by Rochelle Greayer
Top Row:  Berry Heavy® Gold Winterberry Ilex verticillata, Black Cat™ Pussywillow Salix chaenomeloides, Lemony Lace Elderberry Sambucus racemosa
Bottom Row:  Sweet Emotion™ Hardy abelia Abelia mosanensis, Kodiak™ Orange Bush Honeysuckle Diervilla, Sugar Shack® Buttonbush Cephalanthus occidentalis
I’m finally starting to believe that eventually these piles of snow will recede – we have a long way to go here in New England, but every day of runoff-wet roads lifts my winter weary spirits.  I’ve even started to plan for new plantings.
I’m hoping to add interest and variation to my garden-fresh bouquets and a whole variety of new shrubs by Proven Winners are catching my eye. Except for the Sugar Shack Buttonbush (Cephalanthus occidentalis) – which I planted last year and am hoping it has survived – all are new introductions that will make their way to garden centers in small pots this year (look for them via mail order too) and in bigger pots next year.
I look for things like texture and shape (in the form of berries, buds, leaf shape and blooms), color through all seasons, and fragrance when I think about plants that will serve the dual purpose of adding to the garden and beautifying an arrangement. This collection of shrubs will pair beautifully with the hydrangeas, peonies, dahlias and other blossoms that I already grow to make arrangments that are entirely different from what I can buy at the flower market (which is exactly what I want).  My spring fever is swelling – and I’m really looking forward to trying out these new additions!