Smokebush (Continus) is one of those flowering shrubs that gets people talking. “What’s that?” they’ll ask. Invariably, the question is posed in summer, when the puffy, smoke-like flower panicles appear. The flower structures are most noticeable in midsummer but hold on in some form for months. Fortunately, some smokebushes also have colorful foliage to carry the entire season—varieties with burgundy or chartreuse leaves are the most notable. Zones 4–8.
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Fothergilla: the flowering shrub with the funny name and the fantastic flowers. Those blooms appear in late spring and are a true delight due to their fragrance, bright white color and fuzzy bottlebrush shape. Fothergilla holds interest the rest of the season with blue-green leaves that turn a fiery mix of red, orange and yellow in fall. It also has attractive branching structure for winter interest. Zones 4–9.