Plants of the month Two stun­ning spring-flow­er­ing shrubs

Flow­er­ing shrubs add height as well as colour to your gar­den; here are two stal­warts.

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Snow­ball bush

(Vibur­num op­u­lus ‘Ro­seum’) With its showy creamy-white flow­ers in spring, the snow­ball bush makes a strik­ing plant that can’t be missed! Its blooms are ac­tu­ally clus­ters of lit­tle flow­ers that to­gether re­sem­ble a ball. The flow­ers are ini­tially green, turn­ing creamy-white over time un­til the shrub is cov­ered in a mass of blooms for about four weeks. In au­tumn, it pro­vides even more colour in your gar­den when the leaves change colour.

The snow­ball bush likes good sum­mer rain; keep it moist in sum­mer in win­ter rain­fall re­gions and in those ar­eas that ex­pe­ri­ence very dry sum­mers. It also prefers cool to cold win­ters and won’t do well in very dry in­land ar­eas or in the warm, hu­mid parts of the coun­try. Plant it in the sun, al­though it prefers semi-shade in ar­eas with a hot, dry spring – also keep the roots cool with a thick layer of mulch.

The shrub needs fairly rich and fer­tile soil, and likes a spot that is shel­tered from the wind.

Both of these shrubs get big. Keep the ma­ture plants’ size in mind when de­cid­ing where to plant them.

By Marié Ester­huyse Pho­to­graphs Fran­cois Ober­hol­ster and Sally Chance

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