My Favorite Shrubs


The “My” in the title above is deliberate. Gardening always has a point of view: namely, place. I garden from my place, and you garden from yours. We can be inspired by one another, we can learn from one another, but our gardening practices will always be personal.

These are some of the shrubs I most love to grow here at Maplehurst, and I hope they will spark exploration into the shrubs that might thrive in your garden.

  • Viburnum: I could fill out this list with only selections from this family of shrubs. I’m convinced there’s a viburnum for everyone’s garden. Many have fragrant flowers in spring, wildlife-nourishing berries in fall, and beautiful autumn leaf color. Why choose an evergreen when we can have so much seasonal variety in one plant?
  • Ninebark (physocarpus opulifolius): This native to the United States has grown in popularity with the introduction of some beautiful purple-leaved varieties. I love the contrast of pale pink flowers against maroon foliage on a variety called ‘Diabolo.’
  • Panicle Hydrangea (hydrangea paniculata): A favorite shrub of mine for cut flowers. ‘Limelight’ is very popular and makes a lovely, tall hedge. I appreciate the dark pink-red flowers of a variety called ‘Firelight.’ Panicle hydrangeas are much more forgiving of dry conditions and cold winters than the popular blue and pink mophead types.
  • Oakleaf Hydrangea (hydrangea quercifolia): A beautiful landscape shrub for the edge of woodlands. Summer flowers and autumn leaf color.
  • Bottlebrush Buckeye (aesculus parviflora): A native, summer-flowering shrub happiest in part or full shade. This tall and airy plant looks lovely as filler for the “understory”: that space between our trees and our ground-level plants.

Posted on

March 18, 2020

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