Among the bewildering lists of shrubs, certain names stand out as new and unusual, or, on the other hand, tried and familiar. These include both the evergreen and deciduous types.
Rhododendron and azaleas (a type of rhododendron) head the list of evergreens with some 700 species. Hardy and long-lived, these ornamental woody plants have flowers of all shapes, colors and tints. Well-liked are the pink pearl, and the Rhododendron maximum, with its large pinkish flowers.
Hardy hybrid species also are the Boule de neige (white) ; the Abraham Lincoln and Lady Armstrong (pink) ; the Everestianum (purple) ; and the Caractacus (red). Rhododendrons won’t grow in limey soil, and humus should be supplied liberally to protect them from winter-burn.
Azaleas thrive under the same conditions as rhododendrons?that is, in partial shade?and like rhododendrons in general may be used for foundation planting; they do well in thin woodlands. The Azalea malus has flowers in pastel shades of orange, yellow and tan.
Boxwood has been a well-loved shrub for generations, especially where winters are not so severe. This evergreen can be pruned to formal rounded shapes. Left to grow, it sometimes attains 20 feet. It is used as a shrub for paths and walks.
Euonymus patens is an evergreen shrub that is hardy. It has glossy green leaves and red berries. Some of the evergreen holly shrubs, such as Japanese Holly, or Inkberry, are popular. Japanese Holly resembles boxwood.
Laurel is another familiar evergreen shrub, valuable for foundation planting. American mountain laurel bears clusters of pink flowers in spring.
Pachysandra (Japanese Spurge) is a dense evergreen ground cover for places where grass won’t grow. Among the deciduous shrubs, lilac is probably one of the best liked. If you buy lilac be sure that it is grafted either on its own stock or on privet stock. Plant lilac as early as the soil can be worked.
The common lilac, which has light purple flowers and reaches a height of about 10 feet, is the best known. There are several hundred varieties, in white, pinkish-lilac, reddish-lilac and bluish-lilac.