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Shrubs: An inexpensive landscaping option

Flowers may lose their luster at summer's end, but shrubs, which require little attention, deliver multi-season interest.

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Calycanthus floridus (Carolina allspice, strawberry shrub or common sweet shrub). Zones 5-9. "Best to select when in bloom, as fragrance of flowers vary," Buttala said.

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Clethra accuminata (cinnamon bark clethra). Zones 5-8. Small ivory-colored blooms in summer, followed by golden yellow leaves in fall. Brown bark peels to reveal a gray under-bark, making for a great display in winter.

Cornus alba "Elegantissima" (red-twig dogwood or cream-edge tatarian dogwood). Zones 2-8. "Great foliage and fantastic stems," Buttala said.

Cotinus "Grace" ("Grace" smoke tree). Zones 5-9. Purple leaves that turn red and orange in fall. Can be shaped and sized, but that may sacrifice its pink, smoke-like flowers.

Knockout and Flower Carpet roses. Zones 4-9. The Knockouts tend to grow vertically, while the Flower Carpets spread horizontally. Great border plants, especially when intermingled. Both are long blooming, from early spring until the fall frosts. Flower Carpets have glossier, disease-free leaves and seem more resistant to Japanese beetle infestations than do most other rose varieties. "They work well in multiples," Buttala said. "They're not as fussy. They're great in woodlands. Also great when added to other perennials."

Heptacodium miconioides (seven son flower), Zones 5-8. "Quick growing with beautiful, peeling white bark," Buttala said. "Great soft green leaves and fragrant white flowers... ."

Hydrangea quercifolia (oakleaf hydrangia). Zones 5-9. "Phenomenal in spring and summer when in bloom. Great, deep purple fall foliage that holds for months," he said.

Loropetalum chinense, rubrum "Carolina Midnight" (Carolina Midnight lorpetalum). Zones 7-10. "Sturdy enough to grow on median strips and phenomenal in leaf and in flower," said Buttala.

Physocarpus opulifolius "Monlo" (ninebark diablo). Zones 3-7. "Great flowers, bark and leaf color and, after flowering, red fruit."

Spiraea fritschiana (fritsch spirea). Zones 3-8. Summertime blooms; vibrant fall foliage colors in red, orange and yellow.

Vitex agnus-castus (lilac chastetree). Zones 6-9. Deer resistant plant with glossy green leaves and bright blue flowers.

Yucca "Color Guard" (Adam's needle). Zones 5-10. "Great foliage all year, and flowers that really give it another season," Buttala said.

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