Favorite Shrubs and Ground Covers in my April Garden


Here in the Mid-Atlantic there’s plenty of blooming action among bulbs, but in my own garden I only have eyes for my newest plants, especially the ones with big job requirements – shrubs for screening and groundcovers to do the obvious.

So take this Koreanspice viburnum, for instance. (V. carlesii). It’s full-grown now in its 7th year – a nice small size for small gardens – but this year it’s in a new spot, where it provides just enough privacy between my porch and the sidewalk behind my back yard.

After its super-fragrant blooms are gone the shrub looks a bit boring but hey, it’s still doing its job, with no work on my part.

Here’s a different view of that Viburnum with blooms of a ‘Forest Pansy’ redbud in its second spring here. On the right you see the privacy screen I had built about a year ago for the purpose of blocking of an ugly view, and love it!

Here’s a closer shot of the screen with ‘Ogon’ Spireas on either side and an Oakleaf Hydrangea leafing out in the middle.

Above and below are views of the screen from the sidewalk at the rear of the back yard. Above, the ‘Rising Sun’ redbud I planted last fall, in bloom.

Here the redbud’s leaves have turned yellow (thus the name ‘Rising Sun’) and a Fothergilla is blooming. Like the Koreanspice viburnum, Fothergillas aren’t much to look at once the blooms are gone, but in this out-of-the-way location that’s fine.

Now for a couple of groundcovers, starting with golden groundsel (Packera aurea), which is evergreen, native, and a reliable spreader in shady spots. I love it in this spot where it’s far from any azaleas, which bloom at the same time and to my eyes, look terrible combined with gold blooms like these.

Another groundcover I’m forever recommending is also evergreen; it’s the old-fashioned comfrey (Symphytum grandiflorum) just starting its long bloom period. Comfrey can also handle shade and spreads reliably, so I can’t figure out why no one grows them. Or sells them, for that matter.

Here in my front garden, more comfrey is filling in quickly around the foundation shrubs. Another ‘Ogon’ Spirea is at work hiding my new mini-split HVAC, which can just barely be seen behind it. Also shown is an Osmanthus heterophyllus ‘Goshiki’ (another of my favorite shrubs of all time) and an unidentified azalea.

That’s all for now from my little Maryland garden.


  1. I had the pleasure to service an older woman in my neighborhood in Stockton and she had a lovely bouquet of roses and tulips around her ac unit. Looked absolutely stunning!
    Also bougainvillea is another great adaptable shrub that can be used to keep out pesky critters like raccoons and possums.

  2. Let’s give a little more love to that Fothergilla! At least in my yard (mid-Hudson Valley) its foliage turns a splendid yellow and bronze in the fall. Not quite as four-season as oakleaf hydrangea (no peeling bark here) but pretty good nonetheless.


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