Flowering Trees and Shrubs

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Three Easy Flowering Shrubs

Country kids find unique places to play. Springtime with its warmer weather and green grass were heaven-sent for a little girl  from the Midwest. One of my favorite secret places to play was under the lilac and bridal wreath shrubs. I could hide and play for hours under white clouds of cascading flowers. I dreamed of becoming a bride some day and having lilacs and lily of the valley as my flowers.

Woody plants are long-lived and can provide color, shade and shelter for animals as well as humans. Shrubs need ample space to grow, unlike flowers, shrubs  grow and mature to twice  their size. Shrubs come bare rooted or container grown.  A big no- no is planting a shrub too deep, in fact it is the main cause for plant failure.   The hole should be twice as wide as the plant but not too deep. The line of soil in the container should match the soil around the shrub. Backfill the hole with top soil  and top with mulch.  Don’t forget to water and you will have a beautiful shrub for years to come. Shrubs and trees should be planted in the spring or fall depending on the species or variety. Taking your time and following these steps will insure success! Lilacs, bridal wreath and forsythia top my list of favorite easy to grow shrubs.  You can find them at your local nursery.

Lilacs

 

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Living in Illinois lilacs can be found in many landscape.  They are a late-blooming flower in the north.  Easy to grow and care for they come in shades of purple, pink and white.  French lilacs are my favorite but they only bloom in the  spring.  Newer varieties have longer blooming times. I feel fortunate that lilacs grow in my neck of the woods.  They do well in climates that are warm in the summer and cold in the winter.

Bridal Wreath

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The white blossoms cover the arching branches of this shrub in early summer.  Once common in every back yard I ever played in these plants are harder to find.  The Spirea x vanhouttei needs full sun and not much care.

Forsythia

The first flowering shrubs of the season are these brightly yellow covered shrubs.  Easy to grow  full sun plants  dot the countryside.  They make great hedges and can grow up to five feet in height.

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Iris

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Bearded Iris

What is a bearded iris?  The flower that my Mother and my Granny grew  every spring was an Iris.  Beautiful tall and purple it grows in full sun.  We had a long driveway in the front of the farm-house that had a long narrow bed of peonies and iris. Each spring in May I would walk to the mail box past these flowers.  They have huge flower heads with 3 petals that turn upward and 3 petals that turn down and the scent is unmistakable.  Homestead Orchard where my parents and I lived not only sold apples it sold flowers too. Each year I look forward to spring and can’t wait for the arrival of flowers like the bearded iris because it reminds me of a special time in my life.

imageBearded iris have a fuzzy line that runs down the middle of the petal. That’s how the  ” bearded ” got their name.  Other types of iris are Siberian and Japanese, which bloom later through June and July. Iris grow from rhizomes that store food for the next years growth.  They grow slightly below the surface of the ground and are visible to the eye. Most nursery’s carry these easy to grow perennials and as an extra bonus they multiply and should be divided every 3 to 5 years. Where do I get my iris?  I buy from a local grower in  Chillicothe Illinois.  Every year I stop and buy a new color or variety.  The plus to buying from a local grower is they usually have a demo garden with samples of all of their flowers.  These businesses are disappearing so whenever I find someone who sells some of their own nursery stock I feel like I have won the lottery. Iris only bloom for a short time but with a little care will last for years.image

Peonies

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imageJanuary brings the snow and ice in Illinois.  The mailman brings the anticipated seed catalogs.  I dream of flowers and red ripe tomatoes. Spring  also means Peonies to me.  They bloom around May 26th give a week or two and then they are done for the season.  They are a perennial that come up year after year after year. The fragrance is indescribable.  In early spring the plants are sold at nurseries and big box stores and should be planted in full sun  but will survive in partial shade.  The one complaint about these flowers is they droop especially after a heavy rain.  I have supports on mine to help them from becoming floppy. I can not wait for spring !