Summer Flowering Shrubs for a Lasting Garden
Perhaps one of the best perennial shrubs that flowers all summer is Camellia. Different cultivars flower at various times, and in various colors, from October through May. So, acquiring two or three varieties will see your shrubs in bloom from autumn to spring. An outstandingly long-flowering variety is Camellia x williamsii ‘Donation’. Its glossy evergreen leaves are set off to perfection by the pink large flowers that bloom between February and May. It reaches a height and spread of 5 m x 2.5 m and is equally at home as a single, container grown plant as it is grown as an informal hedge. This medium height flowering shrub is particularly suitable for a semi-shady spot as the flowers will last longer out of direct sunlight.
Another perennial shrub smothered in long lasting spring blooms from March to May is flowering quince. Again, there are a number of cultivars offering different colored flowers. Chaenomeles x superba ‘Pink Lady’ offers deep pink flowers on bare branches, followed by fruit and glossy leaves. Particularly striking is ‘Crimson and Gold’ with its crimson flowers and yellow centers. Both are medium height flowering shrubs at a height and width of around 1.2 m x 2 m and are particularly effective trained against a wall. For a slightly larger cultivar at a height and width of 2.5 m x 5 m try Chaenomeles speciosa ‘Nivalis’. Pure white flowers smother its spiny branches before the leaves and fruits appear.
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Deutzia pulchra (deutzia) flowers from April to June. It makes an attractive specimen plant, or is equally at home in a border. Although it is frost hardy down to -5C it may need additional winter protection if temperatures fall below this on a regular, sustained basis. The dark green leaves on this shrub accentuate the clusters of white flowers, tinged with pink. It reaches a height and spread of around 2.5 m x 2 m.
Long Lasting Flowers from Summer to Autumn
One of the best long blooming flowering shrubs, with flowers appearing in June and lasting throughout until October Abelia x grandiflora (abelia) is hard to beat. Small pink-flushed trumpet-like flowers appear against dark leaves which it retains almost all year. Reaching a height and spread of 1.5 m x 1.2 m it is frost hardy and may need extra protection in prolonged sub-freezing temperatures.
A surprisingly fully hardy shrub is Hibiscus syriacus ‘Oiseau Bleu’ (tree hollyhock). Its trumpet-shaped, large blue flowers coupled with its three-lobed leaves give it rather an exotic-looking air. A hot summer will have it flowering prolifically from August to October, so it needs to be in a sunny spot. It reaches a height and spread of 3 m x 2 m. Try combining it with other late long flowering perennials for a colorful display right through until autumn.
Shrubs with long lasting flowers can be real features in any garden, blending in with surrounding plants or providing a backdrop. They also make significant specimen plants in their own right. For versatility there’s nothing better.