know about growing shrubs in one convenient place.

    Keep an eye on that tab and check back frequently for new information!

    Learn tab

    Why a website devoted entirely to shrubs?

    Shrubs are the unsung backbone of the garden. They are the workhorses. But, they can be so much more than just filler. Shrubs can be specimen plants—the plants that visitors look at and say “Wow!” Shrubs can attract butterflies, hummingbirds and other wildlife. Shrubs provide necessary cover for native birds and songbirds. You can plant shrubs for privacy hedging or to help with storm water management in low-lying areas of the yard.

    Shrub Source only carries and delivers the best-quality name brand shrubs. You can find the newest varieties of shrubs from your favorite growers long before they hit the retail shelves in your area. We offer shrubs in quart and jumbo pots. These plants are ready to hit the ground growing!

  • Not Your Grandma's Shrub!

    Hydrangea-Cityline-RioShrub: A woody plant smaller than a tree, usually having multiple permanent stems branching from or near the ground.

    When I used to think of a shrub, I would think of the “old fashion” shrub that every grandma had. That were over grown and needing a MAJOR “hair cut”. With today’s wonderful selection of Proven Winners® ColorChoice® Flowering Shrubs it puts a new and refreshing swing to the shrub world. Shrub’s can add a great focal point to a garden, providing privacy, creating screens in your backyard oasis. Shrubs also can be used alone in a container, using Proven Winners® ColorChoice® compact shrubs. With the ease of compact shrubs it brings less work and low maintenance to gardening in an condo or apartment.

  • Summer Wine is Fine!

    Physocarpus-Summer-Wine(Ninebark) Summer Wine® has a stunning wine color foliage, that in mid summer is dressed up with a pinkish-white button size flower. The purplish foliage of Ninebark is paired nicely with the bright yellow colors of Coreopsis. Summer Wine® is a low maintenance Ninebark, that grows neat and upward. With it’s neat and tidy character, summer wine works well for making a neat border, or planting in masses. Also, a perfect shrub for a patio container.

  • Living in the Limelight!

    hydrangea-limelight-35252.1355842934.300.300-1-This hardy hydrangea has a bountiful harvest of the best blooms ever! Limelight is by far a beauty in the garden, with its gigantic blooms and array of color. Limelight, in mid summer starts out as an “eye catching” lime green, and turns into a pure white color and ending in the fall with a magnificent color of pink. Limelight, makes great dried or cut flower arrangements. Limelight’s height can reach as high as 6 to 8 feet high. So, this beauty can set the stage in anyone’s garden with it’s great structure. Pruning limelight is best done in the late fall or early spring. Hardy Limelight is also very true to the name and is hardy all the way down to zone 3.

  • Oh Deer, Someone is Eating My Shrubs!

    berberis-sunjoy-citrusLooking into my backyard, I enjoy seeing the occasion of a few deer browsing through. But, then when I am browsing through my gardens, I am NOT overjoyed to see the damage that these pesky animals have done. Shrubs can be a perfect height for the deer to munch on, but, overall deer tend to stray away from shrubs. But, in the dead of winter food supply can become  scare for the deer, and they prey on our beloved shrubs! There is truly nothing that will stop a deer from munching when they are starving, but, a few shrubs we have found that they don’t prefer are: barberrybutterfly bushesboxwoodfalse cypressforsythia, and elderberry. These shrubs either have thorns or produce a smell that deer do not prefer, and tend to stay away from.

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