Flowering shrubs are the backbone of the garden. Get familiar with these beauties to add some spring bling to your garden.

Crabapple (Malus floribunda)
Profuse crimson buds open to single white blossoms on the leafless tree.
Grow: gets to 8 x 8m and makes a handsome shade tree in warm and cool climates. Prefers good rich soil and supplementary summer watering. No pruning needed. The fruit makes delicious jelly!

Betchel crab (Malus ioensis ‘Plena’)
Creamy pink double blossom smothers the tree late in spring, appearing at the same time as the new leaves.
Grow: suited to cool climates and deep rich soil. No pruning needed; will get to 8 x 8m.

**Flowering peach** (Prunus persica) There are a couple of different forms: ‘Albo plena’ is white and ‘Klara Mayer’ is double pink; ‘Versicolour’ is smaller than the others and is red and white. Grow: suited to cool and warm climates in moist, well drained, fertile soils in full sun or part shade. Flowers best when pruned immediately after flowering. Spray to prevent leaf curl. Grows to 4m x 4m.

Weeping cherry (Prunus subhirtella ‘Pendula’)
Curtains of flowers reminiscent of pale pink lace spill from a single trunk grafted at 2m for 10 days in spring. ‘Snow Fountain’ has a single white blossom and grows to 2.5m. For cool climate gardens. Makes a lovely avenue or feature tree with spring bulbs planted beneath. Remove any growth from below the graft.

Flowering pear (Pyrus calleryana)
This family of ornamental trees produces white spring blossom and glorious autumn foliage. ‘Aristocrat’ grows to an 11m x 7m oval. ‘Chanticleer’ is a columnar 10m x 5m.
Grow: Good in warm and cool climate gardens. Not fussy about soil but improved rich soil will produce a better tree. Moderate to fast growth rate. No pruning needed. No edible fruit.

Taiwan cherry (Prunus campanulata)
This upright, vase-shaped, small tree, 4m x 3m, is the first of the blossoms into flower with cerise, bell-shaped blooms in late July.
Grow: Great for small gardens, especially Japanese style gardens, in subtropical, warm and cool zones. Hardy, no need for pruning, feeding or spraying, attracts honey eaters.

Flowering plum (Prunus x blireana)
Double, rose pink flowers sport a fluff of dark pink stamens on a small tree, 3m x 3m. The flowers are followed by dramatic bronze purple foliage.
Grow: Popular choice for streets or long driveways. It’s well suited to warm climates, and is tolerant of drought and varied soil conditions but prefers moist, well drained fertile soil in full sun.

Mock Orange (Philadelphus)
A favourite with cottage gardeners for its long lasting, citrus scented, late spring blooms held on arching stems in a natural vase shape. The flowers are pure white with a cluster of golden stamens. Give it enough room to show off, 3m x 3m, and after flowering remove older canes at ground level to make way for fresh canes and extra flowers.

**Snowball tree** (Viburnum opulus sterile) A shrub made of snowballs seems unbelievable and yet there it is, spring after spring. Brilliantly coloured maple-like leaves in autumn follow the pure white balls of spring flowers. Prefers full sun to part shade, morning sun is best. 3m x 2m. Prune as needed after flowering.

Californian lilac (Ceanothus ‘Blue Pacific’)
This quick growing shrub produces a cascade of cobalt blue, honey scented flowers displayed against dark green glossy leaves. As the shrub matures, old dead branches remain beneath so choose a spot where you can underplant and enjoy the view from above. Prune lightly after flowering. 3m x 3m.

**Lilac** (Syringa sp) Lilacs are deciduous shrubs with purple, plum, lilac or white flowers, and one of the most evocative perfumes in the garden. Native to north-eastern Asia and the Balkan Peninsula, they do best in cool climates with solid frosts, and in well drained soils. Prune the finished flower heads, or cut armfuls of blooms to enjoy indoors.
**Mountain laurel** (Kalmia latifolia) Native to the Appalachian mountains of North America, these evergreen beauties thrive anywhere that rhododendrons grow. They prefer acidic, peaty soil and dappled light. The flowers are held in clusters well clear of the foliage for a stunning effect. Remove spent flower clusters. 3m x 3m.