Spring flowering shrubs

By Mike Lorenc, Conservation Garden Park

Spring may be the best time of year in the landscape. The bulbs are up, the perennials are filling out but best of all, the shrubs are blooming. Some of the most beautiful flowers in the garden come not from perennial flowers, but from shrubs. If you’re not sure what shrubs would look great in your landscape now is the time to visit Conservation Garden Park and take a look around. Just be sure to take a good sniff of any flowers you find as some of the more subtle blooms pack the greatest fragrance punch. Here is a partial list of Utah-happy shrubs blooming here in the garden this week!

  1. Golden Currant This Utah native is an irregular shaped shrub that has a mild spreading habit. The tiny but profuse flowers are a bright sun yellow and smell amazing. Also they develop an edible black currant berry in the fall that tastes good right off the shrub or made into jam or provide winter forage for birds.
  1. ‘Korean Spice’ Viburnum This 4 to 5 feet tall shrub has pretty, white snowball shaped flowers in the spring. These flower clusters have such a strong scent that it can be smelled from all over the landscape. The ‘Burkwood’ viburnum has the same flowers but is an 8 feet tall shrub.
  1. ‘Darts Gold’ ninebark The shrub is derived from a Utah native so it grows here on very little water. This shrub appears to bloom now but those “flowers” are actually the newly emerging leaves—in a screaming gold color. As a bonus, white flowers will appear later in the spring. This plant does turn lime green after the spring but is a much better-looking shrub into the summer than the popular forsythia.
  1. Yellowhorn A very uncommon shrub for Utah. This fairly large multi-trunked shrub/ small tree is a native to Northern China and is very tough once established. The white flowers with red centers cover every square inch of this plant for about two weeks in April and really is quite the spectacular sight. Hard to find but worth the effort.
  1. Japanese Kerria This a multi-stemmed shrub grows in clumps coming up from the ground. But in the spring the entire clump comes alive with bright yellow double flowers making for a pretty impressive display. Its stems are a chartreuse green that provide winter interest.
  1. Perry’s Agave Okay, we may be cheating a bit on this one! Perry’s agave is often called “The Century Plant” for a good reason, it only blooms once every 15 or so years- and then dies. It just so happens that we have a Perry’s agave here at the garden starting its blooming cycle and we are eagerly looking forward to the 15 feet tall flower that it produces. A truly once in a lifetime event (for the Agave anyway!)

The Conservation Garden Park is operating on extended spring hours, 8 am until 6:30 pm, Monday- Saturday. Stop by and see us! 8275 South 1300 West in West Jordan, Utah. http://Conservationgardenpark.org