I don’t know about you, but this is the time of year my garden starts to look kind of blah. There is a lot of green out there and not a whole lot more happening right now. The early summer flowers are spent and the wait begins for the next round to, once again, kick into gear. There are flowering shrubs, however, that will fill the gap during the mid-summer lull when we could really use some color. These workhorses will be blooming when other things aren’t. Most are drought tolerant and they all bloom for a long time.
Here are some suggestions for flowering shrubs that will grow easily and well in the Treasure Valley and add some interest to our summer garden.
Butterfly Bush (Buddleia davidii) This shrub can grow to about 10 feet or more but can be controlled with spring pruning. It can be found in a variety of colors and will bloom from summer into autumn. It’s fairly drought tolerant once established and does best in full sun. It’s not called a butterfly bush for nothing because you’ll find butterflies fluttering around this shrub all summer long.
Blue Mist Spirea (Caryopteris varieties) Also called Bluebeard shrub, this plant can grow to about 4 feet tall. The gray-blue foliage is topped by a mist of small blue flowers that last from summer into fall. This shrub can take the heat and is drought tolerant, too. Grow this plant in full sun and enjoy the birds and butterflies that enjoy it, too.
Rose of Sharon (Hibiscus syriacus) This shrub is covered with tropical looking flowers from early summer until frost and will fill a corner of your garden with colors ranging from white to pinks to blues. This shrub is also drought tolerant and can grow to about 10 feet.
Hydrangea paniculata This hydrangea is a show stopper that puts on a show for months. Luckily, it is the easiest hydrangea to grow. It can get up to 10 feet tall and will grow in either full sun or part shade. It produces upright panicles of creamy white flowers in late summer and autumn that fade to tawny pink. Flowers can be removed and dried for arrangements.
Summer Sweet (Clethra alnifolia) This shrub is special because it will bloom in the shade. It will tolerate some morning sun but should be protected from our harsh afternoon sun. Summersweet can grow to about 5 feet and the pink or white blooms are quite fragrant. Ruby Spice is a variety that will give you an extra long bloom, which is great for watching hummingbirds. This shrub is not drought tolerant.
Shrub Rose These roses aren’t at all fussy and will have you rethinking roses. Shrub roses, for example the ‘Knock Out” variety, bloom all season and are self cleaning, meaning they need no dead heading. Drought tolerant once established and disease resistant, these tough roses come in shades of pink, white, yellow and red.