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Good Investments

Shrubs are long-lived inhabitants that help create the architecture of our gardens.

A grouping of shrubs.

Annuals just last for one season, but shrubs, inarguably, can be described as good investments. They generally are long-lived inhabitants that help create the architecture of our gardens.

If we plant evergreens that provide interest even in winter, as well as a variety of deciduous shrubs, they can contribute year round and multiple points of interest in our yards. Even though deciduous shrubs lose their leaves in winter, they also usually have bark and branching and berries that contribute textural interest and may cast beguiling shadows on a snowy landscape.

Strive for a repertoire of shrubs with multi season appeal. For example, foliage, color, and texture; overall shape and silhouette; flowers, perfume, and fruiting. Plant them in groups; odd numbers usually look best, or as accents or sentinels in the garden. Combine them in beds and berms and hedges, and use them as screens to disguise utilitarian or unsightly parts of a property.

Water well for the first year in the life of every shrub so that its roots get well established. After that, maintenance in minimal. More modern shrubs are bred to grow shorter in stature than older varieties, which eliminates the need for tiresome pruning.

Moya Andrews

, originally from Queensland, Australia, served as Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs and Dean of the Faculties at Indiana University until 2004. In the same year, Moya began hosting Focus on Flowers for WFIU. In addition, Moya does interviews for Profiles, is a member of the Bloomington Hospital Board, and authored Perennials Short and Tall from Indiana University Press.

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