Answer: Here are some of the best woody perennials for your gardening region:
Hydrangea aborescens ?Annabelle?: The classic brilliantly white ?mop-head? blooms of ?Annabelle? are evident from May-July, and can be 12" in diameter. The shrub?s shape is definitely a rounded mound, broader than high at maturity. Figure the height at 3-5'. Deciduous ?Annabelle? grows in full sun to part shade. Zone 3?9.
Berberis thunbergii ?Crimson Pygmy? (Dwarf Red Barberry): Reddish-purple foliage on this classic dwarf Barberry consists of small leaves on arching spiny stems at 2-3'. Insignificant yellow flowers appear in mid-spring and are followed by tiny red fruit. Here?s a shrub that handles most any kind of soil as long as it?s not waterlogged. Its dense habit, striking mahogany foliage, and ability to blend well with a host of perennials and other shrubs, accounts for its consistent popularity.
Zone 4?9 in full sun to part shade.
Spiraea japonica ?Little Princess? (Dwarf Bridal Wreath): Many clusters of pale pink, flat-topped flowers are carried above small dark green leaves in June and July, and intermittently into early fall. This handy dwarf deciduous shrub has a compact 2' height. Zone 4?8 in full sun.
Weigela florida ?French Lace?: This 3-4' deciduous shrub has arresting rose red nodding tubular flowers in May-June. But like so many shrubs of special interest to perennial gardeners, it?s the variegated foliage that offers a striking presence in the landscape all season long. Leaves are green with bright yellow margins. Zone 4?8 in full sun.
Or, you might try planting ornamental grasses - their leaf blades and flower spikes remain on the plant all winter long.
Good luck with your garden.
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