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Early-flowering summer shrubs

Many of the earlier-flowering shrubs make good partners for shrub roses. They tend to be in the same colour range: sometimes flowering just before and sometimes with the main flush, but often fragrantly. Abelias, Deutzias and Kolkwitzias fall into this category. Abelias flower over many weeks, but need a warm sheltered position to thrive. Given that, Abelia x grandiflora will flower over many months, the cool-pink flowers, which start appearing in June, will stand out well against the red young foliage. Deutzia x hybrida ‘Mont Rose' has purplish buds that open to pink stars in early July, or sooner depending on weather. This is smaller in stature, about a metre, so an ideal shrub for a smaller garden or container. Kolkwitzia amabilis `Pink Cloud’ makes a large roundel, roughly 3-4m high, and it is tolerant of most soil types, producing flowers in May and June on graceful branches usually before most roses.

Weigela also flower in May and June and this is one shrub that has excellent variegated forms that look healthy rather than sick. 'Florida Variegata' is a pink form with green and cream foliage, minus any hint of yellow. Or go for the new cream-yellow , with the orange throat, aptly named Weigela middendorffiana 'Mango'. Well-drained soil and bright light are required.

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