Shrubs are important in the garden, giving height, structure and interest when nothing else is awake. There are some beautiful specimens and they give years of pleasure.
Having heavy clay soil I have tried to find suitable shrubs and then worked in loads of compost before planting. This is worth the effort as the shrubs thrive once this is done.
Here are a few that have flourished:
Wisteria Chinensis. On a visit to Coughton Court (National Trust Worcestershire) we saw a Wisteria trained as a tree with an umbrella type frame. I was inspired and decided to try growing one as a tall shrub with a wooden stake. This year it looked beautiful although not quite up to NT standards I’m afraid. Will have to be patient! Very easy to grow and prune as a tall shrub.
Weigela Bristol Ruby. Deciduous shrub producing very pretty pink flowers in spring with attractive dark foliage all year. Each year I take a few old shoots out from the base to keep it healthy.
Weigela Variegata. Deciduous shrub with pink flowers and green and cream foliage.
Sambucus (Elder). Deciduous shrub that I have to chop each spring to keep it in check. Lovely dark foliage with pretty pink flowers. Loves the sun. Looks nice with a blue clematis growing through although this year mine has been eaten by mice. Hey ho – will persevere for next year.
Viburnam Plicatum Mariesii. This is stunning deciduous shrub that needs space (1.8 x 2.1m) to impress. Flowers in spring on horizontal branches and reminds me of snow on an alpine tree. I have mine in the front garden and have had to hack back other shrubs to show it off. This photo is taken in July after flowering.
Viburnam Carlesii. This vigorous deciduous shrub produces massive rounded balls of fragrant white flowers in spring. 3 years ago it was eaten by Viburnam beetle which I understand can kill the plant. My approach was to chop it down to about 2 feet and start again. I have to say this is not the recommended treatment but as I don’t use chemicals I took a radical approach. No sign of a return of the beetle I am happy to report and this year it has grown to about 3 metres and was covered in flowers. This photo was taken in July after flowering. I will have to wait until next year to get a photo with flowers.
Sarcococca (Christmas Box). Smallish evergreen shrub with shiny leaves and rather ordinary looking. I have grown mine in a pot by the front door as in winter it produces tiny white flowers which give off a delicious strong fragrance. Everyone asks what it is!