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Shrubs for an empty garden

(29 Posts)
Confitdecanard Tue 25-Mar-14 10:26:41

I'm a complete gardening novice and was hoping for some advice. We have a longish south-westerly facing rectangular shaped garden that, aside from a small patio and shed close to the house and some decking at the far end, is entirely laid to lawn.

I would like (I think) to plant some shrubs. I don't want anything too tall as the views from the end of the garden are great and I want to be able to see them from the house. Ideally I would like a selection to give interest at different times of the year. I don't want anything poisonous and low maintenance would also be good. What do you recommend?

nonicknameseemsavailable Tue 25-Mar-14 10:47:42

I am not good with gardens so low maintenance is very important to me.
I personally like hebe bushes (they can have different colour flowers on them). they seem to stay quite low down although do spread out wide. fuschia's are lovely but can look bare in winter, ceanothus are nice (bluey purple flowers), heucheras and hostas are great although slugs do tend to like them, my hosta died a death one autumn thanks to slugs and I was very disappointed because it had brilliant big leaves. heucheras apparently are also popular but none of mine have been eaten even the ones next to the hosta. Heucheras have coloured leaves which change in shade with the seasons, I think they are lovely for a bit of colour, they require no effort IMO and they get little flowers on stalks too. I love lavender and rosemary as well, again they are low maintenance. We have camelia bushes too but they depend on your soil type. hydrangeas? they are also pretty and come in different types, lacecap ones are particularly beautiful I think.

Confitdecanard Tue 25-Mar-14 11:05:08

Thanks for the advice. I have had a quick google and some of these look great. I particularly like the hosta. I might drag DS to the garden centre with the promise of a look at the fish and a snack in the cafe!

Can anyone recommend anything that gives winter colour?

Rhubarbgarden Tue 25-Mar-14 11:46:37

Some winter flowering shrubs:
Viburnum bodnantense 'Dawn'
Daphne bholua 'Jacqueline Postil'
Hamamelis (any variety)

Rhubarbgarden Tue 25-Mar-14 11:47:16

Oh and Viburnum tinus is a good do-er.

Rhubarbgarden Tue 25-Mar-14 11:48:07

Acacia pravissima if you are down south and have a sheltered spot.

nonicknameseemsavailable Tue 25-Mar-14 14:32:43

dogwoods are nice coloured sticks in the winter - no leaves in the winter though.
heucheras are year round colour
camelias can be winter flowering so ours start in Jan and are going strong now with lots of pretty flowers.
we have a callicarpa bodinieri which has lovely purple berries in the winter.

www.rhs.org.uk/Gardens/Wisley/About-Wisley/Plant-of-the-month/October/Callicarpa-bodinieri-var--giraldii-Profusion

it looks very unusual. not entirely sure what it looks like the rest of the year as I only bought it in the autumn but apparently it gets flowers.

Rhubarbgarden Tue 25-Mar-14 15:17:04

Edgworthia chrysantha.

Confitdecanard Tue 25-Mar-14 17:57:00

Ooh, thanks everyone. I will check all these out. I particularly like the sound of the coloured sticks!

nonicknameseemsavailable Tue 25-Mar-14 19:22:48

sorry coloured sticks isn't a very technical description is it but it describes them well - bright red sticks. We have a very dull bit at the bottom of our garden with a rather ugly grey wall and I have planted a few of these down there. They can grow very tall but you can keep them under control.

also completely forgot to mention Winter Jasmine, it has little bright yellow flowers in winter but green leaves all year round too, I think it is officially a climber but it is more sturdy and stick like stems than my other jasmine which always looks a bit delicate. I haven't tried doing it but some people entwine (is that the right word) two different types of climber that flower at different times.

autumnleavesdancing Wed 26-Mar-14 00:37:13

Choisya Ternata http://apps.rhs.org.uk/plantselector/plant?plantid=427

ComeIntoTheGardenMaud Wed 26-Mar-14 08:41:24

I'd second the suggestion of Callicarpa - the clusters of purple berries are lovely.

Has anyone suggested viburnum tinus? It's quite a common shrub - not a rarity - but has something to offer in all seasons.

ComeIntoTheGardenMaud Wed 26-Mar-14 08:42:44

Oops, sorry, Rhubarb had already mentioned it.

nonicknameseemsavailable Wed 26-Mar-14 09:24:16

we have some pieris too - require no effort at all IMO, well ours are happy enough anyway. I like the red leaves.

ShoeWhore Wed 26-Mar-14 09:36:51

Berberis - we have a dark red one which is fab
Lilac - there is a smaller growing variety, look for that (some get very big)
Philadelphus
Magnolia stellata
Choisya ternata - either the dark green one or the yellow Sundance variety
Euonymus - lovely variegated foliage
Buddleia if you choose carefully (again some varieties get very big)
Eucalyptus if you prune it very hard every spring (almost to the ground)
Amelanchier is pretty
Virburnum tinus is good - mine is flowering now so good for early colour
Lavender
Euphorbia are brilliant

Hostas are lovely but aren't shrubs really - they will completely die back over the winter. Hellebores are technically a perennial but are evergreen, look good all year and provide some colour in late Winter/very early Spring

ShoeWhore Wed 26-Mar-14 09:39:38

Lavatera is also very pretty.

Confitdecanard Wed 26-Mar-14 10:15:24

Wonderful. I have borrowed an encyclopedia of plants and flowers and am about to work through all your suggestions. Thank you all. I'm excited about this now.

funnyperson Wed 26-Mar-14 10:49:24

Here are my additions!
I like the red stems of the dog wood in winter and have a variegated variety which looks nice when the leaves come out.
I do like winter jasmine and it can be pruned very close if necessary.
Mahonia has lovely yellow scented flowers in the winter and a nice shape to it.
Ceanothus is a lovely blue flowered bush in the spring and likes clay
Cotoneaster is evergreen and has berries which birds love to eat and nest in
Rhodedendrons can be nice with camellias azaleas and magnolias if you have ericaceous soil.
A gorse/broom can look very dramatic when in flower.

ShoeWhore Wed 26-Mar-14 16:25:35

Potentilla is another option - I have a white flowered one - v easy going and long flowering period.

nonicknameseemsavailable Wed 26-Mar-14 20:06:08

what is the thing which has bright yellow flowers which is flowering now (in the south of England)? I always think it is an amazing late winter/early spring colour but no idea what it is or how big it gets.

funnyperson Wed 26-Mar-14 20:09:02

witchhazel? forsythia?mahonia?

ShoeWhore Wed 26-Mar-14 20:15:39

Probably Forsythia?

Poosnu Wed 26-Mar-14 20:27:07

These are brilliant suggestions - I came online to find out about this too.

nonicknameseemsavailable Wed 26-Mar-14 21:36:32

forsythia - thats the one. sorry, I am really not good with names of things, never could remember stuff.

furlinedsheepskinjacket Wed 26-Mar-14 21:42:19

I too had a completely empty garden

yy to forsythia, dogwood,hebe
also I have some lovely italian style cypress trees,can be pruned,evergreen with nice cones on in autumn
oh and a juniper bush I like

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