How Does your Garden Grow: Ornamental and Flowering Shrubs

by Jon Nunan

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Shrubs are a great way to beautify your lawn and add value to your property. Ornamental, flowering, and other garden shrubs are relatively easy to maintain and cost effective. In the case of hedges or fruiting shrubs, they can even serve a practical purpose, as well.

Fantastic Flowers and Better Berries
Many garden shrubs are prized for their flowers or for their bright, colorful berries. When it comes to these types of bushes, it is sometimes important to know the sex of the plants you choose.

Many of the more popular berry or flower-producing garden shrubs are monoecious or hermaphroditic. The former will have both male and female flowers on each plant; the latter has flowers that have both male and female parts. Both are desirable because each plant of either group will produce fruit and blossoms.

Some flowering shrubs are dioecious. This means that more than one plant is necessary to produce berries. Often, female and male plants will flower no matter what, but if there is no male plant available for fertilization, many female plants will not make berries. In some species of flowering shrubs, the blooms on the male plants look very different from those on the female plants. Growing dioecious garden shrubs is something that takes some real knowledge. Fortunately, you'll most likely purchase your plant from a professional that can tell you about the basics.

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Garden Shrubs

Practical Garden Shrubs
Many shrubs serve another purpose in addition to their aesthetic appeal. Hedge shrubs can mark property lines and, if they are large enough, provide privacy. The hedge shrub that is right for you should be compatible with your soil type, the amount of sun your property gets, and should not require more maintenance than you have time to give it.

Evergreen shrubs are a popular choice particularly because they are easy to take care of and can be grown in a large number of climates. Some varieties grow large enough to provide a significant amount of privacy, and since they don't shed their leaves, that privacy is the same all year round.

Deciduous hedge shrubs, though they loose their leaves during the winter, can look quite beautiful the rest of the year. Flowering varieties add even more appeal. Those who would like a bit of extra security might consider planting shrubs with thorny branches or evergreens with spiked leaves.

Some garden shrubs can be used for medicinal purposes. There are a wide number of shrubs that have been used to treat any ailment from headaches to stomachaches. There is certainly a variety that will grow well in your particular soil. Even if you never use the bush for any medicinal purpose, having one in your yard makes for a great conversation piece.

Edible Fruit Shrubs
A garden shrub that actually produces something to eat is a fun addition to any property. Kids especially will enjoy the time of year when the blueberries or cranberries come out. Fruiting shrubs often require a significant amount of water; if you live in an area where there is a lot of rain, however, they are very low maintenance. A word of caution: edible berries you grow yourself might turn you off to store bought berries in a single season!
Jon Nunan is a freelance writer who draws on his experience in construction, ranging from landscaping to log home building, for his articles on home improvement.