Erin, at The Impatient Gardener, invited me to submit my favorite shrub for a recent round-up of that subject on her blog. Given the snowy winter that so many of us have experienced, I think that what I told her is worth sharing with the rest of you:
"If it were May or June, then I'm sure I'd declare Doublefile Viburnum my favorite shrub. It's definitely a show-stopper and is always the center of attention when it blooms. But shrubs in the winter garden need to stand-out in a different way than summer plants. At this season, Alpine currant (Ribes alpinum) makes a much needed statement. We grow both the straight species and the dwarf variety ('Green Mound')."
Our dwarf currant hedge continues the curve of bamboo hoops edging a path buried under the snow.
"They take well to pruning, creating strong horizontal lines in the garden through the seasons: green in summer; almost black in winter. Some years, they make a strong presence in the winter garden; other times only the top of the hedge peeks out of the deep snow. Because they become so densely twiggy they have not been bowed and broken like so many other garden specimens during the heavy snowstorms we've had in recent years. It's a shrub that's well-worth a second look, and it's readily available at most nurseries."
Note: These photos are from prior years. Though we have a lot of snow on the ground, we are at the beginning of a warmer stretch of weather and hoping it means Spring is on the way.