Our Top 8 List of Gorgeous Flowering Shrubs for Moultonborough

Garden Center

We love flowering shrubs. They add so much style, color, and personality to the landscape, yet they’re so low-maintenance and ask for so little in return! Transform your yard—and increase your property value in the process—by planting some of these dazzling landscape plants this spring.

These Flowering Shrubs Are at the Top of Our List for 2022

Whether you want to add structure to your landscape, create a privacy border, or fill your landscape with spectacular color and texture, these eight flowering shrubs will check all the necessary boxes. 

Stephens Landscaping Garden Center -forsythiaForsythia

This fascinating shrub explodes with yellow blooms in spring, lighting up the landscape like a blazing golden sun. Its flowers emerge well before the leaves begin to sprout, so there’s nothing but fabulous, fragrant blooms to enjoy in spring. Forsythia blossoms are actually edible, and they’re perfect for making aromatic simple syrups to use in summer cocktails.

Azalea ‘Karen’

We want to add so many stunning azalea varieties to this list, but if we have to choose one, it must be Karen! Unlike the Karen stereotype, this flowering shrub is low-maintenance and won’t cause you any stress. It’s incredibly resilient and reliable, bursting with vibrant lilac purple blooms every spring. While it’s technically an evergreen, this Azalea’s emerald green foliage transitions to a rich burgundy in autumn.  

Stephens Landscaping Garden Center - PJM RhododendronPJM Rhododendron

You’ll love the unique color palette of this distinctive Rhododendron, perfect for hedge borders and foundation planting; purple-pink blooms cluster together in little trusses nestled on a lush mound of dark, dusty green foliage. PJM has evergreen leaves that transition to a warm mahogany tone in fall, bringing fabulous winter interest. This flowering shrub’s exceptional tolerance to sudden shifts to warm and cold temperatures makes them a popular choice for Moultonborough gardens. 

Stephens Landscaping Garden Center -witch hazelWitch Hazel

This deciduous shrub requires little-to-no maintenance. So long as you have a super sunny spot to plant it, you should have no trouble keeping your Witch Hazel happy! Its peculiar yet beautiful blooms have a distinctive, stringy appearance. After it has finished blooming, you can prune off branches from this shrub and boil the bark to create a healing tonic for soothing rashes and bruises or use it as a daily skin toner to improve your complexion. 

Lilac ‘Miss Kim’

Nothing beats that unmistakable fragrance of blooming lilac shrubs in spring. It blooms a bit later than your typical lilac; it may continue blooming well into June and early July! It’s more lush and compact than many other lilac shrubs, so it won’t get as many awkward, leggy branches that jut outwards. Miss Kim reaches a maximum size of 9 feet tall and 7 feet wide at maturity, but pruning in late summer after it blooms will keep it to a smaller size if desired. 

Stephens Landscaping Garden Center -pierisPieris

When this Japanese evergreen shrub begins flowering, it always draws gasps of amazement! Its adorable blooms, usually pink or white, dangle downward from long stems, similarly to Lily of the Valley, and its leaves fan outward in a circular fan shape, kind of like an Umbrella tree! Minimal pruning is required, as this shrub generally keeps a tidy, manageable shape that works well for hedges and border planting. 

Blue Muffin Viburnum

If you want a flowering shrub with gorgeous color contrast and visual interest in autumn, look no further than Blue Muffin Viburnum! While its lovely white flowers are a delightful sight in summer, its electric blue berries that emerge in autumn really pop against the oranges and golds of the season’s scenery. To increase the volume of berries, plant a different variety of Viburnum shrub nearby to encourage cross-pollination.

Stephens Landscaping Garden Center -dwarf lilacDwarf Korean Lilac

This classic flowering shrub is smaller than most cultivars, reaching a max of 6 feet tall and 7 feet wide. It tolerates full or partial sun, and it appreciates regular watering if you aren’t getting much rainfall. It bursts into bloom in mid-May, with those signature soft purple flower panicles that fill the air with a soothing aroma. Dwarf Korean Lilac is ideal for low hedges that don’t block sightlines.

To explore even more phenomenal flowering shrubs in Moultonborough, visit Stephens Landscaping Garden Center and see all the magnificent varieties ready to be planted this spring. Follow us on Facebook or Instagram for updates and featured products.

It’s Time for Spring Clean-Up in Moultonborough!

Garden Center · Landscape Maintenance

Spring cleaning isn’t just for your closets and cupboards! Doing a thorough clean-up of your landscape every spring is important—after all, patio season is about to begin! Plus, it’s an opportunity to go through your yard and identify any problem areas that need attention. 

Add These Outdoor Tasks to Your Spring Clean-Up Chore List 

Grab your waterproof boots, garden gloves, and Bluetooth speaker, pick a good musical motivation playlist, and let’s tackle this spring landscape chore list!

Stephens Landscaping Garden Center -raking thatchDethatch and Aerate the Lawn

After a snowy winter, grass can get pretty matted, and the soil may be compacted. To dethatch your lawn, run a rake through the grass to tear up the tangles. Now it will be able to grow lush and thick. While you have the rake, this is a good opportunity to clear any sticks or debris lying around. 

To aerate the lawn, use a spike aerator or plug aerator to make holes in the soil, introducing oxygen and loosening the ground. These holes will allow moisture to drain properly so that the roots of your lawn and garden plants won’t sit in stagnant water and develop mold. Good drainage is essential for healthy spring growth! 

Prune Winter Damage

If any of your shrubs or trees sustained damage over the winter, trim them off with sterilized shears. Be mindful about pruning healthy growth on your landscape plants to reshape them—some late-blooming plants like to be pruned in spring, but if you prune your spring-blooming plants, you’ll lose all those nice flower buds. 

Stephens Landscaping Garden Center -wheelbarrow of mulchReplace Old Mulch 

Mulch naturally breaks down over time, which is great for your soil, but it can start to look a bit funky in the spring after the snow melts. Gently clean it out with a rake—be careful not to damage your garden plants in the process—and spread a fresh layer. We have plenty of mulch here at Stephen’s Landscaping Garden Center; if you need help finding a good color match, you’re welcome to show us a picture of what you’re looking for, and we can get you the perfect product. 

Freshen Up Your River Rock

River rock is a more long-term alternative to mulch, but it can still break down over time. If the rocks in your landscape still have some life, you can wash them with the hose on a spray setting. If it’s looking a bit worse for wear this spring, you can replace it with a fresh batch! 

Stephens Landscaping Garden Center -pressure washing deckPower Wash the Hardscapes

Power washing the patio, pavers, and driveway is an excellent opportunity to survey the whole area and see if there is any damage you’ll need to fix, spots that need touch-ups, or materials that need replacing. If there are any repair jobs you aren’t confident you can pull off by yourself, bring in a picture of the project to our garden center, and we’ll help you figure out a game plan. 

Keep an Eye Out for Pests or Fungus

Dealing with pest and fungus problems in the spring will be much easier than tackling them in the summer once they’ve gotten considerably worse! Keep an eye out for these signs in your lawn or garden plants:

  • Discoloration
  • Cottony coating
  • Visible bite marks in foliage
  • Dead patches or rings in the grass

Depending on the issue, you may be able to use an all-natural, organic solution, but sometimes severe issues may require chemical fungicides or insecticides. Ask our experts for advice if you’re unsure of how to proceed. 

Stephens Landscaping Garden Center -cutting perennialsCut Back Your Perennials

We recommend cutting back old plant material from your garden perennials to a few inches above the ground; this will help allow for a new, healthy flush of spring growth, uninhibited by the leftovers from last year. If there are no signs of disease or fungus in the trimmings, you can toss them in the compost bin.  

If you want to go beyond just a simple spring clean-up in 2022 and would like to do a significant landscape redesign and rejuvenation, you know who to call; we can help you choose the perfect plants for your garden designs and projects! Visit Stephen’s Landscaping Garden Center to explore your options for sprucing up your outdoor space. Follow us on Facebook or Instagram for updates and featured products.

The Best Native Plants for Your Landscape

Garden Center

Much of our childhood is attached to the scents, smells, and sights of the native plants around us. They’re like old friends who we’ve known our whole lives. We can get to know them even better by growing them in our landscapes

There are countless benefits to growing native species in your gardens. They’re more resilient to disease and pests and less maintenance, and they provide eco-friendly habitats for native insects and bees and the plants themselves. Here are a few of the many beautiful choices to get you started!

New England Asters

These are one of several native asters that grow in the woodlands of New Hampshire. You’ll recognize them by their vivid fuchsia petals that shine like stars in the undergrowth. They’re late to the scene, blooming in August and September. They feed the butterflies and bring you fresh blossoms just when you thought the summer was coming to a close. 

Stephens Landscaping Garden Center - butterfly bushButterfly Weed 

These bright yellow and orange perennials and their close relatives, milkweed, are highly attractive plants for butterflies. They’re essential for monarch butterflies who migrate from Canada to Mexico every year as the primary food for monarch caterpillars. They bloom generously from early summer to early autumn in the garden and thrive in full sun. 

Wild Columbine

Wildflowers don’t have to take up a lot of space to add beauty to your garden. Wild columbines only reach 10″ in height and bloom with nodding red and yellow flowers. They feed the bees, butterflies, and hummingbirds for eight weeks or more in the spring, supporting local ecosystems. They thrive in rock, shade, woodland, and naturalized areas, making them a versatile addition to your landscape. 

Stephens Landscaping Garden Center --liatris blazing starBlazing Star

These essential plants for native wildlife grow in dry woodlands, open meadows, and sand dunes in New England. They display impressive wands of purple flowers in mid-to-late summer. Many native butterflies and moths are attracted to them, especially to the New England Blazing Star, and songbirds eat the seeds in autumn. It’s a feast for pollinators and absolutely gorgeous in your garden!

Native Ferns 

The Hay-Scented Fern, the Sweet Fern, the Cinnamon Fern, and the Lady Fern are just some of the many native ferns that you can add to your eco-friendly garden. They each have slightly different fronds and thrive in moist, partial shade. They also provide good coverage for birds that forage on the ground, keeping them safe from predators as they eat. Their rich green leaves are sure to add texture and visual interest to your garden. 

Stephens Landscaping Garden Center -phlox in gardenWoodland Phlox

Phlox is a popular garden flower, but not many people know there are native phlox species as well. These violet-blue wildflowers grow in regions from Québec to Florida and bloom in the spring. You can grow them as a compact perennial or ground cover in dappled shade. When you plant the native phlox, you’ll attract more native pollinators, as they have co-evolved with these species.  

American Elderberry 

This eco-friendly, native shrub is known for its clusters of white flowers in May and dark purple berries that mature in late summer. Elderberries are food for all kinds of native birds throughout the fall and winter. Plus, they are a highly sought-after berry for teas, jams, and any cooked preserves. Make sure to cook them first, as elderberries are toxic to humans when they are raw!

Stephens Landscaping Garden Center - button bushButtonbush 

This eco-friendly shrub wins the award for the most intriguing flower. In August, the white globes of nectar-rich filaments bloom profusely, feeding hummingbirds and pollinators. Other birds use the shrub for nesting and feed on the seeds in the fall. Buttonbush grows well in moist soil and reaches a mature height of 4-7 feet, perfect for low line privacy and yard separation. 

From less maintenance to an increase in biodiversity and natural pest control, native plants are an excellent option that is eco-friendly, resilient, and just plain beautiful! Follow us on Facebook or Instagram for updates and featured products.

How to Add Texture to Your Landscape

Garden Center · Landscape Design

Texture is a defining feature of any beautiful garden. From soft and airy to bold and impressive, a variety of textures gives your garden another dimension of feeling. You can achieve this by growing an assortment of plants or using different materials in your landscapes. Here are some ideas to get you started!

How to Create Texture with Plants

Usually, when we refer to texture, we’re talking about the sense of touch. For example, some surfaces feel rough, while others feel smooth. When we’re talking about a garden, texture comes from how the plant looks, including the plant’s shape, the type of leaves and flowers, and how light interacts with the foliage. 

SL Garden Center-hosta in garden bold textureBold Texture

Plants with big leaves or prominent flowers bring a bold look to the landscape. They stand out among the other plants and draw attention, like hostas, peonies, and blazing stars. Too many bold plants in one area compete for the spotlight and create a cluttered look. To balance out the bold plants in your landscape, nestle them among plants with other textures. 

Coarse Texture 

Some plants bring a coarse look into the garden. They stand out by their spiky flowers, stiff leaves, or bumpy, veiny, or rugged foliage. Comfrey, rhubarb, and globe thistles are all examples of uniquely coarse-textured plants. Mixing them among fine plants creates a pleasing contrast and sense of depth in your garden.        

SL Garden Center-lavender and yarrow bloomsFine Texture 

Fine texture comes from any plant with a soft and airy look; this often includes plants with clusters of tiny flowers, like yarrow, or those with soft, light, and thin leaves, like lavender and fennel. Soft grasses that wave in the wind also bring fine texture into the garden. 

Medium Texture 

Some plants may not be noticeably coarse, fine, or have any bold features. If their texture doesn’t stand out, we can call them medium texture. Many plants fall into this category, but that doesn’t mean they’re not important in the garden. They’re necessary to balance the fine and coarse textures. Plus, they may have beautiful color, scent, or something else besides texture to offer your landscape.

Creating Texture with Mulch and Stonework     

Just as plants are not the only part of your landscape, they also aren’t the only components that create texture. Anything visible impacts texture, including mulch and stonework in your garden. 

SL Garden Center-adding mulch to garden bedTexture with Bark Mulch 

By the same token, smaller pieces of bark mulch also create a finer look than large pieces. Finely shredded wood or bark gives a softer and airier feel to a bed, whereas big nuggets of bark have a bolder and rougher look and many interesting colors, lines, and bumps.  

Smooth and Coarse Rocks  

Not surprisingly, rough, jagged rocks bring a coarse texture to the landscape. Crushed stones or volcanic rocks on a garden bed are good examples. They contrast the smooth look of river rock and pea gravel. If you look closely, you’ll also notice that smaller stones bring a finer look to the landscape than larger stones. 

SL Garden Center-focal points in gardenBoulders and Other Focal Points 

Besides the mulch or stone you put on your beds, any boulders in the landscape or other focal points like wooden barrels, rustic benches, and art pieces also have certain textures. Once you start to notice the texture of an object, you have one more tool for creating beautiful visuals in your garden. 

There are no hard and fast rules for interpreting texture. Once you start paying attention, maybe you’ll notice more nuanced categories than those above, or perhaps you will simplify them into coarse and fine categories. Whatever your approach, playing with texture in your landscape is a beautiful way to add depth, contrast, and vitality to your landscape.

For more gardening ideas, feel free to visit our garden center in Moultonborough, New Hampshire! Follow us on Facebook or Instagram for updates and featured products.

Perennials That Keep On Giving

Garden Center

Perennials are a must-have in any garden. They greet us every year with their bursts of flowers, and weave together our gardens into a tapestry of scent and color. Plant them once and they become lifelong friends. But how do we choose and where do we meet these beautiful companions? 

Here are 7 new acquaintances that you can plant in your garden this year! 

Salvia 

These hardy perennials open towers of indigo flowers in the summer, and keep blooming right into the fall. Related to kitchen sage, they have a strong fragrance that attracts bees and creates a fresh aroma for your whole garden. They’re hardy, easy to grow, drought-tolerant, and reach heights of 18 inches or more, depending on the variety.

-salvia and coneflower bloomsConeflower

Another must-have for the bees, these daisy-like perennials open with a riot of color in late spring, and keep blooming throughout the summer. Also called echinacea, they give off a delicious herbal scent, but the main attraction are their radiant petals. Commonly bright purple, but also found in red, orange, yellow, and white, you’ll never tire of these beautiful flowers with a nectar-rich center. 

Catmint 

You don’t need to be a feline to enjoy these sweet perennials. While they do stimulate cats, the minty perfume of catmint is actually relaxing for humans. The lavender color of their dense bush of flowers is equally soothing. They first blossom in spring and, if you cut them back, will keep blooming all the way until the frost. 

Stephens Landscaping Garden Center- Perennials That Keep On Giving-catmint and daylily bloomsDaylily

A perennial garden is never complete without this bloomer of the late spring and early summer. They burst open on the scene for 4-6 weeks with a continuous show of new blossoms every day. The trumpet-shaped flowers bring loud colors of orange, yellow, red, or a combination thereof. Plus, they’re virtually maintenance free, disease-resistant, and display beautiful green leaves throughout the whole growing season.  

Coreopsis

Coreopsis brings a mass of sunshine-yellow flowers into the garden in early summer, and blooms off and on again until the fall. A native flower in North America, they’re a must-have for anyone who wants to feed the bees in mid-summer, or simply enjoy their colors. These wildflowers enjoy bright, sunny spots, tolerate some drought once established, and are generally a breeze to care for. 

Stephens Landscaping Garden Center- Perennials That Keep On Giving-coreopsis and sedum bloomsSedum 

These are one of the rare succulents that can grow outside all-year-round in New England. Their low, fleshy leaves bring unique texture into the garden, and just when you thought summer was winding down, they’ll surprise you with clusters of pink, purple, or yellow flowers. They do the best in full sun, and must grow in sandy soils with good drainage. 

Stephens Landscaping Garden Center- Perennials That Keep On Giving-coral bells heucheraCoral Bells

Coral bells, also called heuchera, are a must-have for any shade garden. These unique perennials have yellow, pink, purple, burgundy, or coral leaves that brighten any dark spot. Their foliage is impressive even without flowers, but as icing on the cake, they unfurl a delicate display of tiny bell-shaped flowers during the early or mid-summer.   

Each of these perennials brings unique color, fragrance, and personality into your garden. Once you start knitting them together, you’ll have a quilt of complimentary blossoms that open at different times throughout the season. Best of all, they keep coming back to give you more and more flowers every year!  

To see these plants in person, come visit our garden center in Moultonborough, New Hampshire! Follow us on Facebook or Instagram for updates and featured products.