This layered border in Ontario, Canada (zone 6), designed by Yvonne Cunnington, is a four season wonder full of steal-me ideas. A cluster of impressive shrubs at the front keeps the show going from season to season. This is anchored by a grove of tall blue spruce. Dwarf Korean lilacs bloom in spring. Limelight hydrangea shrubs flower in summer. Maiden grasses sport tall plumes in early fall. But in October, the late show begins. Foliage and faded blooms morph into burgundy pink hues against the coppery leaves of ninebark shrubs. Plumes grow feathery, glowing in the softer, slanting rays of the fall sun. Winter isn’t left out either; those blue spruce catch the snow, and grasses, left unpruned, glitter with frost.
You can do this...start with a few plants for structure (like the spruce, here). Then layer in shrubs that do different things in different seasons.
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