Shrubs and Small Flowering Trees: Some Highlighted Favorites
by High Country Gardens
Shrubs and small trees are the long-term anchors of any well-designed xeriscape. Long-lived, they give your landscape a look and feel of maturity and permanence with a minimum of care and water. And they embody all the aspects of a habitat-friendly garden;
Their flowers are important nectar sources for all types of pollinators.
They provide shelter, food and nesting sites for songbirds.
They are excellent for use in windbreaks and to define property borders.
This is an Old World native of uncommon beauty and grace. Different from our previously offered Spring Butterfly Bush, this silver-leaved form is slightly smaller at maturity and more weeping in its branching structure.
The fragrant lavender-pink flowers are a magnet for butterflies and all types of bees. Hummingbirds will also sip the flowers if they are in your region when in flower. Blooming on last year's growth ("old wood") Silver Spring Blooming Butterfly Bush comes into color in late spring, long before the more common Butterfly Bush selections that begin blooming in early to mid-summer. A large grower, it should be planted in the back or sides of the landscape where it can spread out and grow without being sheared or heavily pruned; its mature shape is exceptionally graceful with the long weeping branches.
A long blooming white-flowered selection of our native desert willow, 'Hope' is also exceptionally cold hardy. Originally released over 30 years ago by the USDA Los Lunas Plant Materials Center in central NM, it has become very difficult to locate in commerce. But HCG is bringing it back to our customers as a wonderful companion to other pink or burgundy colored desert willows or as a striking stand alone specimen for attracting hummingbirds with its lightly fragrant, nectar-rich flowers.
A fabulous western native shrub found sporadically across the Southwestern US, a mature specimen in flower (and later in fruit) is fragrant and impressively beautiful. Very xeric once established, this species has evergreen, holly-like leaves and grows to very large size after many years. But the leaves are sharply spined and this shrub should be planted along the edges of your property where it can be used as a barrier or screening plant. Don't plant it where you are actively gardening as the fallen leaves are thumb-tack sharp. This shrub is invaluable for songbird habitat providing protected roosting protection, nesting sites and massive amounts of red berries for late summer feeding.
Few flowers can rival the delicious fragrance of Mock Orange. This western native shrub blooms in late spring with a blizzard of large, single white flowers that cover the plant. A big grower, plant Mock Orange along the back fence of your yard, on a sunny side of your house or garage where it will have plenty of room to spread its branches. Named for explorer Meriwether Lewis who identified the plant during their 1805-06 expedition of the Louisiana Purchase to find a water route to the Pacific Ocean.
Chamaebatiaria millefolium (also known as Desert Sweet or Fernbush) is a beautiful native shrub that brightens the garden in mid-summer with big clusters of bright white flowers. It also has attractive dried seed heads and olive-green foliage. Drought resistant perennial plant (xeric).
Dark Knight Blue Mist spirea (Caryopteris clandonensis) blooms with a profusion of dark blue flowers in late summer when few other shrubs are flowering. Its modest size makes it very useful in smaller yards. A fantastic nectar source for bees and butterflies. Drought resistant/drought tolerant plant (xeric).
An outstanding selection of our western native sand cherry, Pawnee Buttes® is a low growing, groundcover shrub with a profusion of fragrant white flowers in early spring and showy mahogany-red foliage in the fall. Drought resistant/drought tolerant plant. Prunus besseyi P011S is a 2000 Plant Select® introduction. 12-18" tall x 4-6' wide.
First Choice is a newer selection with particularly deep blue flowers and a more compact mature size than other Blue Mist spirea. Blooming late summer it is an invaluable nectar source for bees and butterflies. Drought resistant/drought tolerant plant (xeric).