by State-by-State Photo by Susan Randson.
(Salix integra ‘Hakuro-nashiki’)
The dappled willow is an interesting shrub with mottled green and cream leaves and shrimpy-pink new growth. When pruned into a large standard, it is an especially interesting shrub. Willows thrive in full sun but demand a deep watering – especially in extreme heat. Keep your pruners handy if you want to maintain a smaller size, or sculpt this willow into a standard. If you don’t keep it in line, it can mature up to 6 feet tall and as wide. Look upon it as “living” sculpture.
‘Garden Glow’ Dogwood
(Cornus hessei ‘Garden Glow’)
Brilliant lime green foliage glows among the darker greens of summer. Mark Maradik, from Pasquesi Home and Gardens in Lake Bluff, recommends the dogwood shrub, ‘Garden Glow’. “It will be the bright spot in a partially shaded garden with its yellow-green foliage.” White flowers appear in early spring, followed later by berries and burgundy-red leaves in autumn. Bright red stems remain for winter display. It is perfect for smaller spaces at a compact size of 2-3 feet tall and wide. ‘Garden Glow’ is disease and insect resistant and cold hardy from Zones 2 to 7.
Double Take Quince:
(Chaenomeles ‘Orange Storm’, ‘Pink Storm’ and ‘Scarlet Storm’)
Imagine seeing camellia-like double flowers blooming in your Midwest garden in April! This deciduous Japanese quince reinvents an old favorite. Jill Bondi with Midwest Groundcovers stresses its finer points. “… Midwest hardiness, double flowers, deer resistance, thornless stems and fruitless. The flowers also bloom inside the branches to create a unique and beautifully shaped shrub.” The Double Take Series is even drought and heat tolerant, once established. Choose from three bright, velvety colors: orange, pink and scarlet. Plant in full or part sun, but more sun brings on the most blooms. It’s 36-48 inches tall with a dense, spreading habit. Elegant, flowering branches are perfect in a vase, too. Zones 5 to 8.
(Viburnum sieboldii ‘KLMFOUR’)
This shrub was developed by Roy Klehm in the open fields at Beaver Creek Nursery in northern Illinois. Initially, its hardiness was proven in trial gardens where it was the lone survivor of a seedling planting. In mid to late May, the Ironclad viburnum offers cymes or clusters of creamy white flowers. Summer-green, 5-inch leaves show off prominent veining and give these shrubs its rough texture. Red fruits change to black in fall as leaves change from green to burgundy. It thrives in an acidic, moist but well-drained soil in full sun to partial shade. Hardy, disease and drought resistant, viburnum shrubs provide excellent cover and food for birds and butterflies. It matures to 15 feet tall and 12 feet wide in Zones 4 to 7.
Ural False Spirea
(Sorbaria sorbifolia ‘Sem’)
‘Sem’ is one tough cookie. After our last winter, gardeners should be very interested in a hardy shrub such as this. Its parents came from tough Russian stock that originated in the harsh climate of the Ural Mountains in Siberia. Little ‘Sem’ is a combination of two larger Sorbaria selections, but don’t be fooled by its visual delicacy. In spring, fern-like leaves emerge in shades of pinkish red. Later in summer, the foliage changes to a chartreuse green with a brush of bronze red on the leaf tips. After that, all leaves turn darker green and become the background for creamy white plumes. “The plant looks like a mix of spirea, astilbe and mountain ash,” states Jill Bondi, marketing manager at Midwest Groundcovers in St. Charles. “Its orange-red fall color is exquisite!” ‘Sem’ matures into a compact and rounded habit 3-4 feet tall and wide. It thrives in partial shade and needs a fertile soil with good drainage. This adaptable plant attracts butterflies while being deer-resistant. It suckers lightly, so keep an eye on it. Don’t be afraid to hack it back in spring. Plant in Zones 2 to 7.