Spiraea X arguta

Spring has reached its peak when this graceful deciduous shrub bursts into blossom, the branches so weighed down with tiny white flowers that they form a fountain. Plant tall Darwin tulips in front of the shrub and you have an unashamedly brilliant spring picture. When the flowers fade, small, fresh green leaves follow, which turn a gentle red in autumn, so Spiraea gives a long season of pleasure. It is an easy shrub to grow in any well-drained soil, given a sunny position, making, rather slowly, a thicket 6 to 7 feet (1.8 to 2.1 m) tall. The one care it needs is careful pruning the moment the flowers have faded. Cut out old, weak shoots, especially from the centre of the bush, and shorten the stems which have flo-wered, but do not cut away any of the new, leafy shoots which form very quickly, for it is these which will bear the flowers next year.

If you should decide to plant tulips with Spiraea, either take out the bulbs after flowering, and replace them with summer bedding plants, or leave the bulbs in and interplant with early perennials, such as hardy geraniums, which will hide their decaying stalks with young foliage.

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