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Choosing The Best Shrubs For Your Garden

Released On 29th Aug 2023

Choosing The Best Shrubs For Your Garden

When designing your garden, it’s important you choose a good balance of plants. From flowers and trees, right down to shrubs. But, every garden is different, and not every type of shrub will be right for yours. So instead of wasting your time and money on shrubs that are going to struggle, we’ve collected some of our favourite shrubs together and put them into groups depending on what you might need.

Shrubs For Year-Round Colour

If you want to create a colourful garden that will stay that way through all 4 seasons, you’ll often struggle with flowers. They are very seasonal, so will only flower for a short period of the year. Instead, you need to look to the shrub family. Here are a few options that can either provide year long colour, or can be planted together so that at least one is blooming at all times.

Roses: Believe it or not, roses are shrubs, and plating a variety can help you achieve spots of bright colour through all months of the year. Some varieties, like Rose of Sharon, have long blooming periods that starts in May and will last until the first frost of the year, while other varieties like Christmas and Snow roses will bloom all through winter.

Fothgerilla Bushes: These are multi-season shrubs that produce a unique ‘bottlebrush’ flower in spring with a lot of fragrance. But what makes these bushes so useful is that in the autumn their usually green foliage will turn into a spectacular display of colour. You’ll see oranges, yellows, greens, purples and reds, sometimes all on one leaf!

Sterwartstonian Azela: This evergreen shrub will keep you guessing all year. It offers spring flowers, bright red autumn leaves and an attractive winter foliage. In late November the leaves drop, but by December you will be gifted with new mahogany-coloured leaves, which stay until spring, when the cycle starts again. They like slightly acidic soil, so acid-enhanced fertiliser is a must.

Low Maintenance Shrubs

If you don’t want to spend a lot of time tending to your shrubs, or you’re just very busy and  want to make sure your garden looks good even when you don’t have time to devote to it,  there are a number of low maintenance shrubs you can choose. A few of our top low maintenance shrubs include:

Heather: This beautiful shrub is classed as an evergreen perennial, which means they will retail their foliage and flowers all year round. They are available in both purple and white blooms and are incredibly hardy. They adapt to most soil types (including acidic soil), and because they bloom earlier than most flower they are excellent pollinators. So if you want a bee-friendly shrub, you can’t go wrong with heather!

Blue Star Juniper: This is a dwarf variety of evergreen shrub, easily recognised for its signature blue needles. This shrub also tends to grow outwards, rather than upwards, which makes it very good for low maintenance ground cover. Since many gardens tend to be dominated by shades of green, having some blue tones can give a nice contrast – especially in winter when everything looks a bit muted.

Rhododendron: When it comes to low-maintenance bushes with ornamental value, you can’t get much better than the rhododendron. These are big bushes that produce beautiful funnel-shaped flowers over a long blooming season, and are available in a wide range of colours. They require very little maintenance, can cope with almost any soil type, and keep their leaves all year round. There’s a reason they’re one of the most common shrubs in Britain!

Evergreen Shrubs

Evergreen shrubs are the ones that keep their leaves all year round. These are a must in pretty much any garden, as they can keep it looking luscious and healthy even in the depths of winter. Evergreen shrubs are like the backbone or the foundations of good garden design, giving a fantastic background to your showier plants, or becoming the centrepiece themselves with the right shaping. There are a lot of varieties you can choose from – including many that aren’t ‘green’, to make your garden come to life. Our favourites include:

Azalea: A compact little shrub that bursts into flower every spring, bringing a pop of colour to your garden. These hardy shrubs are especially good for the damp, shady parts of your garden that other plants may struggle in.

Bay: Bays are sold as ‘trees’ but they are really evergreen shrubs. Their leaves are large and aromatic, and you will often find them used in recipes – so this is a great one to have if you love to cook! They’re often sold as ball or cone shapes, which make them a nice alternative to topiary. They can also grow well in pots, so they can be put pretty much anywhere.

Daphne: Daphne is a favourite of ours because it’s the ultimate winter evergreen. These bushes appear bright and fresh all year round, and flower heavily in winter with a strong, distinctive scent. They thrive in smaller gardens in dappled shade, or near paths and doorways so you can enjoy their fragrance every time you pass.

If you’re struggling with ideas for your own garden, or want some advice on which shrubs to plant to suit your needs, we are always happy to help. Just get in touch with CMA Garden Designs today to book a site visit and free consultation.