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For colorful flowering perennials, try growing 'butterscotch' & 'cherries jubilee'

A large grouping of small-petaled blueish-white flower clusters on green, pointed leaves.
This amsonia variety is called 'Blue Star.' This hardy flowering perennial comes in many other varieties and brings color and movement to your yard.

For sprucing up your landscape, small shrubs are a good choice but look for certain perennial flowers that turn into shrub-like plants, like baptisiaand amsonia.

Baptisia or false indigo is in the legume or pea family. They actually look a bit like pea plant flowers growing on tall stalks. Baptisia will grow to about three feet tall with cascading branches, often with purple flowers that resemble lupines.

Newer baptisia varieties, like one called 'Cherries Jubilee' has a red color to it. Another, 'Lemon Meringue,' has a yellow color and 'Lunar Eclipse' is white.

And baptisia is a tough plant that comes back every year. Take note that it has a tap root, so find a great spot for it and leave it there.

Another flowering plant that could double for a shrub in your yard is amsonia, also called bluestar.

Need to deepen your baptisia knowledge? All Things Gardening has more: Scratchy Wool Sweaters For Bugs, And A 'Decadent' Plant

These plants are easy to care for, with no insect or animal issues, and pollinators love them.

Amsonia one grows to a similar size as baptisia, and dies back to the ground. It has willow-like foliage which makes it attractive in the spring, then flowers in the summer and fall.

The amsonia variety called, 'Butterscotch' grows between one and three feet tall. Another called 'Shortstack,' is a dwarf variety which grows 10 to 18 inches tall. And amsonia with white flowers and wispy foliage is called tabernaemontana or 'Eastern bluestar.'

Q: I have these wild strawberries, which I started growing in my community garden plot. I was happy that they came in on their own, but I've never gotten any fruit off of them. I tried putting some netting over them to keep the birds off but that didn't do anything. Is there is some way to get these wild strawberries to produce more fruit? - Sara, in Barre

A: That might be a tough assignment! Unless the wild strawberries have been growing in a shady spot, you can move them to a sunnier spot and see if they flower and produce fruit.

Traditionally though, wild strawberries don't produce a lot of fruit. Another alternative though, would be to grow Alpine strawberries.

These are a type of wild strawberry, but one that does produce a lot of fruit on and off all summer! And the fruit colors can come in red, white or yellow.

Alpine strawberries are available in garden centers and that could be a good option if you want to stay wild but actually plant strawberries that will bear fruit.

All Things Gardening is powered by you, our audience! Send us your toughest conundrums and join the fun. Submit your written question via email, or better yet, leave a voicemail with your gardening question so we can use your voice on the air! Call Vermont Public at 1-800-639-2192.

Listen to All Things Gardening Sunday mornings at 9:35 a.m., and subscribe to the podcast to listen any time.

Mary Williams Engisch is a local host on All Things Considered.
Charlie Nardozzi is a nationally recognized garden writer, radio and TV show host, consultant, and speaker. Charlie is the host of All Things Gardening on Sunday mornings at 9:35 during Weekend Edition on Vermont Public. Charlie is a guest on Vermont Public's Vermont Edition during the growing season. He also offers garden tips on local television and is a frequent guest on national programs.