Garden & Landscape Tips

One way to cut work in the garden is to plant low-maintenance, pest-resistant shrubs that need little to no pruning. Three excellent new flowering shrubs are debuting in spring 2011 that fill all three of those bills. Check out these at the garden center.

Hydrangea ‘Little Lime.’
Hydrangea ‘Little Lime’
© Proven Winners. Used with permission.

Hydrangea ‘Little Lime’

One of the showiest shrubs to hit the market lately has been the tree-type hydrangea ‘Limelight,’ which puts on a heavy show of limey-white flower cones from mid-summer into fall. It can easily grow 6 to 8 feet tall and wide. Michigan-based Spring Meadow Nursery has developed a down sized version of ‘Limelight’ that grows only half as big.

‘Little Lime’ debuts this spring under the Proven Winners label. It produces the same sized and colored flowers, except on plants that top out at 4 to 5 feet. The stems of ‘Little Lime’ are very sturdy to hold the flower heads high, and the plant will grow well in full sun or part shade in U.S. Hardiness Zones 3-9.

Ninebark ‘Little Devil’

Ninebark ‘Little Devil.’
Ninebark ‘Little Devil’
© Bailey Nurseries. Used with permission.

Ninebark is a native U.S. shrub that most gardeners shunned until burgundy-leafed ‘Diabolo’ debuted a decade ago. Again, the main down side was that its 8- to 10-foot size was too big for today’s smaller gardens.

New for 2011 is the smallest dark-leafed ninebark yet – a 4-footer called ‘Little Devil’ developed by Minnesota’s Bailey Nurseries. This variety has the sun- and drought-resistance of ‘Diabolo’ and the same attractive clusters of pinkish-white spring flowers, but with much less pruning needed. It also produces red, BB-sized seed clusters in early summer and has peeling cinnamon-colored bark for good winter interest. Its leaf color is darkest in full sun, but it’ll also grow in part shade. Hardy in Zones 3-7.

Dwarf butterfly bush ‘Flutterby Petite’

Many butterfly bushes or nectar bushes shoot up to 8 feet tall in just one season, but this new series from Illinois-based Ball Ornamentals tops out at only 18" to 3 feet tall and wide, and is suitable as a blooming ground cover. The plants are very slow-growing, tough in heat and drought, and have nearly sterile seeds, so new plants are unlikely to pop up in unwanted places. They prefer full sun. Hardy in Zones 5-9.

Dwarf butterfly bush ‘Flutterby Petite.’
Dwarf butterfly bush ‘Flutterby Petite’
© Ball Ornamentals. Used with permission.

The Flutterby Petite series comes in five versions of different bloom color:

  • ‘Tutti Fruitti’ is a rosy pink.
  • ‘Blue Heaven’ is bluish-lilac.
  • ‘Snow White’ is white.
  • ‘Pink’ is light pink.
  • ‘Dark Pink’ is a pinkish-lavender.
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