A great way to add color and interest in your landscaping in Calgary is to add small trees and shrubs. It has the added advantage to attract birds, bees, and other pollinators.
Ninebark – This is a shrub often used to create a hedge. Its purple foliage offsets the clusters of small, white flowers that appear in early summer on some varieties. The bark peels through the winter but offers interest to those long days. Rabbits and deer seem to prefer other bushes. It needs full sun but can take a bit of shade and is drought tolerant. It will grow to 8 feet both tall and wide, so allow enough space at the initial planting.
Cherry Bomb Barberry – You will find this self-shaping plant magically forms and retains its round appearance. It is vivid, deep red, but be very careful of its sharp thorns that discourage rabbits, deer and dogs. It produces berries in the fall and winter. They are hardy enough to endure Calgary winters and are easy to maintain. It is smaller at 3 or 4 feet high and wide and takes full sun.
Spirea or Bridlewreath – For one of the hardiest Calgary shrubs choose spirea. There are a number of varieties and many provide color with spring blooms but will give interest when they change hue in the autumn. They do well in a changeable climate and can handle a bit of drought now and then. They may need some pruning. They come in a number of sizes including dwarf and compact.
Dwarf Korean Lilac – This shrub will tickle the senses with a heady scent when its pink to purple flowers appear. The top-grafted Korean Lilac needs full to part sun and will grow to 4 feet by 4 feet. They are often used near walkways.
Halo Dogwood – This is an ornamental with yellowish spring blooms that change to blue berries. Autumn changes the foliage from green and white to a purple red. The red twigs remain through the winter. You should prune out the old stems about every three years. Planted in full sun or part shade, it grows to 5 feet by 5 feet.
Red Leaf Rose bush – For color throughout the year, this is a lovely choice. In the spring it produces pink blossoms but they only last a few weeks and are replaced with orange-red rose hips that are actually a fruit attractive to birds. Their branches have a reddish tinge and leaves range from gray to purple to blues and will sprout thorns. It does best in sun but can tolerate some degree of shade. They can grow to 6 feet tall, so you may want to consider occasional pruning.
When you select plants that are native to Calgary you have a better chance of their survival and success.