Colorful shrubs: a garden rainbow.
COLUMN: Your gardening answers
Have you considered the stellar role that variegated foliage can play in a bloomless garden? Many large and small shrubs are eye-catchers. From early spring until the autumnal colors liven our landscapes, shrubs with colorful season-long foliage are available to us.
The well-known and much-planted forsythia offers several upright, mounded, cold-hardy variegated leaved plants. Fiesta provides green and yellow foliage, red-barked stems and the expected yellow blooms in spring on a 5- to 6-foot plant. Citrus Swizzle forsythia is a shy-blooming, 12- to 18-inch tall by 2- to 3-foot-wide shrub whose foliage emerges chartreuse with a lime-green center variegation in the spring. Leaf color changes to creamy white as the season progresses. Note that all forsythias are not damaged by feeding deer and after establishment are drought-tolerant.
When dogwoods are mentioned, the homeowner thinks of trees, yet there are a number of dogwood (Cornus) shrubs. Cornus alba Ivory Halo (Ivory Halo Dogwood) develops into a compact, 6-foot-tall shrub with cream-edged variegated leaves that emerge from bright-red stems. The flat-topped white flowers are no more exciting than those of other shrub dogwoods. An excellent companion dogwood shrub is Cornus sericea Silver & Gold (Variegated Goldstem Dogwood), whose leaves are creamy-edged, growing from bright yellow twigs. A mixed planting using the red- and yellow-barked forms, both with variegated foliage, would have 12 months of landscape interest.
The mention of these two genera serves only as a bare indication of the foliage color available to you from among the cold hardy evergreens and shrubs available for your selection.
Visit a local well-stocked nursery, study the plants growing at Tower Hill Botanic Garden and Arnold Arboretum, and choose a variegated plant that suits your property.