Shrubs of Distinction – John Negus

Whatever the size or style of our gardens shrubs can form a key element in their framework and the wide range available enables us to maintain year-round interest

Initially, John asked his audience which shrubs in their gardens had coped well in the current hot dry weather: Osmanthus, Euonymous, Hebe and Mimosa were mentioned and John suggested one of the best was Myrtle, also Weigela and Buddleia.

Some striking examples were shown on a screen and we were encouraged to identify these and to suggest others: Stachyurus praecox has drooping spikes of pale greenish-yellow flowers that open in late winter and early spring before pointed, deep gaeen leaves appear. Azara serrata is evergreen and has fragrant yellow flowers in late spring or early summer. Corylopsis sinensis:- leaves are bright green above, blue green below: clusters of bell-shaped pale yellow flowers open from early to mid Spring., Ceanothus:- many forms with densely clustered, mainly blue flowers, deservedly given the AGM, the RHS Award of Merit given to plants of outstanding excellence, and earned by many shrubs mentioned here.

  • Magnolia: again, many forms with AGMs: – M. x loebneri, “Leonard Messel”: In mid Spring has fragrant flowers, with many pale lilac- pink petals.
  • Magnolia M.sieboldii – Fragrant cup shaped white flowers, with crimson anthers, are carried above oval, dark green leaves from late Spring to late Summer.
  • Camellias: again many forms, all with beautiful flowers. They need well drained, neutral to acid soil, and can be seen in their glory in the Hillier Arboretum.
  • Lilac, abundant, heavily scented flowers variously mauve, purple, white, pink cream and red-purple. Lovely white forms are Madame Florent Stepman and Madame Lemoine.
    Tree Peony: apply potash once a month, April to September, so that flowers are stronger.
  • Judas Tree: cercis siliquastrum Bright pink flowers.
  • Ornamental apple “Profusion”.
  • Honeysuckle: Dropmore “Scarlet”, “Graham Thomas”.
  • Fuchsia – many outstanding forms. F. Mrs Popple, F. Rose of Castile.
  • Abutilon-A x suntence A. Violetta.
  • Acer. Many outstanding forms – “Bloodgood.
  • Euphorbia:” Humpty Dumpty”.
  • Laburnum – Common laburnum – “Golden Chain.”
  • Pieris – needs moist acid soil; small, profuse urn-shaped flowers.
  • Acacia-A. baileyana.
  • Cistus: (Rock Rose). C. cyprius and Cistus X. agularii maculatus. Prune in Spring, put petroleum jelly on the cuts.
  • .Choisya C. termata Aztec Pearl.
  • Cornus-“Dogwood” – “Porlock”
  • Clematis – old name “Travellers Joy” a happy companion for shrubs – “C. Doctor Ruppel”; C. Crystal Fountains.
  • Cytisus battandieri – “Pineapple Broom”
  • Hydrangea, many lovely forms – H. arborescens Annabelle.
  • Sophora – S. japonica “Pagoda Tree”.

An engaging, interactive talk, delivered and received with enthusiasm.