New Shrubs Earn Respect in Landscape and Gardening Design

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Shrubs are the under-appreciated, unheralded plants in the landscape and garden. Nature Hills Nursery introduces new shrubs that earn respect from landscape designers and homeowners.

Shrubs don’t get no respect.

Call them the Rodney Dangerfields of the landscape. Shrubs are the under-appreciated, unheralded, forgotten plants in gardening. They provide much-needed greenery, and they fill the important gap between small flowering plants and the giants of the landscape, trees. But despite their crucial role in a great garden, shrubs just don’t get any respect.

“Every landscape needs shrubs,” said Jeff Dinslage, president of Nature Hills Nursery, an online seller of trees, shrubs and gardening supplies at “Not only are shrubs the backbone of a good landscape design, but when shrubs are properly selected for appropriate growing conditions and visual interest, they can become stars in the landscape.”

Shrubs Get Overlooked

Dinslage admits that most shrubs are overlooked because they have historically been known for their green foliage and roundish shapes. But a new crop of shrubs now offers distinctive colorful foliage and even bright flowers that can dazzle and delight.

One of the newest shrubs to garner attention in the gardening world is the Florida Sunshine Anise Shrub, also known by the botanical name Illicium parviflorum ‘Florida Sunshine.’ This broadleaf evergreen shrub can be used as an accent plant, or planted together to form a vibrant hedge along a property line. Unlike most shrubs, ‘Florida Sunshine’ has eye-catching bright-green leaves that turn yellow-gold in the spring and summer months.

A Ray of ‘Florida Sunshine’

“Florida Sunshine Anise is just as the name implies—a ray of bright sunshine for your yard,” said Dinslage. “It’s an evergreen shrub that delivers superb four-season color and also provides a sumptuous fragrance. It even has small white flowers in the spring.”

‘Florida Sunshine’ will grow up to 8 feet tall and 6 feet wide, and it is cold hardy in USDA zones 6-9. It has no significant disease issues and insects tend to leave it alone. A 3-gallon plant sells for $49.95 from

A Flowering Star in the Landscape

Another of Dinslage’s favorite shrubs is a new flowering rhododendron called ‘P.J.M.’

“P.J.M. Rhododendron is a star among flowering shrubs because of its profusion of pink blooms in springtime, which the butterflies and hummingbirds love,” he said. “When it is not in flower, this shrub is a compact, broad-leaf evergreen with a mounded, neat appearance that fits nicely into most landscape and gardening designs.”

P.J.M. Rhododendron typically grows 4-6 feet tall and about 4 feet wide. It is one of the most reliable rhododendrons for northern climates and will grow in USDA Zones 4-8. P.J.M. thrives is acidic soil and grows best in full sun to partial shade. Plant it in a location protected from strong winter winds. Plants in a 2-gallon container sell for $49.95 at, (888) 864-7663.

Dinslage points out that there are many new and interesting shrubs and small trees that introduce colors, shapes and fragrances into the gardening landscape. Burning Bush (Euonymus alat), Chaste Tree (Vitex agnus-castus), and ‘Berry Heavy’ Holly (Ilex verticillata ‘Spravy’) are just a few of the shrubs that can play a starring role in the yard.

“Maybe shrubs don’t get respect because we tend to plant too many of the boring ones,” said Dinslage.

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since: 09/2010
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