In part 1 of this post, I wrote about our trees and some of our perennial flowers just planted on the farm. In this second article, I’ll provide information about the rest of our plantings covering flowering shrubs, bushes, and vines. I consider this the meat and potatoes of the planted perennials as they will be heavily used for all our floral arrangements.
Woodies are perennial flowering shrubs and they are extremely useful for flower arrangements and bouquets. Almost all our woodies were planted along the side border of our property. When we just started to purchase these shrubs, we bought them younger and smaller in size to save money, but now in hindsight, I wish I had spent more to purchase maturer plants so that I can harvest them sooner. Towards the end of our buying sessions, we learned to order more mature plants.
It’s been our experience that the maturer shrubs (usually container size #5 from the online stores) seem to root better and stayed healthier over the winter.
Berry (Edible) Shrubs
I purchased a number of edible berry vines/bush for both arrangements and for eating! Blackberry, blueberry, and raspberry bushes were our selections. Blackberry and blueberry bushes from Jackson & Perkins, and raspberry from Gardens Alive. The following are the varieties: Rubus ‘Loch Ness’ Blackberry, a thornless variety that is self-supporting (does not require a trellis) with fruits that develop a couple of years after planting; Vaccinium ‘Nocturne’ Blueberry with its appealing contrast mix of red (when unripe) and dark blue fruit; and Raspberry Canby, a variety chosen for its thornless quality.
Berry (Non-Edible) Shrubs
In addition to the edible berries, I purchased a number of shrubs that produce ornamental berries of varying colors for harvesting for autumn and winter wreaths. White Snowberry produces white berries on draping stems, Beautyberry produces purple berries, and of course, Winterberries have stems loaded with red berries. There are other types of red berry producing hollies that are evergreens holding their leaves through winter; however, I adore the Winterberry because it is deciduous and its stems of just red berries are stunning in winter. Other than the White Snowberry, purchased online from Nature Hills, all the berry shrubs were purchased locally at Church’s Garden Center. The berries on all these bushes are a source of food for birds during the fall and winter. You should note, as a holly, Winterberry requires both female and male plants to produce berries, while the Snowberry and Beautyberry plants self pollinate.
Butterfly bush is a fast growing, long flowering bush (flowers from spring to fall) loved by butterflies, birds, and other pollinators. This easy-to-care bush can grow out of control, especially in warmer climates, therefore hard pruning in spring is highly recommended especially since flowers grow on new wood.
An easy to grow shrub, it signals the arrival of spring with its abundance of yellow flowers and then green leaves after the flowers are spent. This shrub makes excellent privacy hedge with its fast growth tendency. We purchased these online from Fast Growing Trees.
As a teenager living in South Florida for a few years, I still remember the perfume at dusk of our gardenias planted by the front porch. Throughout the years, I’ve attempted to replicate this by purchasing gardenia plants offered at the local nurseries to no avail. They all died with the arrival of cold temperatures and even during the spring/summer, getting them to flower was a miracle. As you can see, I haven’t given up on gardenias. To my delight, I came across this frost proof variety sold at Nature Hills. It survived the bitter windy cold we had in December and February and fingers crossed these will thrive this summer and bloom tons of fragrant flowers. These are native to China, low maintenance and are 4 season plants (it kept its leaves throughout the winter).
Heptacodium Temple of Blooms
I’m so excited about this perennial. Heptacodium can be grown like a small tree or large bush with beautiful and fragrant white flowers that come in whorls. Each whorls contains 7 flowers, which is why in China this is known as Seven Sons Flowers. More impressive are the red, fan-like bracts that reveal after the white flowers are finished blooming which makes it look like the shrub is blooming a second time. Birds, bees, butterflies, and hummingbirds love its nectar that appears in September. Heptacodiums are native to China and are extremely rare in the US. These are hard to find but we were able to purchase them online from Nature Hills.
I just adore hydrangeas. In my opinion, no garden would be complete without some hydrangeas and it would seem many here in Cape May agree with me! Hydrangeas do extremely well along the southern coastline of the US. They are native to this country. Their blooms make beautiful focal flowers in arrangements and they dry beautifully for making winter wreaths or dry flower arrangements. Other than the Gatsby Pink which begins its bloom as snow white, the hydrangeas flower as light green and eventually change to the color in the photos. Below are the varieties planted on the farm, all purchased online from Jackson & Perkins:
Illuminati Arch Mock Orange
An interesting shrub (Philadelphus) with white cascading flowers on arching branches, it is easy to grow and fills the air in spring with its mock orange scent. Wonderful in arrangements or as hedge rows. These were purchased online from Great Garden Plants.
Korean Spice Viburnam
This is a very popular woody with a fragrance that’s a mix of sweet and spice. I chose this flowering shrub for its varying stages of beauty giving me flexibility in floral arrangements throughout the season. In spring, it begins with tiny pink flowers that transition to clusters of white blooms that look like 3 inch snowballs. Its scent draws butterflies and hummingbirds and it grows big, 4-inch dark green foliage which turn to long lasting spicy red/purple color in the fall. The best part of this shrub is its ease of care, deer, insect, and disease resistance. We purchased our viburnam on line at Nature Hills.
When we first moved into our property in April, we were enveloped with the perfume from the lilacs, both on our property and next door. What a lovely welcome and the beginning of my love affair with them. I purchased a couple of different varieties: Beauty of Moscow and Madame Lemoine both from Nature Hills. Beauty of Moscow lilacs produce huge flowers with strong fragrance. Its buds start as soft combo of pink and purple which open into nearly white flower heads. The Madame Lemoine lilac is a french hybrid lilac which starts with creamy white buds and opens into pure white flower heads.
Purchased from Nature Hills online, Ninebark, with its dark foliage, pretty flowers in spring and seed pods during winter make beautiful additions to both arrangements as well as landscapes. I purchased the Summer Wine variety because I liked the pink flowers (my favorite color) and early flowering habit.
Queen Nectarine Hyssop
An easy to grow perennial well adapted to dry soils attracting honeybees, butterflies, and hummingbirds. Its soft peach flowers cover two-thirds of its stem and these were purchased locally from Home Depot. We also purchased from Home Depot Anise Hyssop, an edible herbaceous perennial whose fragrance is similar to licorice.
This is a low lying, low maintenance shrub with long-lasting clustered blooms in the spring, loved by butterflies. It is useful in the landscape as border or accent plants. We purchased two varieties: Glow Girl Birchleaf and Double Play Artisan (which is no longer offered) online from Great Garden Plants.
Summersweet Clethra Ruby Spice
Named for its sweet smelling fragrance, this shrub produces flowers in mid to late summer when other shrubs have lost their blooms. Its long bottle-brush like flowers lasts for weeks and attracts butterflies and bees. The Ruby Spice variety has deep red hues and its foliage turns bright yellow in the fall. We purchased ours online from Jackson & Perkins.
I just adore wisteria and if I could, I would grow them everywhere on the farm. Our variety, Amethyst Falls, has purple, fragrant flowers that bloom in the spring and summer. Drought tolerant and fast growing, this variety is common enough that one can find them in big box stores and local nurseries. We purchased ours late in the season and could only find them online through Fast Growing Trees. This site has raised the price of this vine tremendously so I would recommend you purchase elsewhere.
No perennial garden is complete without some fragrant herbs. These are just the beginning of the plants we’ll be planting but were chosen for their fragrance and ease of growth. All were purchased locally in big box stores or nurseries. I plan to write more about herbs in a future post.
I hope you were able to learn about new varieties of woodies that would be lovely in your landscape and cutting garden. As a reminder, I will be holding a free on-site pruning workshop near the end of February (pruning for roses and some woodies) and again during summer solstice (pruning for fruit trees). The February date has not been chosen as it is weather dependent, but if you are interested in participating, please email me and I will get back to you with date and time.