Last year we planted a few shrubs around our back yard. They were pretty scraggily looking last year, but I can already tell they’re going to be fabulous this year. Here are a couple of my favorites:
Cotinus Coggygria, or purple smokebush, has the most amazing red leaves and it looks great for at least three seasons. I planted it right outside our bedroom window and hope it will eventually get large enough that it will help shade our bedroom on summer evenings. It has great color all summer long and in the fall it gets these crazy, fluffy, pinkish flowers that are the “smoke”. See that little golden barberry bush underneith it? I don’t particularly like barberry bushes because they are thorny and inhospitable plants. But. The dogs kept trampling around the baby smokebush last year and breaking off its tender limbs, so I planted the barberries around it, and now the dogs give it a little wider berth.
Another favorite in spring time is the spirea “Gold Flame”. I love it’s bright chartreuse color with the red new leaves in center. I don’t like it nearly as well in the summer when it turns a sort of boring green color and gets pink flowers (blech) but it redeems itself by turning bronzy-red again in the fall.
Unrelated Cautionary Tale:
You can take your German Shorthaired Pointer for a very long bicycle ride and she will run hard beside you the entire way. Just be warned that when she wears off the pads of her feet, she will not stop. And then you will feel like a Bad Dog Owner the next day as she limps around the house on her ragged little paws.