Off all elements that you can place in your landscape, from flowers to plants to trees, the shrub is the most versatile.  When you consider your landscape, you’ll find that shrubs are one of the most versatile elements that you can employ.  Shrubs can serve as a background for your flower or vegetable garden, as dividers between different areas of the yard and even as privacy screens (otherwise known as hedges).

Shrubs come in a wide variety with more than a hundred different genuses AND a variety of species within each genus.  There are shrubs with brilliant flowers or evergreen shrubs for all seasons.

What exactly are shrubs?  According to the dictionary definition: Shrubs are woody plant of relatively low height, having several stems arising from the base and lacking a single trunk; a bush.  A rose bush is a shrub, for example, but so is a flowering dogwood.  Have you heard that a dogwood is a tree? Well, some dogwoods are shrubs and some are trees. Just as some lilacs are shrubs and some are trees.  It all depends on how tall the individual species within the genus grows.

So there’s quite a bit to learn about shrubbery before you decide on which ones you’ll use in your landscaping endeavors.  It’s always best to consult with your local gardening experts while you’re working on your design.

Even though you’ll want to talk to local gardeners about what would be best for your landscaping plans, you don’t need to deal locally to acquire the shrubs (although, it’s always nice to support local businesses).  And you will find that there are restrictions, some states do not allow you to import certain plants.  Hawaii and Alaska are simply too far away.

Direct Gardening offers everything from bulbs to fruits and nuts to hedges to shrubs to vines and water plants.  Their website has plenty of photos of all of their offerings so you can see what everything looks like.  They also sell what they call pre-planned gardens, a mixture of several different, but complimentary plants that will all grow well in the same types of conditions.

Nature Hills Nursery is another online business that offers a wide variety of starter plants.  And their website has a feature in which you input your zip code and it comes back with the zone in which you live and the flowers, plants, shrubs and trees that grow best in that zone.

The major maintenance for shrubs is pruning.  You simply must prune your shrubs, not only to improve their appearance but also to help them grow healthy and strong.  Hedge clippers and a hand-pruner are must-have tools.  Loppers and a small pruning saw will also come in handy.