1. Use shrubs for a medium to long term effect
2. Use evergreen shrubs for permanent structure
3. Use deciduous shrubs for extra winter sun
4. Plan foliage as well as flower colours
5. Contrast different foliage textures
6. Tip prune shrubs for extra density
Shrubs are an essential element in any garden.
Having woody stems makes them more enduring - though slower to mature - than many perennials. Multiple branching close to the ground means they provide flexibility and structure on a more intimate scale than trees.
Planted in rows, robust shrubs are hedged - as a tall formal screen down to a low edging for other plantings. Grouped in various sizes, they can be effective windbreaks. Those with thorns can create a living security barrier. Prostrate shrubs make a durable groundcover; some needing only a few plants to cover a lot of territory.
The year-round leaf cover of evergreen shrubs provides permanent structure in the landscape. Deciduous shrubs completely shed their leaves for part of the year and change with the seasons. Leaf drop can reveal brightly coloured winter stems.
Flowers come in the full spectrum of colour, shape and scent. But leaf size, shape and arrangement can also be highly decorative, especially with texture contrasts among mixed plantings.
Foliage is another colour alternative in silver, yellow, red, purple and as well as the many subtle shades of green. Leaf colour can be permanent and with variegation, or seasonal with autumnal changes and new growth.
Shrubs provide various ornamental and edible fruits as well as evocative scents from both aromatic leaves and perfumed flowers.
Individual species each have their natural habit but many respond to pruning to manipulate their shape. Shrubs are the backbone of topiary: pruning and training plants to specific shapes. Pruning is also done to accentuate the natural form of a shrub or to increase its density. These clipped plants all make good features as a single specimen in a pot.
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Plant of the Day
Plant type: semi-deciduous tree
H: 20m W: 10m
Sunlight: hot overhead sun to dappled light
Evergreen shrubs create permanent structure but deciduous shrubs offer seasonal variety with flowers, fruit, autumn leaf colour and dramatic bare winter stems.
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