Spring may be around the corner but we still have a little over a month more of Winter to go! As we venture out into our gardens over the next couple of weeks, mother nature will begin to herald the coming new season with spectacular late winter and early spring color and interest.

Some recommended shrubs for your landscape that exhibit Winter interest and or Spring Color and Bloom are:

  • Vernal Witchhazel (Hamamelis vernalis) – a North American deciduous native shrub, hardy to Zone 4, with fragrant spider-shaped flowers born on naked branches. The flower color can range from bright yellow to dull orange to red-orange; with the flowers usually opening during the few warm days of January or February and persisting as long as four weeks. It has a rounded to spreading growth habit at maturity, and it is adaptable to a wide range of soil, sunlight, and moisture conditions. It also has good fall color and no serious insect or disease problems. In all a good shrub to use as a specimen planting, or in a shrub border or as a screen or informal hedge.
  • Red Twig Dogwood (Cornus sericea) – a deciduous native shrub to North America, hardy to Zone 2B, with year ‘round interest! It produces red showy naked stems in winter, profuse tiny white flowers in Spring and green foliage that turns crimson during the Fall. A few cultivars worth mentioning are: ‘Cardinal’ with bright red stems that look like they are on fire. ‘Flaviramea”, called Yellow Twigged Dogwood, with stems that turn yellow in winter, and ‘Coloradoensis’ with red stems and bluish white fruit.
  • Japaness Pussy Willow (Salix chaenomeloides) – a native to Japan, Korea and China, hardy to Zone 6A – this highly ornamental shrub exhibits beautiful pinkish purple buds that open to showy silvery white-edged catkins in the early spring. The new leaves emerge with a reddish brown color and mature to a dark bluish-green above, and a soft, lighter underside. This shrub will grow in well drained moist soil with full to partial sun.
  • President Lincoln Lilac (Syringa vulgaris ‘President Lincoln’) – hardy to Zone 3B, this shrub is truly an outstanding lilac noted for its fragrance and large trusses of pyramidal clusters of single Wedgewood blue flowers in May. This shrub tolerates drought and some salt, and requires full to partial sun.

Please remember – if you want your spring blooming shrubs to bloom their best, you will need to site them in that part of your landscape where they can ideally receive 6 hours or more of sun light; with 4 hours being the bare minimum. Anything less than 4 hours and your shrubs will not flower their best!