A great landscape design features a few focal points that create interest and provide color. One of the easiest ways to create interesting focal points is with flowering shrubs. But, unfortunately, shrubs are often under-appreciated and under-utilized.

This spring, a delightful selection of new flowering shrubs is sure to get the attention they deserve. Their size will stand out above flower beds, while their large, colorful and often scented floral displays will add a touch of drama—often for weeks at a time. Once established, these flowering shrubs reward the patient gardener with consistent performance year after year, often requiring only a yearly pruning to keep looking tidy.

Of all the flowering shrubs in the world, roses are arguably the most popular. They come in a stunning variety of colors, shapes and sizes. So it’s not surprising that this year brings us two outstanding new varieties—‘Obsession,’ a 2015 Rose of the Year winner, and ‘Pure Posh,’ a heavenly scented hybrid tea rose. Also worthy of a starring role in the landscape is a large hydrangea called ‘Gatsby’s Moon’ and the stunning ‘P.J.M.’ Rhododendron.

If you’re looking to add the beauty of a flowering shrub to your garden this year, you can’t go wrong with these selections, which are described in full below.

Hydrangea-Gatsbys-Moon-webGatsby’s Moon™ Hydrangea Offers Spectacular Blooms
Imagine the beauty of a full moon on a summer night and you can begin to describe a new hydrangea variety called Gatsby’s Moon™. Reaching heights up to 10 feet tall, this opulent hydrangea makes a spectacle of itself with immense leaves and huge, plush blooms. After Gatsby’s Moon was tested in trial gardens all over the world, it was chosen as a Proven Winners® ColorChoice® plant because of its exceptional blooms and outstanding garden performance.

The blooms set ample cones of double white florets, creating a rich and varied texture. The flowers start as vibrant white, then they slowly take on lime tinges as they mature. Each bloom has plenty of time to mature because Gatsby’s Moon blooms for months at a time, keeping the flowers coming all summer long. This hardy shrub is wonderfully weather resistant, so nothing will stop the blooms from putting on their show. The huge leaves make this shrub stand out all year long, especially when the leaves turn a deep red in the fall.

Gatsby’s Moon is adaptable to a wide range of growing conditions, and it performs well in most well-drained soils. In the southern U.S. it prefers some shade, and in the north it likes full sun and some shelter from the chilliest winds. Gatsby’s Moon blooms on old growth, so it is recommended that the plant be trimmed after it is finished flowering in the late summer. Fertilize in early spring with a slow-release tree and shrub fertilizer. This vigorous beauty is cold hardy throughout USDA Zones 5 to 9. Each plant in a quart-sized pot sells for $22.95, or three plants sell for $18.95 each from Wayside Gardens, www.waysidegardens.com, 800-845-1124.

Rose-Pure-Posh-200dpi‘Pure Posh’ is a Rose for Your Eyes and Your Nose
If a heavenly fragrance is what you’re looking for in a rose, your search is over with a new variety called ‘Pure Posh.’ This new rose lives up to its name with its elegant blossoms that are a full 5 inches across and comprised of 25 to 30 petals, each one infused with rich fragrance and a shade of lavender that stands out in any garden setting.

Each beautifully formed lavender blossom on a ‘Pure Posh’ Hybrid Tea Rose is awash with delectable perfume. With their impressive size and long, sturdy stems (14 to 18 inches long), the flowers are perfect for enjoying on the plant or cutting for indoor enjoyment in a vase. The attractive, healthy plant is covered with glossy, dark green leaves, and at maturity, it reaches 5 feet high and 4 feet wide, creating an impressive display in the landscape. ‘Pure Posh’ Hybrid Tea Rose thrives throughout USDA Zones 5-10.

A one-year-old bareroot plant sells for $24.95, or three plants sell for $22.95 each from Jackson & Perkins, 800-292-4769, www.jacksonandperkins.com. Plants are shipped in spring at the proper time for your planting zone. ‘Pure Posh’ is also available as a 24-inch patio tree rose and a 36-inch tree rose, which make a perfect accent for patios, balconies and decks—and also stand out in pairs flanking a doorway or garden entrance.

Rose-Obsession-200-dpi‘Obsession’ Floribunda Named 2015 Rose of the Year
Each year, a few special rose introductions capture the attention of gardeners and rose lovers because of the exquisite color of their flowers, their scent, and their overall garden attributes. For all of these reasons, ‘Obsession’TM Floribunda has been selected as Jackson & Perkins’ 2015 Rose of the Year®.

Obsession™ is the new “must-have” floribunda rose because of its vibrantly red, lightly spice-scented blooms and 3½-foot-high by 3-foot-wide habit of dark green, glossy leaves. In a garden setting or when planted as a focal specimen in a large container, ‘Obsession’TM Floribunda Rose is a gorgeous well-balanced plant.

Jackson & Perkins is known for introducing new varieties of roses that quickly become standards by which other roses are judged, and ‘Obsession’ TM is destined to become a garden favorite. Everything about it is sure to delight, from its irresistible flowers (4 inches wide, with 20-25 bright red petals) to its attractive, healthy foliage to its fantastic garden performance.

‘Obsession’TM Floribunda Rose is hardy throughout USDA Zones 5-10. A one-year-old bareroot plant sells for $22.95, or three plants sell for $19.95 each from Jackson & Perkins, 800-292-4769, www.jacksonandperkins.com. Plants are shipped in spring at the proper time for your planting zone. ‘Obsession’ TM is also available as a 24-inch patio tree rose and a 36-inch tree rose, which make a perfect accent for patios, balconies and decks—and also stand out in pairs flanking a doorway or garden entrance.

PJM-Rhododendron-200dpiP.J.M. Rhododendron is a Star Among Flowering Shrubs
Because of their bright flowers and evergreen foliage, rhododendrons can be used as dramatic focal plants in the landscape. They can also be used throughout a landscape as sturdy anchor plants that offer the bonus of blooms in late spring.

P.J.M. Rhododendron is a star among flowering shrubs because of its profusion of pink blooms in springtime, which the butterflies and hummingbirds love. When it is not in flower, this shrub is a compact, broad-leaf evergreen with a mounded, neat appearance that fits nicely into most landscape designs. P.J.M.’s foliage covering is dense, and its evergreen leaves turn a wonderful deep mahogany-purple as winter approaches. Later in the winter, the foliage color intensifies even further in more sunlight.

P.J.M. Rhododendron typically grows 4-6 feet tall and about 4 feet wide. In some settings it can reach 10 feet tall and 6 feet wide. It is one of the most reliable rhododendrons for northern climates and will grow in USDA Zones 4-8. P.J.M. thrives is acidic soil and grows best in full sun to partial shade. Plant it in a location protected from strong winter winds. P.J.M. loves to be planted with pre-moistened peat moss and well-drained soil is a must. Plants in a 2-gallon container sell for $49.95 at www.naturehills.com/rhododendron-p-j-m, (888) 864-7663.

Flower-Carpet-Pink-Supreme20th Anniversary of Flower Carpet Roses
Flower Carpet Pink, the first eco-friendly rose, was introduced to American gardeners 20 years ago this spring. Unlike traditional roses, easy-care Flower Carpet Pink is disease and pest resistant. It thrives on neglect, and it doesn’t need to be sprayed with fungicides to battle diseases such as blackspot and powdery mildew, or sprayed with pesticides to kill insect pests.

Flower Carpet Pink boasts a profusion of bright pink blossoms, and its non-stop flowering season can easily last for five months or more. The “no spraying, no dusting, no kidding” environmental rose was an instant hit among homeowners, and it changed an entire plant category forever.

There are now 10 colors in the Flower Carpet family of roses, including White, Red, Appleblossom, Yellow, and the newest color—Pink Splash. The “Next Generation” varieties (Amber, Scarlet and Pink Supreme) were bred for even greater heat and humidity tolerance. None of the award-winning Flower Carpet rose varieties need fancy pruning—just cut them back once each spring to keep the plant vibrant and healthy. Flower Carpet roses thrive without pest-control chemicals, which makes them an ideal choice for inter-planting with vegetables, herbs or flowers that attract beneficial pollinators. The natural, low-growing habit of a Flower Carpet rose also makes it ideal for erosion control on slopes or as a groundcover in hard-to-access areas in a landscape.

Flower Carpet roses are available in the bright pink pots at garden centers everywhere. For more information visit www.tesselaar.com/plants/flower-carpet-roses/

For more great garden ideas, including new plants and cool garden tools, visit www.homegardenandhomestead.com.