Looking for an interesting, showy plant for your landscaping or around a patio? This is St John’s Wort. It has small yellow flowers and red berries as well colorful leaves – dark green older leaves and bright yellow-green new leaves. There are several varieties so check this page at Monrovia to get the proper one for your growing zone.
This plant is deciduous but keeps its leaves through December, then they turn brown when really cold weather hits. In the Spring, I have to prune the dead wood and wait for the plant to regrow all over again. This plant has been in two years and doesn’t grow much bigger than it is here. Some of the photos on the Monrovia page have much larger plants.
If you’re making some landscape plans this spring and would like an interesting plant, I recommend the “Lily of the Valley” shrub (Pieris japonica). It’s colorful year-round and is ever-changing its colors. New leaves are burgundy and contrast nicely with the light-green older leaves. Year round it has flower fronds that resemble lily-of-the-valley flowers.
The plant in the photo is near my front door so it’s easily seen. The way it looks now is pretty much the way it looked all winter long – although our winter was very mild. If you click on the above botanical name link, you can read more details on Monrovia’s website.
Other plants that I’m really enjoying – and also in the front yard near the sidewalk – are Spice Viburnums. The flowers have been open a few days now but they’ll soon go away. As the name indicates, the flowers are a very spicy fragrance, similar to a hyacinth. I recommend putting the plants where you will be able to enjoy the fragrance. Around a patio would be perfect, since the shrubs also provide a nice screen.
Eventually small berries appear where the flowers were, but the birds will soon clean them off the branches. I have a bird feeder nearby, so the birds love to use these shrubs as quick cover because they’re so dense. The shrubs in the photo are about 4-ft tall and are several years old – so they’re slow growers. A word of caution … rabbits like to eat the lower leaves and will stand on their hind legs to do so!
There are several varieties of viburnums but the flowers on other types aren’t as fragrant. I have three leather-leaf viburnums in the backyard for high screening. They’re much larger plants and faster growing, but the flowers aren’t very fragrant. The berries are larger and the birds REALLY like them. The rabbits eat the bottom leaves on those plants as well. Wascally Wabbits!
One of the best valued fix-ups a homeowner can do to their home is their landscaping. If the home doesn’t have any when you buy it, then plant some as soon as you can … even before you add a deck. That way the plants can be growing – and increasing in value – as you enjoy living in the home. Then when you’re ready to sell, buyers will love the privacy you’ve built into the yard.
When I moved into my home 14 years ago, the only landscaping was the typical junipers under the front windows, a little sand cherry shrub at the corner, and a sapling maple in the front. In the years since, I have worked on doing a section at a time, so many of the plants are maturing and giving a nice privacy screen from the neighbor’s lawns. I try to select plants that provide food, cover and nesting for the birds that I feed. Some of the plants are also providing cover for the chipmunks and Attack Rabbits that have taken up residence in my lawn. I may have carried this nature thing a little too far.
They came … they saw … they stayed!
Last week, it was time to undo the builder’s plants in the front, plus, I had other plants that needed divided and moved to other locations. I use Outdoor Makeovers to do my work, so I called Bruce – the Sales Manager – to tell him I was ready to get rid of the front junipers and the sand cherry that was now a full-grown scrubby tree. We met, I gave him my ideas & budget, then he created a plan based on that. They did all the work last week, so I took before-after photos. I think everything we’ve done over the years is shaping up nicely.
Want to investigate different types of plants? Visit Monrovia‘s website for a great way to search for plants based on growing zones, light, water, etc.