Tag Archives: Flowering shrubs

The Mid-Summer Border.

As we speed towards the longest day of the year and summer feels well under way, the vibrant greens of the spring growth give way to the exuberant pastel shades of the mixed mid-summer border. Here are a few favourites that give good depth of foliage texture and good flowering and work well together.

Kolkwitzia amabilis 'Pink Cloud'

Kolkwitzia amabilis ‘Pink Cloud’

Kolkwitzia amabilis ‘Pink Cloud’ : A fine shrub that should be planted more, medium sized forming a dense mound of twiggy habit with small mid green foliage. With clusters of small bell shaped flowers in clear shell pink that cover the whole shrub giving a riot of colour are produced from late May into June. Copes well in thin dry chalk soils. Grow in full sun.

Choisya ‘Aztec Pearl’: a good medium sized shrub that adds that evergreen backing to a border. It grows well in full sun or part shade. Mound forming habit, with delicate mid green slenderly divided leaves. Clusters of white highly scented flowers are produced May/June. Will cope with most soils but not water logging.

Cistus x argenteus 'Sliver Pink'

Cistus x argenteus ‘Sliver Pink’

Cistus x argenteus ‘Sliver Pink’: A small fast growing evergreen shrub with arching habit. Sliver foliage which is aromatic when brushed. A mass of papery soft pink flowers cover the shrub in late May into June. A must for the middle of the border. Full sun and free draining soils, also a good coastal plant.

Erysimum 'Bowles Mauve'

Erysimum ‘Bowles Mauve’

Erysimum ‘Bowles Mauve’: A small mounded sub-shrub, the perennial wall flower punches well above its weight. With its evergreen sliver grey foliage and long flower stems of small purple flowers which are produced from March through to the end of June. It grows well in full sun in all well draining soils.

Paeonia 'White Wings'

Paeonia ‘White Wings’

Paeonia ‘White Wings’: This herbaceous Paeonia adds a touch of class to the middle of the boarder with classic dark green palmate foliage. The large saucer shaped single flowers have delicate papery white petals and a mass of golden yellow stamens at their centre. Flowering end of May and into June. All free draining soils.

Hemerocalis 'Joan Senior'

Hemerocalis ‘Joan Senior’

Hemerocallis ‘Joan Senior’: A wonderful medium height herbaceous perennial. Swords of mid green foliage make a great edging plant to the front of the border. Stems of flowers rise above the foliage, with white semi-ruffled edged flowers with a deep green throat. The flowers are produced in secession in clusters at the top of the stems and flowers for most of June.

Geranium 'Johnston's Blue'

Geranium ‘Johnston’s Blue’

Geranium ‘Johnston’s Blue’: a superb low growing mound forming ground cover geranium. Which has mid-green divided foliage and clear blue/purple flowers produced in abundance from mid May to mid June. Shear the dead flower heads off for later flowerings. Great to plant as ground cover around the edges of larger shrubs or as a planting along the front edge of the border. Likes full sun but will cope with a bit of shade and grows well in all free draining soils.

Alchimilla mollis

Alchimilla mollis

Alchemilla mollis: no mid-summer planting scheme would be complete with out this self seeding ground cover plant. The pea-green rounded gently palmate leaves catch early morning dew and look stunning. Drifts of sulphur green tiny flowers are held above the leaf clumps from June into late July. A good sun loving ground cover plant. All well drained soils.

Allium hollandicum 'Purple Sensation'

Allium hollandicum ‘Purple Sensation’

Allium hollandicum ‘Purple Sensation’: Bulbs are not all about early spring. Mid May and into early June this handsome member of the onion family adds a sticking appearance to the mid-summer border. Round globes of dark purple flowers are held on 70/90cm high stems and they glide well above the lower planting in the middle of the boarder.

A boarder in full mid summer bloom.

A border in full mid summer bloom.

I hope these ideas have inspired you to get the best out of your mid-summer planting if you need help to create a new planting area or to revitalise an existing tired border then I am the woman for you. Please do give me a ring to discuss planting ideas and planting plans. Telephone Emily on 01273 470753.

Riotous Rhododendrons

Rhododendrons taking centre stage.

Rhododendrons taking centre stage.

This large genus of shrubs which also includes Azaleas, are not just the staple of large gardens of stately homes with acres of garden. They are however invaluable as woodland edge planting and as a dramatic evergreen backdrops with riots of colour for the large boarder. Or to be used as individual specimens in a small mixed planting. Also as shapely container grown specimens on a patio.

 Rhododendrons fulvum

Rhododendrons fulvum

Rhododendron fulvum: For an outstanding Rhododendron that has presence and is a specimen this is a hard variety to beat. It is fully hardy a large shrub/small tree. With cinnamon bark and clusters of large leathery dropping leaves with sandy indumentun beneath. Clusters of bell shaped blush to rose coloured flowers opening to a clear white with a crimson blotch are produced from April till May.

 Rhododendron 'President Roosevelt'

Rhododendron ‘President Roosevelt’

Rhododendron ‘President Roosevelt’: Good domed habit reaching 1.5m high. Clusters of mid green foliage with a bold golden central splash make this a wonderfully distinctive Rhododendron to grow in a pot giving a great splash of colour even in the winter months. Clusters of bright red flowers with a white throat are borne in April till May. Fully hardy.

Rhododendron yakushimanum 'Grumpy'

Rhododendron yakushimanum ‘Grumpy’

Rhododendron Yorkshireman ‘Grumpy’:  The ‘Yaks’ are a great group of small compact Rhododendrons with a distinctive growing habit and very attractive glossy green foliage with pronounced indumentum in soft cream on the under side of the leaves and Grumpy is one of the 7 dwarf series of hybrids. These slow growing rhododendrons are worth the wait. Orange buds open to delicate cream bell shaped flowers with tints of pink and spotted buff on the upper lobes. Flowering in late May.

Rhododendron 'Blue Diamond'

Rhododendron ‘Blue Diamond’

Rhododendron ‘Blue Diamond’: A classic dwarf Rhododendron with upright habit and tiny dense clusters of small grey green leaves and masses of vivid blue flowers April to May.

Rhododendron 'Elsie Lee'

Rhododendron ‘Elsie Lee’

Rhododendron (Azalea) ‘Elsie Lee’: compact small semi-dwarf habit with small rounded leaves. Rich purple double flowers in May.

 Rhododendron 'Nancy Waterer'

Rhododendron ‘Nancy Waterer’

Rhododendron (Azalea) ‘Nancy Waterer’: Upright habit, deciduous Azalea with orange, red autumn colour. Large fragrant bright yellow flowers in April to May.

Rhododendrons making the highlight of a mid summer woodland garden.

Rhododendrons making the highlight of a mid summer woodland garden.

Rhododendrons have been shunned and under used in recent years by garden designers and keen gardens alike. With bad press of being big green blobs with flashy bright flowers, but this is bad garden sighting not the shrubs themselves. Rhododendrons and Azaleas can be magnificent and just need a sensitive hand when planning their use and it is high time they re-entered centre stage in the garden.

Early Spring Flowering Shrubs

As the clocks go forward and the equinox has passed Spring has well and truly sprung, but spring is not all about bulb power there are many early flowering shrubs that act as great specimens in their own right as well as a flowering backdrop to all those sweeps of colourful bulbs.

Forsythia x intermedia 'Lynwood'

Forsythia x intermedia ‘Lynwood’

Forsythia x intermedia ‘Lynwood’: Forsythias may seem a bit common place and in some eyes even gaudy, but they are a rich golden splash at the back of a border especially if backed by evergreen planting and will sing out from the bottom of the garden even on the greyest of April rainy days.

A bold up right habit, the stems are covered in rich golden flowers, mid- March to mid April. The leaves appear after flowering. Medium sized deciduous shrub, will grow well in full sun but will cope with some shade. Will grow in most soils including poor chalk, but does not like waterlogging.

Chaenomeles speciosa ' Crimson and Gold'

Chaenomeles speciosa ‘ Crimson and Gold’

Chaenomeles speciosa ‘Crimson and Gold’: A wonderful early flowering shrub, that can be planted in a border or trained up a wall. The wide saucer shaped red flowers with brilliant golden anthers appear before the leaves from the end of February through to early April. The thorny branches produce round yellow fruits in the early autumn. A medium deciduous sized shrub will cope with most soils, protect from drying out when planted up a wall.

Coronilla glauca ‘Variegata’: The trouble with this shrub, is it, just does not seem to stop flowering! A medium sized shrub with delicate evergreen grey foliage which is white edged. Delicately scented clusters of rich yellow pea shaped flowers appear in mid March for the main flowering season but the shrub will continue to flower intermittently through out the spring, summer and into the autumn. Grow in full sun and best in poor free draining soils. It is not fully hardy but will grow well in the S.E of England.

Corylopsis willmttiae: A shrub with a graceful wide spreading habit which is deciduous. Grows well in semi-shade as it is a plant of the woodland edge. It likes humus rich soils but will grow well on chalky soils if enough organic material is added and it is not allowed to dry out. From early march to mid April slender tassels of primrose yellow flowers are borne along the branches. The flowers are followed by the rich purple leaves.

Ribes sanguineum ‘Tydemans White’: Perhaps as ubiquitous in early spring as the Forsythia is the shocking pink of the Ribes, but this white form has all the robustness of the common form including its masses of flowers over a long flowering period but has a more delicate charm. A medium sized deciduous shrub with a gentle arching habit. That will grow on almost any free draining soil. Long racemes of white flowers are produced from mid march to mid April.

Stachyurus x praecox: A Medium to large deciduous wide spreading shrub with gentle habit. That grows well in fertile humus rich soils neutral to slightly acid. The rich brown branches have flower racemes forming in early autumn. The flowers open to produce 5cm long racemes of yellow cup-shaped flowers from early March. The flowers are followed by mid green broad taper-pointed leaves.

Most early spring shrubs produce their mostly delicate flowers on bare stems so to full appropriate their flowering impact, plant them either on mass in a group of at least 3. If you haven’t the room then they can be great specimen shrubs but need an evergreen ‘backing’ shrub to fully enjoy the flowers, and to create that ‘wow’ early spring impact.

If you need help to reinvigorate your garden to give it that early spring ‘wow’ factor then I can help you, from producing a planting plan for a corner of the garden or for a whole boarder, through to supplying and planting. Please do ring me. Tel :01273 470753.

Berry Blasts of Autumn Colour.

As the nights are drawing in and the leaves being to turn, this season of mellow mists and fruitfulness gives a blast of autumnal colour in the form of shrubs loaded with berry colour. Here are a few that I think are worthy of a space, somewhere to catch the sunny spells and a good evergreen backing shrub can intensify their berry drama.

The Main Stays: Cotonester ‘Cornubia’ (wateri group), A handsome large shrub with arching habit and evergreen foliage. Making it a good inform hedge. White flower cluster sit up-right on the branches in mid summer and by the end of September beginning of October the bunches of red/orange fruit are forming and will be held on through most of the winter until eaten by the birds. Will grow on most soils including shallow chalk but not water logged ground.

cotonester 'cornubia'

cotonester ‘cornubia’

Pyracantha rogersiana ‘Flava’, A vigorous wall shrub or grown as a good ‘vandal’ proof hedge with it’s thorny spines. Small evergreen glossy leaves. Clusters of sweet scented flowers late spring give way by early autumn to masses of clustered yellow berries, that survive as long as the birds will let them. It makes a striking display. Growing conditions as above.



The More Unusual: Perrnettya ‘Pink Pearl’ A small dense forming evergreen shrub up to 1/1.3m high, small glossy green spine tipped leaves. Small insignificant flowers give way to masses of clustered round ball shaped fruit in a soft pink tint. Acid loving shrub growing in moist humus rich soils sun or part shade.

Hippophae rhamnoides, a striking medium to large evergreen shrub, with dark branches and thin clusters of sliver leaves. The ‘Sea Buckthorn’ can be found as the front line shrub growing next the coast, coping well with exposed sites and sea winds. It has mighty thornes, so makes a good boundary hedge in exposed sites. Its tiny white summer flowers give way to masses of small orange berries that clothe the branches in late summer and early autumn.



The Dame Right Quirky: Leycesteria formosa, a medium sized shrub, with a slightly shaggy habit and fast growing. White flowers in dropping panicles of dark red brats from June to September give way to striking berries a dark blue/black hanging in the red brats. Lasting well into the autumn.



Clerodendrum trichotomum fargesii, an elegant large shrub with upright habit. Grows well on humus rich soil. Fragrant white blush pink star-shaped fragrant flowers. Followed by china-blue berries in crimson pink brats make a stunning statement.



To The Double Blasters: Callicarpa bodinieri giraldii, a good well sized medium shrub, with small purple flowers mid-summer followed by clusters of tiny purple berries borne up the branches and lasting well after leaf fall. As the days get colder the leaves turn a pink and purple and along with the berries produce a striking effect.

Euonymus alatus, A medium sized shrub with a spreading habit and corky wings on the branchlets, slow growing in most soils and does well on shallow chalks. The insignificant flowers give way to striking berries, they hang down with outer bright orange capsules with shocking pink inner berry. These unusual berries are set against the stunning brilliant red autumn leaf colour.





So get out there and enjoy the other blast of autumn colour! Now is a good time to note the shrubs with the best berry colour, and add them to your garden planting. If you want help designing a autumn planting boarder, then give me a ring, tel: 01273 470753.