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Flowering Shrub Borders

Shrubs are an integral part of good garden design. Just as they line the edges of woodlands in nature, shrubs provide a transitional element between lawn and trees on your property, adding balance and scale.

A border of flowering shrubs can also act as the perfect foil to an ornamental flower bed -- hence the screen of shrubs you'll find backing many traditional perennial borders. Not only will the right flowering shrubs complement the colors in your herbaceous border, their woody stems will lend support to plants such as non-vining clematis and lax, floppy perennials such as Knautia macedonica or Aster frikartii. Finally, a border of flowering shrubs can create a ''living fence'' much more beautiful than anything you could construct out of stone or wood to divide your property, or block out unsightly views.

Flowering Shrub Guidelines
If you want beauty and interest that lasts more than one season, take the foliage and general shape of a shrub into account, along with the flowers.

Similarly, consider planting varieties of shrubs that bloom at different times throughout the year; the composition of your border will constantly change and evolve, and you can even time it so that spring's cool-toned border of blues and lavenders transforms itself into a riot of yellows and reds come summer.

If you are planting a variety of shrubs in one location, make sure they have similar light, soil, and moisture requirements. Take the mature height and width of the shrubs into account, and don't pack immature shrubs too tightly into a border.

Finally, from an aesthetic standpoint, at least two shrubs of each variety should be planted side by side to avoid a ''polka-dotted'' appearance once they bloom.

Flowering Shrub Suggestions
Hydrangeas
'Blue Wave' (lacecap blue flowers)
'Ayesha' (two-tone blue and white)
'Sister Theresa' (mophead white)
'Piamina' (compact pink)
'Lanarth' (mophead white)
'Hamburg' (pink and red)
'Pink Elf'

Witchhazel

Spirea

Fragrant Viburnum

Burkwood Viburnum

Doublefile Viburnum

Common Lilac var. 'Ludwig Spaeth'

Old-Fashioned Red WeigelaPink Princess Weigela

Catawba Rhododendron var. 'Rosemundi'

Ramapo Rhododendron

Purpleleaf Sand Cherry

Sargent Crabapple