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Question: 707-912
What are some of the new flowering shrubs this year?

Mort's Answer:
Viburnum carlesi has a new variety called Spice Island. It has the same fragrance as Korean Spice with a deep reddish pink, when it opens. Red Balloon is a very showy Viburnum with lots of re fruit. This hybrid has white flower clusters in April and May. Golden Gutter Spirea grows 4X4 feet with dense compact growth. S.nipponica has colorful yellow speckled foliage with plenty of pure white flowers. There is a new series of barberry called Sunjoy. All are excellent hedges and specimens. B. thunbergii celeste is called Sunjoy Cinnamon with dark orange foliage. B.thunbergii Koren is called Sunjoy Citrus with a rounded growth habit and golden yellow. Mini Salsa is in the same series with red foliage and dwarf size. All are hardy in New England.

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Question: 1313-4115
Is it a good time to prune shrubs? Jim, Salem, CT

Mort's Answer:
Forsythia, rhododendron and other broadleaf evergreens are setting buds for blooming in the spring. You are best served by not taking those flowers now. You will not harm the plants but why waste the flowers.A good rule of thumb is to prune directly after the flowers have dissipated. I like cutting back roses this time of year to 18 inches from the ground. Hybrid Teas need three main branches or five on older plants. If there is some dieback on the ends, that can be removed in the spring. Pines and maples should be cut in the winter.

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Question: 1430-2317
I have had this large pink flowering shrub for over 30 years. No one seems to know what it is. I see a few others in this older neighborhood. It is about 10 feet tall and just as wide. The flower is a cluster of about six white bells that will open to a very light pink shortly. Any idea? Bill, East Greenwich, RI

Mort's Answer:
Many of the older species have not been propagated by nurseries because of the high demand for the most popular by the box stores. Sadly, too many like this Kolkwitzia amabilis, Golden Chain and Bush Daphne can only be seen in botanical gardens these days. Beauty Bush as it is commonly called can easily be grown from cuttings. The delicately colored pink flower is aptly named for its non peril attractiveness. It was found by botanist Frank Meyer in China circa 1906. It was named for Richard Kolkwitz, a Berlin botany professor.

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