New shrubs for 2013

In my heart of hearts, I’m a fair-weather gardener. I’d rather stay indoors when it’s too cold or too hot, but my weather doesn’t often cooperate. I sometimes fantasize about living in Hawaii where I would enjoy this very situation, but not for long.

Mushroom containers repurposed as seed starting containers
Mushroom containers repurposed as seed starting containers

I sowed most of the seeds I’m starting indoors, and they sit cozy beneath their chicken grit and plastic germinating blankets atop heat mats. Once these were finished, and I could no longer stall, I braved the cold for two days planting cold-weather seeds like peas, lettuce, spinach, beets etc., along with several shrubs I ordered from Forest Farm. It may seem odd that I purchased shrubs all the way from Oregon, but if you want the odd or eclectic, Forest Farm is a great place to hand over your money.

I desire more spring color in the berm our driveway surrounds. Bill doesn’t know, but I’m slowly filling it in to the point where one day there won’t be any grass growing on the burm. Less mowing. Less stress on the watering system than grass.

Don’t tell. I think I have him fooled. Not.

The shrubs I planted are:

Aronia arbutifolia ‘Brilliantissima’ red chokeberry, a U.S. native and Oklahoma Proven Selection in 2009. Really, everyone in Oklahoma should grow this tree for its brilliant–get it–fall color and persistent berries. Pollinators like the flowers, and birds enjoy the berries. It is adaptable to our crazy soils too.
Three Cotoneaster horizontalis ‘Variegatus’–to place in the lower tiered beds and cover some of the walls. I got this idea from a video of Carol Klein and her cottage garden. You haven’t watched Carol Klein? Well, you’re missing out on one of the most enthusiastic British gardeners. She’ll take you by the hand and help you. I got variegated ones though because I’m contrary like that.
Hamamelis x intermedia ‘Orange Beauty’ just because I love witch hazels. One more can’t hurt.
Viburnum carlesii Koreanspice. I’ve wanted this viburnum since dear Carol, from May Dreams Gardens and who hosts Bloom Day, planted one and talked about its fantastic scent.
Ilex decidua ‘Red Escort’. I already have the female tree, ‘Warren’s Red.’ Possumhaws are native to the U.S. ‘Warren’s Red’ was a branch sport discovered and selected by Otis Warren and Son Nursery in Oklahoma City. I can’t locate when they selected it, but it’s a bittersweet memory from a local nursery that is long gone.
Lindera benzoin spicebush is a native shrub and host plant for Swallowtail butterflies. My naturalist friend, Gail, from Clay and Limestone encouraged me to consider it.
Philadelphus coronarius ‘Aureus,’ gold-leaved mock orange, is one I considered ever since I read about it on Margaret’s blog, A Way to Garden. Margaret and I share a tender affection for golden-leaved and chartreuse plants. I trust her suggestions. Although I don’t see many mock oranges planted here, I smelled one in North Carolina that I almost got out the clippers and snipped off a branch to root. Not really. I’m a better garden visitor than that, but I can’t say the thought didn’t cross my mind. I’m human.
Prunus mume ‘Kobai’ Japanese apricot, as suggested by J. C. Raulston, an Oklahoma transplant who inspired everyone he knew. This one scented my entire house when I lifted it out of the box. Only one bloom was open on a small whip of a tree. I placed it in an empty partially-sunny spot where an early cherry tree died long ago.
All of these shrubs will grow where water either drains, or the irrigation system already flows. I’ve spent too many summers trying to keep up hand watering and failing. Shrubs and trees are a long-term relationship and expensive too. They get the star treatment here.



  1. I like your list of new shrubs. I want to add a few more witch hazels…love their winter color and fragrance. Love the fragrance of the V. carlsii, can’t go wrong there!!

    1. Dee Nash says:

      Janet, they are truly wonderful aren’t they? I can’t wait for mine to really begin.

  2. I saw Viburnum carlesii at a local botanical garden two years ago, and put it on my ‘wants’ list. An employee at the garden, however, said it did have a few pest problems. If true, I thought that’s unusual for virburnums. Keep us updated.

  3. Gail says:

    Lovely shrubs Dee…You won’t be disappointed by any of them.I love my little spicebush. Look for curled leaves this summer~there may be a swallowtail caterpillar hiding there! I have two fragrant viburnums and they are all that Carol says~wonderfully scented in the spring and beautiful leaf color in the fall. Thank you for the kind shoutout. xogail

  4. Leslie says:

    Your choices all sound so interesting…someday maybe we’ll see a photo of that berm all filled in. It sounds wonderful.

  5. Ann says:

    Please let us know how the shrubs do in your area. They sound very interesting.

  6. I love your choices. I have most of the shrubes you selcted to grow in your garden and have enjoyed their beauety and their fragrances over the past several years. The latest introduction was the Aronia and that was planted last spring. Good luck…

  7. Sweetbay says:

    I’ve seen ‘Aureus’ at the JC Raulston Arboretum, it is very striking, especially in dappled shade. Lots of P. mume there too.

  8. Holleygarden says:

    Sounds like some great selections! I have been wanting a few of these myself, but I have not yet hit the “buy” button. I’m going to check into the red chokeberry. If it’s a must have for Oklahoma, I bet I need it here, too! 🙂

  9. Jason says:

    What a great selection! I have the spicebush and the black chokeberry. I’d really like to find a good spot for the Viburnum carlesii.

  10. They all sound great. Most of them could grow here, as well, which kind of surprised me,as our climates are so different. As a matter of fact, I planted Lindera benzoin last spring. Looking forward to its early bloom

  11. Dee how I wish I could be outside planting cool weather veggies…still snowing and snow covered here…love some of your choices…I will have to look for that mock orange.

  12. Carol says:

    Dee, thanks for the shout out. I know you will enjoy the Korean Spice Viburnum… good flowers, good scent, clean foliage, and good fall color. All good!

Comments are closed.