Shrubs, The Backbone Of Your Garden was the title of the talk given to the Club by Geoff Hawkins, Horticultural Speaker, Broadcaster and Gardening Consultant.
He advised starting with a good garden design, remembering that shrubs are there all the time, a constant through the changing seasons, so it is important “to get it right”. Proportion is vital, as is pruning that retains the natural shape- no “lollipops”! Pruning should be done properly; (it is best not to have a shrub that has to be pruned all the time), and going under the shrub to do so is sometimes best.
A richly varied selection of shrubs, all illustrated in slides, demonstrated their versatility, as Geoff went through the alphabet, naming the following:-
Abelia grandiflora. Abutilon x suntense. Abutilon “Jermyns “ (early). Acer palmatum dissectum atropurpurea. Note, acers need shelter from wind. Acuba japonica. Azaleas.
Berberis atropurpurea (small). Berberis thunbergii and darwinii (both can be grown as hedges). Berberis x carminea. Berberis x stenophylla Lemon Queen. (Geoff reminded us that yellow plants “come forward” visually, so are best planted far enough away). Buddleja “Blue Chip” (small). Buddleja davidii – “Black Knight”. Buddleja alternifolia (sweet scented). Buddleja Lochlinch. Prune Buddlejia in the spring. Boxus “Buttercup” – as a hedge. Trim, not too gently!
Camellia “Spring Promise”. Camellia x williamsii has double flowers. Ceratostigma griffitii. Cercis Canadensis “Forest Pansy”. Chimonanthus praecox, known as “Winter Sweet” is of course fragrant. Choisya ternata. (Prune after flowering, to control). Choisya “Aztec Pearl” (a handsome plant). Clerodendrum trichotomum. Cordyline “Torquay Dazzler”. Cornus florida “Sunset” (height depends upon the soil). Cornus “Midwinter Fire”. Cornus have wonderfully colourful stems. Corylopsis sinensis (spring flowering). Cotoneaster horizontalis. Cytisus scoparus.
Daphne odorata pygmaea (fragrant). Deutzia. Diervilla sessifolia (Bush Honeysuckle).
Eleagnus. Euonymous “Silver Queen”. Euonymus alatus. Exochorda macranthe “The Bride”.
Fatschedera. Forsythia (striking grown as a hedge). Fremontodendron. Fuchsia magellanica. Fuchsia riccartonii.
Garrya elliptica (flowers in February). Griselinia.
Hamamelis (Witch Hazel – fragrant) Hebe (many forms; shear after flowering) Hibiscus syriacus. Hollies. Ilex “Golden King” Hydrangea (prune carefully). Annabelle and Paniculata querquifolia. Hypericum.
Lavendula stoechas “Regal Splendour”. Leucanthemum (attract flowers). Lupinus.
Magnolia wilsonii. Mahonia.
Paeonia lutea (Tree Peony – “Duchess of Marlborough”. Perovskia. Philadelphus. Physocarpus. Pieris. Potentilla. Prunus incisa (Fuji Cherry).
Ribes (currant) King Edward V11. Rosa moyesii.
Salix exigua. Sambucus, variegated and Nigra Guincho Purple.
Santolina (cut back in spring). Sarcococca (Sweet Box) – fragrant. Senecio greyii. Skimmia japonica. Spiraea. Stachyurus. Syringa microphylla (small).
Viburnum – many forms.
Weigela. Wisteria (grown as a shrub!)
It can be seen that Geoff gave his appreciative audience a choice of specimens that would create a garden framework providing interest all year round.