Perfecting the Outdoor Experience

More and more people are bringing the party to their patios with expanded greenspace, elaborate firepits, and adding outdoor entertaining included.  I spend more time in my backyard and patio than anywhere in the house.  There's also been a recent resurgence of backyard games like horseshoes, cornhole, yard jenga, can jam, and several others.   Because of these trends, the backyard has become the hangout spot for my family and friends.  I've realized that I need more patio friendly plants that shine out in the evening so my guests and I can enjoy my garden well after dark.  Here's a few ideas that I'm planning to put in my gardens that will shine all night long. 

Sugar Shack® Buttonbush
Cephalanthus occidentalis 'SMCOSS' USPP 26,543, Can 5,124 | USDA 4 | AHS 10 | Part Sun – Sun | 3 -4’ tall and wide
Buttonbush has long been prized as a native, but it was way too big for most landscapes. Not anymore! We've cut the size in half and added colorful red fruit and glossy foliage. Add in cool looking, fragrant white flowers and you've got a delightful plant that shines from spring to fall and all night long! 

Sonic Bloom® Pearl weigela
Weigela florida 'Bokrasopea' pp#24585; cbr#4598 | USDA 5 | AHS 8 | Part sun to sun | 4-5’ tall and wide

Sonic Bloom® Pearl is a humdinger of a weigela!  Sonic Bloom plants have the strongest reblooming seen on weigela, blooming in May and reblooming until frost. The flowers open pure white with a yellow throat and then change to pink

Bloom-A-thon White Reblooming azalea Rhododendron
Rhododendron x 'RLH1-3P3' USPP 21,512 | USDA 6 | AHS 9 | Part sun to sun | 2.5-3’ tall and wide

Large flowers appear in April, then rebloom in early July, continuing through fall until hard frost. Even high summer temperatures don't stop this enchantress from producing loads of late summer and fall flowers.

Jazz Hands Dwarf White loropetalum
Loropetalum chinense 'Hakuou' PPAF | USDA 7b | AHS 9 | Part sun to sun| 1-3’ tall, 3’ wide
Here's one for my southern friends...I wish I could grow it in Michigan!  It has rich, dark green leaves and large pure white flowers that burst forth in spring. It is a repeat bloomer that flowers sporadically all summer long. Its dwarf habit makes it a good fit for residential landscapes and container gardens. 

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