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The Arlington Times
Marysville, Washington
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May 16, 2001     The Arlington Times
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B4 , The Arlington Times/The Marysville Globe COMICS & GARDENING Speed Bump uy Dave Coverly .._+,-I ,, .... It i ~ ~"~ =~ ~,c~... ,,l'.i ~,i,~,,, ~- -~;~ ~~"i" +,t ~ "), Bizarro ,,l Dan Pira,o R -' - . . *.' ~,~,,,-."~ _ . ~ff, t i t I I. Irl V I ~.~ Spring blooming deciduous shrubs: Workhorses for every garden I .... I I I I IIIIIII II IIIINll I IIIIIHI Gardening with The Whistling Gardener by Steve Smith Washington Certified Horticulturist dener. But the fact is that theseplants are some of the easiest to grow and they are relatively inexpen- sive. The problem is that many of us remember our grandmother's house where the mock orange ate the front porch and the lilacs devoured the clothes line. Most deciduous shrubs require some seasonal prun- ing if you want to keep them in check and that requires some understanding of how they grow and where the blooms are formed. But it's really very sim- ple. Prune spring flowering shrubs immediately after they finish blooming. You can trim them lightly just below the old flowers or chop them to the ground, depending on how they are being used architecturally in your yard. Once pruned, they will have all season to grow and set flower buds for the following spring. Even ff you don't prune them they will still set flowers for the next year. But eventually they will become tall and ~aoody looking" and a good hard pruning will rejuvenate them. (Husbands, be sure you discuss this with your wives before you go out and chop down the mock orange.) Nowadays, many of these old-time shrubs are being offered in "dwarf~ versions that fit into our smaller yards and require much less pruning. T ~en i stop to th~< ab'out all tho ~'/~ I different kinds plants we sell here at the ~ nursery it boggles my mind. As a nursery professional, I'm always trying to intro- duce my customers to different types of plants in hopes that they will try something out of their com- fort zone. As we walk through the nursery I will explain the virtues of this or that plant, when it blooms, what kind of soil it likes, where it will grow and how tall or wide it will get. When we get to the dedduous shrubs there is always this pause. The hus- band is usually the first to blurt out "I don't want to have to rake leaves!" When I explain that deciduous shrubs have many redeeming qualities such as sum- mer blooms and far color and that their leaves and growth habit provide pleasing contrasts in texture then the wife usually perks up. But when I tell them that dedduous shrubs require some seasonal pruning to look their best, I usually lose the wife (she pro- ceeds to explain that her husband likes to prune wi~ a chain saw). Deciduous shrubs can be a hard sell, For all the above reasons, plants that lose their leaves (called deciduous) can be difficult to sell to the average gar- Use deciduous shrubs as background filler. Most of these shrubs have an informal growth habit and a medium to fine texture that tends t6 bind the land- scape together. They look their best if planted behind bolder foliaged plants and evergreen shrubs whose leaves will camouflage the naked winter stems of these shrubs. Exceptions of course are the varieties that are dwarf and only grow two- or three-feet tall and varieties that have winter interest such as the red-twig dogwood. Move them to the front of the bor- der where they can be seen. Deciduous shrubs that are in bloom right now include the following: Spiraea prunifolia and vanhouttei varieties: These are the classic bridal wreath spi/'aea. Growing four- to si~-fe~tall; the arelaatli~:bfranches are~ c0~,ered with tiny white flowers, lr~faUThe"blulsh green leaves turn shades of red, orange and yellow. Kerria japonica "Plenatlora:' Bright golden dou- ble yellow blooms'appear throughout the spring and into summer. This plant will tolerate shade and can be seen reaching up to fifteen feet into trees. Usually growing only four to six feet, it forms dumps. The stems remain green (even after the leaves fa~ oft) and are excellent to use in wintertime arrangements or evergreen wreaths at the Christmas season. The vari- ety 'Picta' has variegated leaves. Fothergilla major, gardenii and 'Blue Mist:' These are underused shrubs that no garden should be without. White bottlebrush-like flowers appear this time of year and are honey scented. It prefers sun to partial shade and moist, well-drained soil. Major grows to six-feet tall but gardenli is a dwarf. Blue Mist has bluish foliage. Fall color is incredible with foliage turning intense yellow to orange to scarlet, often all on the same leaf. Lilacs: Mostly we see the French hybrids that are intensely fragrant and come ha a range of colors. Lilacs do best if they are neglected. Too much T.L.C. results in lots of foliage but not too many flowers. Plant in full sun, lime the~ go dry in the summer. blight" and "leaf miners." they bloom, wow! For a Lilacs that only grow four- to my favorite. Weigela: This is a fua like wygela, not weegleah!) of colors from white to also comes gated green and white chartreuse and finally flower this time of year fall. Easy to grow they est. Most reach four- fail Deutzla: An old Several varieties available 1 to pink flowers with grow in sun or light ground to re Deciduou~ "Mollie azaleas, these bright yellow, orange or and white. Fragrance varieties. Grow in full su~ propensity toward Height can range from two on variety. Viburnum: There are nurfl. "Korean fragrance made for viburnum also. Viburn~s' and will tolerate a wide If you've got a problem thing to grow, try a For more me at the denurserv@msn.coII1 BEST 9EI.F STORA 7707 44th Ave, N.E., Marysville 36O-653-2704 Office Hours: 9 a.m,- 6 p.m. Mon.-Sat. Gates Open 7 a.m,- 9 p.m. Monday-Sunday & Holidays .. ~nior & Military Discounts .. i tl II II tl Ii It OFF Film NOra !! THRII ii May tO01