The ubiquitous spirea has to be one of the most recognizable, old-school dooryard landscape ornamentals around. Tough as nails, able to stand whatever Mother Nature throws at it, examples of “bridal wreath” spirea abound. No doubt many of them were planted decades ago. And although spirea does put on quite a show of cascades of tiny white blooms for a week or two in early summer, for most of the year spirea is just there.

But today this flowering shrub deserves a second look. In recent years a flurry of new varieties have been developed, and they are hardly your grandmother’s bridal wreath. Take Double Play Doozie spirea, for example.

Double Play Doozie spiraea is a good-looking plant with vibrant, red-tipped golden foliage in the spring and hot pink-red flowers in spring and summer. That brilliant foliage looks spectacular with spring-blooming bulb flowers. Come summer, the Double Play Doozie flowers will rebloom without deadheading, so you have lots of blooms without a lot of work.

The variety is able to flower so much because it doesn't produce seed — a good thing if you have ever noticed how the old variety reseeds with abandon. All of the energy of Double Play Doozie goes into blooms. So you get more flowers and you don't have pesky seedlings littering the landscape (and beyond).

Like its ancestor, Double Play Doozie has the easy care and good deer-resistance of other spiraea, so you can use it pretty much anywhere. That's what has made spirea such a popular garden standard for decades. It's adaptable and tough.

Double Play Doozie is hardy to Zone 3 and will grow in sun or partial shade. It grows two to three feet tall and wide. It clearly is a doozie! As in wow — that's amazing. To quote, a "doozie" is "something that is extraordinary or outstanding of its kind." The word comes from the Duesenberg car; back in the 1920s, when to equate something with a Duesenberg was the highest possible accolade. If you've ever seen one of these beautiful vehicles, you'll understand.

For best performance, locate Double Play Doozie in full sun with rich, well-drained soil. And for traffic-stopping presence, place spring-flowering bulbs nearby for spectacular color contrast, as I have done in my garden. I’ve enjoyed this compact shrub for several years in my garden, and continue to be amazed at the color in its early season foliage. Then come summer, accompanying blooming perennials will round out the show for this colorful garden standard that sports a new twist. With the official start of spring a month away, I, for one, am already counting down the days. You are going to love this care-free, compact and colorful little shrub.