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.
Buzz® 'Hot Raspberry' Butterfly Bush (Buddleia davidii) wakes up summer’s doldrums with splendid raspberry-pink flowers. Blooming from early summer to late fall, the sweetly scented shrub is a magnet for many pollinators, especially butterflies. This compact habit is perfect for smaller spaces, a lovely addition to a perennial bed or large container planting. The flowers and foliage make lovely bouquets.
Buzz® 'Midnight' Butterfly Bush (Buddleia davidii) is an exciting compact butterfly bush with magnificent jewel-tones of rich purple and blue flowers that shower the garden with color and a sweet honey scent from early summer to late fall. A powerful attractor of butterflies and hummingbirds, it’s also deer and rabbit resistant. A perfect easy-to-grow upgrade for the perennial bed, container, hedge, or border.
A native shrub from the southwestern US, Littleleaf Mountain Mahogany (Cercocarpus intricatus) features attractive silvery evergreen foliage for year-round interest and bird habitat. Its compact size and outstanding durability make it an excellent choice for hedging and xeric landscaping. In mid-spring, the shrub is covered in plumes of tiny pale flowers, which are pollinated by small native bees to create feathery seed tails that catch the afternoon light.
A stunning early spring-blooming shrub with pendulous clusters of pink flowers, 'Claremont' Flowering Currant (Ribes sanguineum) is an essential nectar source for bees and migrating hummingbirds. In fall, foliage shifts to a warm apricot hue. Also known as Winter Currant, this California native displays edible inky black berries that attract birds. This fragrant, showy shrub is a great choice for small yards and patio gardens.