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Northern Spicebush, fragrant addition to the garden

This summer has been miserably hot and dry without the usual fast thunderstorms or nights of cooling rain. I spend too many mornings watering and trying to save my perennials from the blistering heat. I love working in the garden when the weather is pleasant, but I can no longer deal with the heat.

The garden once was filled with perennials and just a few shrubs, but in recent years, I have decided that shrubs, especially flowering shrubs, are easier to maintain than perennials. The good thing about shrubs is that they don’t all bloom in the spring. Many species bloom into the fall. Witch hazel (Hamamelis virginiana) blooms from October to December. Some, like hydrangeas, require minimal one-time deadheading. Many deciduous shrubs display striking fall color and produce berries that feed the birds and other wildlife.

Earlier this summer, I wrote about the addition of several Southern Arrowood (Viburnum dentatum) shrubs to our new garden. They are thriving despite the heat, and w...

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