Vermont Garden Journal: Plant Purple And Yellow Shrubs Amongst The Green

Aug 10, 2017

Many of our favorite flowering shrubs bloom in the spring and early summer then are nondescript for the rest of the growing season.

A way to brighten up those drab green shrubs is to grow colorful leaved varieties. There are shrubs with purple, yellow, red and variegated leaves that are beautiful even when they aren't flowering.

Purple is a great color as a backdrop to brighter-colored flowers or as a contrast to a light-colored house. Ninebark is one of  favorite shrubs with clusters of white flowers in spring and exfoliating bark in winter. There are colorful leaf versions, too. Try 'Summer Wine' with dark purple leaves, 'Coppertina' with a rich copper leaves, and 'Amber Jubilee' with yellow, orange and red foliage. Other purple-leaved shrubs to try include 'Wine and Roses' weigela, Purple Smokebush and 'Black Lace' elderberry.

Yellow and gold are good colors to brighten a shrub border or corner of your house.  'Nugget' ninebark has lime-green colored foliage. There's also 'Golden Spirit' smokebush, 'Lemony Lace' elderberry and a golden colored sumac named 'Tiger Eyes.'

If these colors are too dramatic for your yard, try some variegated white, gold-and-green leafed shrubs. There are variegated forms of weigela, viburnum, and euonymous.

Once you get the eye for the unusual colored shrubs, you'll notice them everywhere in garden centers and nurseries. Grow them as you would the green leaved versions, even in part shade. However, sometimes these unusual colored shrubs will be less vigorous and hardy than the original, so water and fertilize them well and protect them in winter.

And now for this week's tip: a good way to control insects like squash bugs and potato beetles is to squish the eggs on the undersides leaves. A fast way to do that without hurting the leaves is to use duct tape. Wrap duct tape around your fingers with the sticky side is facing out. Then touch or rub the egg masses with the duct tape. They stick to the tape and come right off the leaves.