Spireas are some of the most beloved and familiar ornamental shrubs that are considered hardy and virtually invulnerable all-rounders. Spireas certainly can not be called boring. The scope of their use in the design of the garden is immense. These shrubs are so versatile that they can settle in any, even the brightest collection of perennials and annuals in beds of various sizes. The lacy touch of spring spireas and their ornamentalism bring special spring accents to the design of flower beds and squares, adding expressiveness to both the range of colors, textures and vertical structure.
Spring spires in flowerbed decoration
Spires with their unique and unparalleled winter hardiness and undemanding nature have become so common among us that many no longer perceive them as special, beautifully flowering bushes that can become the main stars of decoration. Spireas have gradually become second-rate plants, but in relation to their versatility and high ornamental value such status is completely unfair.
While today the main attention is focused on new species and varieties, as well as on plants that are rare and much more capricious, spireas are unrivaled not only in their outstanding endurance, but also in their lacy, delicate flowering, monumentality and graphicality. The arching shoots of these unique shrubs are decorated with variously dense inflorescences and can be perceived as magnificent openwork clouds.
The lace of spireas is inimitable, whatever species of spring-flowering or summer-flowering spireas we are talking about. But it is with spring spireas that the special, quivering and exquisite, romantic-pastoral beauty is shown in full force. The delicate blooming of spring spireas is worth using to decorate the spring garden in the most attractive and ceremonial compositions. After all, in flower beds, these amazing shrubs have the right place. Of course, spireas can also be used for groups with other shrubs and woody ones, and in borders, and for hedges. But it is in flower beds that you can take a new look at these unique shrubs.
The number of spring-flowering species of spireas is measured by more than half a dozen names. They are united not only by the fact that flower buds are laid on the shoots of the previous year (and, accordingly, flowering begins only on shoots at least 2 years old), but also by the ability to form numerous tillering shoots, a particularly dense, dense, yet graphic-architectural and openwork crown, which surprises with really beautiful texture in winter, summer, and autumn. The bright or dark coloring of the foliage perfectly accentuates the lacy blooms in pure white. And although the flowering of spring spireas is less long than that of summer species, but it is also more abundant. It's not for nothing that such species of familiar to all shrubs earned the nickname "May snow" or "May foam". Mature bushes of spring spireas can form up to 60 flowering branches.
In contrast to summer species, spring ones practically do not need pruning (except traditional rejuvenation and removal of damaged or very old, from 7 years old shoots). It is the absence of pruning that allows all spring spireas to be considered a versatile, effortless and uncomplicated flower garden care shrub that can be planted even in very complex compositions in the company of almost any plant (even in places that are difficult to approach). Such spireas are not afraid of close neighbors with perennials and groundcovers, which allows using them to create spectacular and dense plantings.
Spring spireas are universal as shrubs for flower beds and from the stylistic point of view. Spring species will look great in both natural style plantings, unrestrained country, and strict regular design. After all, their arc-shaped branches, despite the general picturesqueness of bushes, make a strict and smart impression, perfectly complement the geometric contours and motifs of compositions. The same bush of spring spirea in addition to different partners can be perceived cardinally differently.
Although all types of spring-flowering spireas are good in their own way, each plant differs in its particular beauty and decorative details, among the snow-white stars capable of blooming in spring there are their favorites, which will be best for decoration of flower beds. Let's take a closer look at the most spectacular spring-flowering spireas, which will become the stars of flower beds in any style.
The undoubted star among spring spireas, which in addition to solo parties can cope with the role of decorating any large ensemble - the hybrid Vangutta spirea (Spiraea x vanhouttei).
Spiraea x vanhouttei (Spiraea x vanhouttei). Scattered and showy, this spiraea, from 70 cm to 2 m high, is distinguished by its very thin, downward-facing branches from the center to the periphery of the bush, forming a bush of almost architectural silhouette and evoking associations with luxurious cascades. Leaves with a cool, emerald-blue shade of green contrast beautifully with most of the inhabitants of traditional flower beds and stand out even against the brightest ornamental-leaved herbaceous perennials with mottled or original coloration.
The Vanhoutte Spiraea does not start flowering until late May, and although it lasts only 3 weeks, the amazing whiteness and laceiness of this shrub makes such a lasting impression that even those three weeks will seem magical. The pure-white color of small flowers, collected in dense flat umbrellas of inflorescences gives the plant a special ornamentality. The inflorescences spread out along the full length of the shoot in such numbers that the branches bow almost to the base of the bush and look like lacy white lines or strokes. This type of spirea is capable of repeated flowering, and although less spectacular than the first, it still seems like a miracle in July and August.
The spectacular contrast of cool foliage with shining white inflorescences looks fresh and brings the effect of inner radiance to any decorative ensembles. Spiraea vangutta perfectly combines with both ornamental deciduous and beautifully flowering shrubs and perennials of all sizes and palettes.
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This is a striking and voluminous plant, a dominant accent that creates a solid white spot in any flower bed. Despite its love of space and sunshine, this spirea is not afraid of close proximity with perennials and other ornamental shrubs. Massive and showy, it is able to arrange strikingly structural accents in any compositions and bring order even where dozens of different types of plants are combined.
Any original, different from green color of leaves in flower beds looks like a special decoration. And this rule applies not only to herbaceous perennials, but also to shrubs. The grayish-green color of the leaves of Spiraea gray (Spiraea x cinerea), for which it got its species name, contrasts perfectly with neighboring crops.
The thin, beautifully curving branches of this shrub create a crown that looks like a green cascade. The height of strongly branched bushes can reach 2 m. The shoots are felted, ribbed. But the arches or cascade effect is most fully revealed only during flowering. If Spiraea vangutta seems to color flowerbeds with white lines or strokes, spiraea grey looks literally like a snow-white lace fountain.
Small white flowers of this plant with a tepid shade of color are collected in globular inflorescences about 2 cm in diameter. The inflorescences bloom densely along the entire length of the branches. When the height of the shrub is about 1 meter numerous flowering shoots create a striking impression.
This shrub looks very ornate and suitable for decoration in any style. The effect of a living fountain produces in any company when planted both as a single shrub and in a small group. In the conditions of the average strip the start of flowering of Spiraea grey falls in May and early June.
Spiraea oakleaf (Spiraea chamaedryfolia) is a largely underestimated plant, whose ornamentality is able to conquer in any decorative composition. This plant contrasts beautifully with irises, peonies and other large-leaved herbaceous stars, it looks lacy even when not in bloom.
Cascading, somewhat messy, strikingly airy and dense at the same time the crown is formed by shoots up to 1.5 m high, which bend during flowering almost to the ground. A very dense, dense, multi-stemmed shrub, nevertheless it does not look massive at all.
This is one of the most fragrant and early flowering species of Spiraea. Dense hemispheres of its inflorescences decorate the shoots as early as the beginning of May and remain on the shrub for about 25 days. It is one of the best shaping-tolerant species of spirea, which is wrongly recommended almost exclusively for hedges. But if you plant a bush in a flower bed, you will fully appreciate all the beauty and irregularity of this variety of spirea.
If you are looking for a real star for a spring flower bed, you should pay attention not only to individual species, but also to the already legendary varieties of spring spireas.
One of the most lushly flowered cultivars is the weeping and delightfully dense variety "Grefsheim" (Grefsheim). The fashionable cultivar Spirea gray is a unique spirea, which varies in height from 70 cm to 1 m. Numerous shoots, the number of which is simply impossible to count, form a dense weeping crown, falling in elegant arcs and creating an incredibly beautiful graphic-arched effect. This variety is considered one of the most beautiful for creating hedges, but it also makes by no means a less striking impression in a dense neighborhood with other decorative shrubs and perennials in the flower bed.
Another star of flower beds (though the emphasis is much smaller) - known here simply as 'Rainbow' - the variety Spiraea Nippon, whose full name sounds like 'Gerlve's Rainbow'. It is one of the most compact varieties of spring spireas, only about 0.5 m high. The bush is strikingly dense and almost spherical, seeming specially shaped by topiary art (i.e. the art of forming figures out of plants). The main advantage of this variety is not only abundant flowering, but also its variegated leaves. They in this variety are decorated with cream or pink spots, irregularly appearing in different light. In autumn, the pink-red fire covers the whole bush, making it the main competitor of barberries. Flowering, during which flat lace-like shields bloom on the bush, begins in June and lasts about 3 weeks.