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A selection of shrubs



What is a Shrub?
A shrub is a woody plant with several branches coming from the base, unlike a tree which usually has just one stem.
They can be deciduous (lose their leaves in winter) or evergreen.


Why are shrubs so useful in the garden?
Shrubs come in many shapes and sizes and provide form and structure in the garden. They can also add colour through their flowers, stems, berries, foliage and scent.
They can be used on their own as a feature plant or in a mixed group of other shrubs, trees, perennials, bulbs etc.
Evergreen shrubs add some interest in the winter whilst deciduous shrubs offer a wider variety of ornamental qualities. Therefore, it is best to include a combination of the two in a garden.
There are shrubs available that provide interest at all times of year, some in spring, some in summer etc so by carefully selecting the plants, you can have interest in your garden all year round.


Pruning of shrubs
There are three main reasons for pruning:

  • Flowers or fruits increase.
  • Dramatic foliage or stems can be produced.
  • The shrub is encouraged to grow into an appealing shape.

The timing and pruning technique depends on the species of shrub and it is important o do this correctly (and regularly where applicable) to bring out the best in the plant.

Pruning can also be done to renovate shrubs that are mature and which need a new lease of life. This often involves pruning in stages but can give very good results and saves you pulling out the plant and starting again.


Examples of shrubs

Click on any of the images below to enlarge.

Abelia x grandiflora is a large semi-evergreen shrub with small flowers in the autumn on arching branches. It should be grown in a sheltered spot.

Azalea are evergreen shrubs for acid soil in partial shade. 
Berberis thunbergii f.atropurpurea ‘Nana’ is a spiny, compact purple leaved shrub with pale yellow flowers in spring. The leaves turn red in autumn and they produce red fruits in winter.
Camellias are evergreen shrubs for acid soil. They have glossy leaves and large flowers in late spring.

Choisya ternata ‘Sundance’ is an evergreen shrub with yellow foliage that tolerates shade so is useful for lighting up a dull corner. It also produces white scented flowers in spring.
Cornus ‘Midwinter Fire’ has bright orange/red stems through the winter. It looks good underplanted with Snowdrops.

Cotinus coggyria ‘Royal Purple’ is a deciduous shrub with attractive deep purple foliage. It has plumes of flowers in summer which give it a common name of ‘Smokebush’. The foliage turns bright red in the autumn

Cotoneaster lacteus is a large evergreen shrub with arching branches. It has small white flowers in summer and striking red berries in autumn.

Euphorbia martini has beautiful lime green bracts in spring. You must wear gloves when handling this plant as the sap contains latex which can be an irritant.
Fatsia japonica is an evergreen shrub with a striking form. It has large, glossy, distinctly shaped leaves.
Forsythia x intermedia has bright yellow flowers in early spring, it is one of the first shrubs to add colour to the garden.
Garrya elliptica ‘James Roof’ is a large, upright, evergreen shrub with grey-green leaves, and catkins in winter. It looks good against a wall.

Hypericum ‘Hidcote’ is an evergreen shrub with bright yellow flowers in early summer. It is useful to brighten up a shady corner.
Mahonia x media is a lovely evergreen shrub with spiky leaves and scented yellow flowers in winter.
Nandina domestica is an evergreen shrub with elegant leaves and red berries in late summer.
Pachysandra terminalis is a low growing evergreen, carpeting shrub with glossy leaves and white flowers in early summer.

Philadelphus ‘Manteau d’Hermine’ is a pretty shrub with white fragrant flowers in summer.
Photinia x fraseri ‘Red Robin’ is an evergreen shrub. In the spring, clusters of bright red, new leaves emerge. It can be used as large shrub or trimmed regularly as a hedge.
Taxus baccata ‘Fastigiata’ is a dense, compact and upright evergreen conifer with dark green foliage. Nb The leaves are toxic.
 Weigela florida ‘Variegata’ is a deciduous shrub with attractive variegated foliage and pink flowers in summer.

More Plants

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