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Spring Showcase Part 1: New Trees & Shrubs for 2024

Mar 14, 2024 | News

Welcome to the start of our 3-part 2024 Trees & Shrubs Spring ShowcaseHornbaker Gardens will inspire you as we share our excitement and highlight the woody ornamentals that bring colors and textures to the early spring, summer, and fall landscape. We will share our new spring arrivals, reintroduce you to a wide variety of Tested Hardy at Hornbaker Gardens customer favorites, and guide you through this 2024 planting season with ease.


Refreshing New Trees & Shrubs

Spring is a time of renewal and rejuvenation, and part one of our Spring Showcase is all about exciting new varieties to help refresh your garden. The spring colors of pink, pale blues, lavender, yellow, and white refresh our spirits. They prepare our palette for what is to come and can be found in our early-season line-up of hardy rhododendrons and colorful azaleas. A new rhododendron we want to mention is Rhododendron ‘PJM Landmark’. It has vibrant, lavender-pink flowers on glossy green foliage. This charming rhododendron grows up to 5 feet tall in partial sun and is hardy to Zone 4.

We are excited to offer two other new spring flowering trees this year: Magnolia x ‘Yellow Bird’ and Cercis c. ‘Flame Thrower’ (Redbud). These varieties are symbols of resilience and enduring beauty.  ‘Yellow Bird’ brings us 3-inch large vibrant yellow flowers, glossy dark green foliage, and exceptional cold hardiness. ‘Flame Thrower’ boasts heart-shaped leaves that emerge in spring with a captivating display of burnt orange, deep reds, rich greens, and golden yellows.


Spring Showers Bring Flowers

Reliable, fragrant, late spring and summer flowering trees, shrubs, and vines aren’t to be overlooked. April showers will surely deliver fragrant May & June flowers with Styrax japonicus ‘Pink Chimes’ (Japanese Snowbell). This compact flowering tree features pendulous, long-stalked bell-shaped, fragrant, light pink flowers with showy yellow stamens. There is also no better way to take a visual spin around the season’s color wheel than with Roses. Stop by to shop our beautiful miniature Rose Sunblaze® tree standards, the David Austin English Rose Collection, hardy Knock Outs, or the high-reaching climbing roses and low-growing landscape roses to brighten any sunny spot (some will tolerate partial shade) in the garden.


Summer Color

As the season progresses, the colors of the garden heat up. Summer will arrive and deliver bold colors and textures of neon greens, outrageous oranges, bright reds, and complementary vivid blues and purples within perennial gardens. These statements of color require equally bold color and texture found in deciduous trees, shrubs, and conifers such as Picea p. ‘Moonstone’,  Tsuga c.‘Summer Snow’, or  Chamaecyparis o. ‘Fernspray Gold’. ‘Moonstone’ is a well-mannered little gem that brings bright blue foliage to the garden and maintains a compact, rounded form from youth to maturity. A beautiful and useful hemlock for the shade garden, ‘Summer Snow’ is the perfect garden size at only 10’, with a pyramidal shape and colorful white, new growth. A striking, irregular-shaped evergreen, ‘Fernspray Gold’ offers classy, arching sprays of golden, fern-like foliage year-round. 


Fantastic Foliage

Form, texture, and structure are design elements of the garden and landscape. Perhaps we seek quiet, secluded, and intimate settings as experienced in the shade with broadleaved and shade-tolerant deciduous shrubs and evergreens. Consider the soft, luxurious textures of broadleaf evergreens like boxwoods, and hollies such as Ilex crenata ‘Straight & Narrow’. This Japanese holly is certain to live up to its name. This holly is exactly that with a mature height of 6-8’ and only 2-3’ in width.

You can add a little quiet spice to your space by selecting plants for the planting bed or containers that offer light-reflecting greens or white, variegated leaves. A good pick for this is Cornus k. ‘Summer Fun’, a variegated Kousa Dogwood that puts on a great show with its boldly contrasting green and creamy white leaves and then vivid fall colors of red, orange, and pink. 

Choose plants with colorful foliage and interesting structures. Try our newest Hydrangea m. ‘Eclipse’, a big leaf hydrangea with burgundy foliage almost as dark as the night. It holds the color all season and has exceptional disease resistance. The mophead flowers are just as fabulous as the foliage with petals that are cranberry pink with hints of yellow. The tree form of Hydrangea p. ‘Ruby Snow™’ is a newer hydrangea and has garnered rave reviews! Ruby Snow’s™ bright white panicles open in mid-summer. Closer to fall, as the nights cool, each cone-shaped panicle turns ruby-red from the base up, leaving the tips topped in white like a snow cone. 


Unique Specimens

We’re anxious to help you celebrate your garden style. We discover style when we explore the understory and ground plane using trees, shrubs, and vines. Speaking of style, we can’t wait to share our woody standards, topiaries, and espaliers. From classical to whimsical, Hornbaker Gardens has what you’re looking for. We are especially excited to offer varieties such as Buxus s. ‘Rotundifolia’. This tiered topiary is a classic boxwood and commonly found in a formal garden or container that sits at the front door. Add a bit of whimsy to the garden bed with a hardy poodled Pinus sylvestris or Juniperus com. ‘Gold Cone’ spiral for just the right amount of visual movement or added texture. We also suggest planting a small backyard orchard with our 6-way espalier Malus (apple), a great way to utilize your vertical space on a sunny fence, garage, or patio.     

After a hard day’s work in the garden, take a seat – in one of our Living Tree Chairs from Bower and Branch! Choose from Acer fr.’Autumn Blaze’ (Red Maple), Betula p. ‘Royal Frost’ (European Birch), Cercis canadensis (Eastern Redbud), or Platanus, ‘Bloodgood’ (London Planetree). Each of these tree species are well-suited for this novel and practical approach to garden-seating. Read more about those on our website or in their feature in the March 2024 newsletter.


Cool Conifers

After considering flowering seasons, colors, and textures, don’t overlook the backbone of a complete garden. Evergreens and conifers are available in all shapes, sizes, and a variety of colors and textures. Some are also deciduous, such as Taxodium d. ‘Falling Waters’. This bald cypress is recognized for its graceful form, vibrant green foliage, and its ability to tolerate wet soil, making it a great choice for areas with poor drainage. ‘Falling Waters’ reaches a mature size of 15-20′ tall and wide and is hardy to Zone 4.

These woody ornamentals easily become a focal point, a complement to other plantings in the back, middle, or front of the border. In addition you create 4 seasons of interest, particularly important during the winter months as the foundation of your landscape. The weeping habits, varied foliage, and textures found in Picea a. ‘Ripplebrook’ and Metasequoia g. ‘Miss Grace’ are a couple of new arrivals worth mentioning. View their product pages under “New Trees & Shrubs 2024.

Beautiful flowers and colorful fall leaves disappear from our winter view, but your evergreens are a constant reminder of all the beauty, joy, and inspiration found in your garden creations. We hope that you are entering this spring gardening season refreshed and excited for what is to come. Be on the lookout for Parts 2 & 3 of our Spring Showcase.