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Butterfly Bush, shrub, ISTOCK

Blooming Shrubs for Summer

If you are looking to add some color to your landscape this season, there are plenty of shrubs to choose from that provide vibrant blooms and lush foliage even in the heat of summer. Our plant specialists have put together a list of the most popular shrubs for the season with some notes to help you pick which one is best for you.

Hydrangea macrophylla, Shrub

Hydrangeas

Possibly one of the most popular landscape shrubs, the most commonly recognized hydrangea, the bigleaf hydrangea, features large globular clusters of blue or pink blooms. However, there are many more varieties available, including hydrangeas with green or white blooms and native varieties! The Annabelle hydrangea features white blooms up to 12 inches across and is native to our region, while the oakleaf hydrangea has dark green, oak-like foliage and white or pink blossoms and fantastic mahogany-red fall color. 

In general, hydrangeas prefer part sun and moist, well-drained soil. If you have a spot with morning sun and afternoon shade with between 4 and 6 feet of space for them to grow, they should do well.

To learn more about climbing hydrangeas, panicle hydrangeas, and more, visit our blog post on hydrangeas.

Roses

A traditional favorite, roses come in countless varieties. You can check out our blog for detailed information on caring for roses, as well as a summary of common rose types. If you are looking for roses that will thrive with minimal care, consider some of these shrub roses, which are tough, hardy and more disease resistant than other roses.

Drift Rose, Shrub, ISTOCK

Drift Roses

These low-growing, dwarf roses can be grown as a groundcover, since they reach less than 2 ft. in height. They will bloom continuously throughout the season.

Knockout Rose, Shrub, ISTOCK

Knock-Out Roses

If you are looking for a larger variety of rose, the Knock-out rose can grow up to 8 ft. in height and width. It is ideal for use in borders and hedges, and blooms continuously throughout the season.

Buddleia, Butterfly Bush, Shrub

Butterfly Bush

Just as the name would suggest, this is a great shrub to plant if you would like to attract butterflies. They are a great compliment to the perennials and annuals of a butterfly garden, and come in just about every color. If you want a smaller shrub, be sure to purchase a dwarf variety. 

Spirea, Shrub, ISTOCK

Spirea

Like butterfly bush spirea will attract pollinators to your garden, and come in a variety of shades of pink and white. Depending on the variety, they will bloom in spring and summer and can be used in a variety of ways in the garden, including as hedges or in mass plantings.

Azalea 'Kaempo Pink', Shrub

Azalea Picks for Blooms, Foliage and Height

Spring is here, and that means the azaleas are in bloom! With so many varieties to choose from, selecting the correct variety for your garden can be a challenge. In this video, Merrifield Plant Specialist Joel Cooke highlights his picks for a number of desirable traits, such as flower and foliage color, bloom time, and height.

Featured Azaleas

  • Joseph Hill: A low growing, late blooming variety that can be used more as a groundcover
  • Coral Bells: The earliest blooming variety of azalea Christy Lynn: Distinctive variegated foliage
  • Stewartstonian – Large growing with a red flower and purplish red foliage in the winter
  • Girard’s Rose – Large leaves with good foliage retention and color through the winter
  • Encore Azalea and Bloomathon: Repeat bloomers that bloom in spring, sporadically through the summer and in fall

3 Step Pruning for Deciduous Trees

Winter is the best time of year to prune deciduous trees and shrubs, since the trees are dormant and you can easily see the form and structure of the branches. In this video, David Yost reviews the three main steps to take when pruning your trees to ensure you do so in a way that will improve their overall health and appearance.

Selecting and Caring for Roses

By Sharon Stickell and Rob Capp

One of the most traditional and iconic garden plants, the rose is known for its beauty, classic appeal and continuous, repeat blooming from spring through frost. Today, there are over 100 species and thousands of cultivars, providing a limitless abundance of options which can be a bit overwhelming for gardeners new to growing these beautiful plants. The choices can be a bit overwhelming for those of us who are selecting roses for the first time – but with our guide to selecting roses, you can select one that will work well for you and your garden!

General Care

Regardless of the rose you select, there are a few guidelines which apply to all types.

  • Roses need at least 6 hours of direct sunlight.
  • Follow our planting instructions to plant your roses, adding a handful of super phosphate to promote root growth. If you are planting in containers fill in around the container with Merrifield Potting Mix or organic alternative, then mix one or two cups of dehydrated manure and a tablespoon of super phosphate.
  • When watering your roses, follow our watering guidelines. We recommend using a 12-inch bamboo stake or dowel rod to check for moisture more deeply than other plants. Water in the morning to ensure that the water evaporates from the leaves during the day, as water sitting on the leaves overnight can promote disease.
  • Roses require a generous amount of fertilizer. From the first signs of leaf break (usually in April) to August, fertilize every 4-6 weeks with Merrifield Flowering Plant Food or an organic alternative, such as Rose Tone.
  • Mulch around your rose according to our proper mulching guidelines. Keep mulch an inch or two away from the crown of the plant.

Selecting the Right Rose

ISTOCK Climbing Rose

Climbing Rose

Use these roses as an accent along fences or on arbors or pergolas by training them to grow in the way that you choose. These vigorous growers flower on wood that is at least two years old. Some are ever-blooming. They will need the support of an arbor, fence, or trellis as they grow.

Knockout Rose

Shrub Rose

Generally the easiest to grow, shrub roses are tough, hardy and more disease resistant than other varieties. These roses range in height from 2 feet to 8 feet and can be used in borders or hedges. Common varieties include the knock-out, drift and carpet roses.

David Austin

These are bushy, shrub type roses with a focus on fragrance and form. Most blooms are cottage or cabbage-like. These varieties are usually disease resistant.

Miniature Rose, Greenhouse

Miniature Rose

Perfect for patios, the front of borders, and containers, these small roses reach only 2 feet in height and bloom continuously from spring until November.

Floribunda Rose 'Scentimental'

Floribunda

These all-purpose roses generally grow to between 2 and 4 feet and bloom in clusters. Most bloom continuously from spring – frost. These are generally more disease resistant than other roses and can be used in borders, containers or in hedges.

Grandiflora Rose, Shrub

Grandiflora

These roses are similar to the Floribunda, but taller, and can reach about 6 feet in height. These vigorous bloomers produce clustered flowers at the end of each stem throughout the growing season. They work well in the back of a flower border or as a hedge.

Hybrid Tea Rose 'Chicago Peace'

Hybrid Tea

Producing single blooms at the end of their stems, these are the ideal to use as a cut flower. They can be used as a specimen plant or in a border or garden bed. These typically involve a little more care than other rose plants but produce the most magnificent flowers. They typically reach anywhere from 2 feet to 5 feet in height.

ISTOCK Rose Tree

Tree Rose

These specimen plants are generally grafted onto a tall rose trunk of hybrid tea quality and used as an accent plant growing in a container. They are more susceptible to winter damage since they have been grafted.

If you are looking for more information on the care of roses, check back soon for a post on pruning, pest management and winter care techniques.

Coneflower and Tiger Swallowtail Butterfly

Plant List for Butterfly Gardens

Flitting from flower to flower in search of nectar, butterflies are absolutely wonderful in the garden.

Unfortunately, because of the loss of habitat and the indiscriminate use of pesticides, the butterfly population is declining.

But with just a little bit of effort, you can encourage more of these delicate beauties to visit your garden – and extend their stay.

Choose a sunny location protected from wind. As butterflies are near-sighted, it’s best to create a large patch of flower species boasting vibrant colors and sweet scents. Select plants of differing heights, colors and bloom times to attract butterflies throughout the season.

Butterflies enjoy sweet liquids, such as nectar from flowers, which supplies them with an energy source.  Annuals provide nectar all summer, while perennials provide it when they’re blooming.

As you might expect, Butterfly Bush and Butterfly Weed are great plants to attract butterflies. But they’re not the only ones. Here are some other plants that butterflies truly love:  Astilbe, Black-Eyed Susan, Catmint, Coneflower, Daylily, Salvia, Tickseed and Yarrow.

In addition to growing a butterfly friendly habitat, make caterpillars welcome in your garden. True, caterpillars feed on plants. But without caterpillars there would be no beautiful butterflies. Watching a caterpillar change into a butterfly is one of the most fascinating things about butterfly gardens.

Caterpillars can be very discriminating in the plants they feed on.  Pipevine Swallowtail feed exclusively on Pipevine, Monarchs on Milkweed and Fritillary on Violas. So if you want to watch these butterflies, select plants for both the larvae and adults.

Annuals

Common Name Botanical Name
Cosmos Cosmos
Flowering Tobacco Nicotiana
French Marigold Tagetes
Heliotrope Heliotropium
Hardy Hibiscus Hibiscus
Lantana Lantana
Mimulus Mimulus
Petunia Petunia
Salvia Salvia
Snapdragon Antirrhinum
Sunflower Helianthus
Verbena Verbena
Violet Violet
Zinnia Zinnia

Perennials

Common Name Botanical Name
Anemone Anemone
Aster Aster
Astilbe Astilbe
Beardstongue Penstemon
Bee Balm Monarda
Bellflower Campanula
Black-eyed Susan Rudbeckia
Blanket Flower Gaillardia
Bleeding Heart Dicentra
Blue Beard Caryopteris
Butterfly Bush Buddleia
Butterfly Weed Asclepias
Candytuft Iberis
Cardinal Flower Lobelia
Catmint Nepeta
Cinquefoil Pontentilla
Cornflower Centaurea
Creeping & Summer Phlox Phlox
Dame’s Rocket Hesperis
Daylily Hemerocalilis
Foxglove Digitalis
Globe Thistle Echinops
Goldenrod Solidago
Hardy Geranium Geranium
Hardy Mem Chrysanthemum
Hollyhock Alcea
Iris Iris
Joe Pye Weed Eupatorium
Lavender Lavandula
Lily Lillium
Onion Allium
Pincushion Flower Scabiosa
Plumbago Ceratostigma
Red Hot Poker Kniphofia
Rockcress Arabis
Rosemary Rosemarinus
Salvia Salvia
Speedwell Veronica
Stoke’s Aster Stokesia
Stonecrop Sedum
Sundrops Oenothera
Sunflower Helianthus
Tickseed Chelone
Verbena Verbena
Whorling Butterflies Gaura
Wormwood Artemesia
Yarrow Achillea

Trees

Common Name Botanical Name
Chaste Tree Vitex
Cherry Prunus
Crabapple Malus
Fringtree Chionanthus
Golden Rain Tree Laburnum
Silk Tree Mimosa
Yellowood Cladrastis

Vines

Common Name Botanical Name
Clematis Clematis
Dragon Lady Crossvine Bigonia
Hardy Passion Vine Passiflora
Honeysuckle Lonicera
Morning Glory Ipomoea
Trumpet Creeper Campsis
Wisteria Wisteria

 

 

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