Shrubs can add form, shape, structure, interest and colour to the garden, and provide a backdrop for other forms of planting. The following selection of shrubs are suitable for growing in domestic gardens in Great Britain (England/Scotland/Ireland).
Cytisus - Genista
Chinese witch hazel
Mexican Orange Blossom
False Caster Oil Plant
Silk tassel bush
There are literally hundreds of different species and varieties of shrubs and woody plants available. Choosing plants that are suitable for specific sites and locations around the garden can be a daunting task.
Well planted and cared for shrubs should live for many years, providing a lifetime of joy and reward. However, poorly chosen or badly sited shrubs may eventually grow to become an nuisance and an eyesore. One that eventually may need to be removed, often with much effort and expense. Therefore it is best to take plenty of time to research and choose your shrubs wisely. Attributes to consider include the shrub's eventual size, form, shape and flower/foliage colour at different times of the year.
Shrubs are available in a diverse range of shapes and sizes, from under 1ft (30cm) up to 20ft (7m) tall. Dwarf types are particularly well suited for the rock or heath garden. Medium sized shrubs are ideal for mixed borders, shrubberies or as specimen plants. There are also those that will eventually make very large dense bushes or grow to tree like proportions. Although most shrubs respond well to pruning, it is best to choose suitable sized specimens and plant them within enough space to reduce the amount of pruning required to a minimum.
The flowering period should also be considered. Certain shrubs bloom before the onset of spring, many flower in spring a summer and yet others flower late in the season, often into winter. Often flowers are followed by colourful ornamental fruits and berries. To extend the range of interest in the garden it is useful to include a range of species that flower and fruit at different times of the year, thus creating a succession of colour through the seasons.
Unless planting a hedge, barrier or formal geometrical garden, shrubs don't often look their best when be planted in straight rows. They will appear more natural when set out in small irregular groups of 3-5 or more, depending on size. Shrubs that are exceptionally attractive, due to their growth habit, leaf colour, flowers or fruits can be planted as solitary specimens, in the middle of an open space or given pride of place in the border.
In general, the best time to plant deciduous shrubs is in the autumn once the stems are bare of leaves. Evergreen shrubs are best planted in spring before they begin to put on growth.
If shrubs are to grow and blossom well it is necessary to consider their soil requirements, aspect and possition. Sun-loving species should be given plenty of light and shade-loving forms an appropriate amount of shade. If not, the leaves and flowers may both suffer. Moisture loving shrubs will need a damp well watered location and those that prefer drier conditions, a well-drained site and open free draining soil. You will also need to consider the pH requirements of the soil and the force and direction of prevailing winds.