Happy Threesomes (Part 2)

By Kerry Ann Mendez

I heard some great feedback from last week's "Happy Threesomes" article. Here is another easy to plant combo for sunny spots that will have the neighbors talking.

Malus 'Donald Wyman'

This striking crabapple (maturing to 12-15' or more) is covered with fragrant white flowers in spring that are a joy to behold, not only for us, but also to bees and other pollinators. The flowers are followed by large, bright red fruit that ripen in fall and persist into winter, meaning they doesn't drop on the ground and create a mess. The fruit may be used to make jelly or leave for the birds to enjoy. The dark green leaves turn a pretty amber-gold in fall. 'Donald Wyman' is hardy to Zone 4.

Spirea 'Double Play Big Bang'

This variety will be a striking complement to 'Donald Wyman'. The foliage of 'Double Play Big Bang' emerges vibrant orange and then transitions to deep yellow before becoming golden orange in the fall. The large pink flowers will blanket the shrub in summer and be prized by bees and butterflies. 'Double Play Big Bang' grows to 2-3', is both deer and drought resistant, and hardy to Zone 4.

The next layer of long-lasting interest comes from upright Sedum, or "broccoli plant" as my son used to call it. Sedum 'Autumn Delight' (chartreuse leaves with blue-green margins), 'Autumn Joy', 'Brilliant' and 'Mr. Goodbud' all make for architecturally interesting choices with nectar-rich fall blooms. These rock stars are highly drought tolerant and hardy to Zone 3.