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Fabulous Foliage & Flower Power

How to punch up your Cape Cod garden with color this summer

Photo by C.L. Fornari

Weigelas are another family of shrubs that come with colorful foliage. “Rubidor” has bright yellow leaves and “Summer Wine” has dark red foliage. Both of these selections have bright pink late spring flowers. There are also several variegated Weigelas on the market with cream and green leaves and these are especially attractive when the pale pink flowers are in bloom.

Other shrubs with distinctive foliage include the lovely dappled willow, Salix “Hakuro Nishiki,” and the variegated red twig dogwoods, such as “Bailhalo” and “Elegantissima.” Although the willow comes in both shrub and tree form, even the bush type can get quite large.

Cape Cod’s favorite shrub, the Hydrangea, is practically a must for those wanting big flower color in the summer. To insure that Hydrangea flowers don’t wilt too early, place these shrubs in a spot with several hours of morning sun, then allow them to rest in afternoon shade. Flowers on Hydrangeas planted in hot afternoon sun will fade and shrivel quickly and will need constant watering just to look presentable.

There are many varieties of Hydrangea available that bloom on new and old growth, and these extend the flowering season as well as making the plant more reliable. “Penny Mac,” “Twist and Shout,” and all Hydrangeas in the “Forever and Ever” series are just a few of the high-performing, repeat-blooming varieties.

How to punch up your Cape Cod garden with color this summer

Photo by C.L. Fornari

In addition to using shrubs with leaves of different hues and some long-flowering Hydrangea for near continuous visual punch, the addition of perennials, grasses, and annuals to your design enhances the textural diversity of any landscape. The wider the selection, the more color you’ll enjoy.

Perennial Heuchera, commonly called “Coral Bells,” are available in an array of flower and leaf colors. From dark purple to caramel or bright green and yellow, there are dozens of interesting Heuchera that can add brilliance to the landscape. Heuchera foliage often changes from month to month as temperatures rise and fall, so with this plant alone it’s possible to have a kaleidoscope of color as the seasons change.

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