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Allan designs and plants flowering gardens in Montreal, Zone 5 [USDA Zone 4] .

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Three Pink Flowering Miniature Shrubs for the Perennial Border

Some flower borders are more interesting than others. Those that contain a mixture of small shrubs and perennials may be more appealing to the eye than compositions that contain only flowers. One reason is that ornamental shrubs enrich a flowerbed by providing additional structure, shape, texture, rhythm, and the sporadic color of seasonal flowers. All of these factors will influence where in the plant composition a shrub should be placed. Miniature ones usually show best at the perimeters of the flowerbeds.

Ornamental shrubs also act as a backdrop that enhances the beauty of nearby plants. In winter, when the perennial garden is barren, both evergreen and deciduous shrubs will continue to provide visual interest until the arrival of spring.

Recently, I discovered three miniature shrubs that I believe have merit for the front row of a perennial border. When their color and diminutive size popped out at me from the pages of a recent catalogue, I decided to order them for my test garden. Therefore, I draw readers attention with some reservation, as I will be unable to report on these plants until I have observed their performance.

Image;- polifolia Blue Ice is an evergreen shrub with silver-blue foliage that resembles rosemary. A profuse bloomer, it produces delicate bell-shaped pink flowers in April and grows 30 cm or 12 inches tall and 50 cm or about 20 inches wide.

It is comfortable in either full sun or part shade, and thrives in Canadian Zone 2 aka USDA Zone 3. Suitable for rock gardens, it prefers acidic soil. Heather plant,  Calluna vulgaris Country Wicklow grows 40 cm or about 16 inches  high and wide. It has a low compact habit and its mid-green foliage is a fine background for double shell-pink flowers that bloom from July to October. A sun loving plant, it is hardy to Canadian Zone 4, i.e. USDA Zone 5.

Image:-, Erica carnea Vivellii,, is a slow-growing, neat, low, broadly- spreading evergreen shrub with dark green foliage, tinged purple in winter. It prefers acidic soil conditions. This plant grows in sun to part shade to about 25 cm or 10 inches high and 50 cm or about 20 inches wide. Hardy to Canadian Zone 4 and USDA Zone 5, it will bloom from November to May, depending upon climate.

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Reader Comments (6)

I am always on the lookout for small shrubs. Going to check out the Andromeda polifolia Blue Ice a bit further.

January 23, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterAlistair

Hi Allan,

do you normally amend the soil's pH for these acid-loving plants in your/client's gardens? Is it successful on a long-term basis?

January 24, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterPaul at Garden Muses

I love that Andromeda! I wonder if I'll be able to find it around here in spring (Western Washington).

January 24, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterEmily

Here in Quebec, I haven't found it necessary to amend soil pH for any of my clients' gardens. Before I arrive to plant, most of them have already built dedicated flowerbeds with suitable soil. In keeping with my low-maintenance philosophy, I plant anything and hope that it grows. In most cases, it does. However, on the very rare occasion when it doesn't, I replace it with a different plant. The only exception to my rule applies to Rhododendrons. They are so expensive that I must take precaution. Therefore, after I plant, I spread a layer of coir or peat moss over the soil.

January 24, 2013 | Registered CommenterAllan

That looks like it would help me out with the front flower beds. They're quite deep and under very wide eaves. Will have to look into it, thanks for the tip.

January 27, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterDiane C

This looks like a great small shrub, have not heard of it here!


January 28, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterEileen

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