Popular Garden Shrubs

These are the general principles, and as far as possible, details of the most popular of garden shrubs will be given in the following list.

Amelanchier canadensis. The snowy mespilus. The foliage is slightly hairy and greyish, the flowers white in April, and the berries and tints of the leaves decorative in autumn. It thrives

on chalky soils. No pruning is needed, if plenty of space can be allowed.

Artemisia abrotanum. Southernwood or Old Man. Aromatic foliage. Should be cut back hard annually in February, for the best results.

Aucuba japonica. Variegated laurel. Male and female are on separate bushes, and both should be grown together so that the female one may carry bright red berries. No pruning is necessary, unless the bushes are straggly, when they can be cut hard back in April.

Azalea. A deciduous section of the rhododendron family, suitable only for cultivation on lime-free soil. No regular pruning except to cut off the dead flower heads.

Berberis. AOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA large family of shrubs, of varied character. B. aggregata has masses of coral berries and brilliant autumn foliage. Deciduous. B. Darwinii has tiny holly-like leaves, and rich orange flowers followed by purple berries. Evergreen, excellent for hedges. No pruning. B. stenophylla is narrow leaved, evergreen, with masses of paler yellow flowers, scented, on long arching stems in April and Mayi Prune just after flowering, cutting back the long arching stems nearly to the old wood. If grown as a formal hedge plant, trim back once more, in August. Evergreen. B. Wilsoni has coral red translucent berries in profusion. Rather spreading growth. Deciduous. No pruning. B. aquifolium is the holly leaved mahonia.

March flowering, in clusters of yellow flowers, followed by purple berries. Evergreen. A good subject for under-tree planting. No pruning. Many other useful members of the berberis family are listed in catalogues.

Buddleia are another group of flowering shrubs, which may be either evergreen or deciduous. B. alternifolia is a dainty June flowering buddleia, about 5 ft. high, useful as a lawn specimen. The flowers are pale lilac, and pruning consists of shortening the branches a little after the flowers fade. B. variabilis is purple, flowers in late summer. Cut back the previous year’s shoots to within a few inches of the old wood in February. B. globosa, the orange ball tree, flowers in June. No regular pruning is needed to keep the shrub attractive.

Calluna vulgaris or Scotch heather. Several species of this family make good shrubs for the wild garden or for the rock garden, the double-flowered ling calluna vulgaris fibre pleno being particularly pleasant. No pruning.

Chimonanthus fragrans. The Winter Sweet. One of the best of winter flowering shrubs on account of its fine scent. The parchment-coloured flowers open in December and January, whenever the sun shines, and scent the air even on a frosty day. Needs a warm situation, preferabfy against a south wall, and warm light soil. To train as a wall climber, cut back the side shoots after flowering to leave two to three eyes. Flowers are borne on the wood made the previous summer. As a bush no regular pruning is required. Deciduous.

Ceanothus. The spring flowering species are evergreen, flowers of various shades of blue. These need no pruning, unless trained to a wall, when they should be cut back after flowering. The later flowered species include blue and pink varieties. These are deciduous, and bloom on wood of the current season. They are pruned hard back in February or March. There are recent hybrids between the two types, and the pruning of these will be adapted according to the nature of the hybrid.

Choisya ternata. Mexican orange blossom. Evergreen, but slightly tender shrub suitable for sheltered positions only. No regular pruning is required, but trim for shapeliness if necessary in April.

Cistus. Rock rose. (Near relative of the small rock roses grown on rock gardens.) Very showy, June and July flowering shrubs, evergreen, but not specially ornamental in winter. Young shrubs should be “ stopped “ to induce the formation of bushy specimens, but later the shrubs need no pruning.

Cotoneaster. Shrubs grown chiefly for the charm of their freely produced berries. They vary greatly in habit. C. horizontalis with stems resembling the skeleton of a skate, is useful as a wall shrub, as well as on the rock garden. Evergreen. No pruning, except where needed in tying it to supports on a wall. C. microphylla is a good seaside shrub, and will grow under the drip of trees. Evergreen. No pruning This makes a good hedge plant. C. frigida makes an erect bush or small tree. White or pinkish flowers are followed by crimson berries (or yellow berries in the variety fructulutea). Deciduous. No pruning. Many other useful varieties are listed in catalogues, and can be grown quite easily.

Daphne Mezereum. A rose-purple or white-flowered deciduous shrub, bearing its scented blossoms on bare stems in February. Dwarf habit, useful for small borders. Needs a moist, cool soil. No pruning.

Deutzia candidissima. Deciduous June flowering shrub, of easy culture, growing to 6 or 8 ft. high. Thin out the growths every three years or so, to prevent crowding.

Diervilla or Weigela. Pink trumpet flowers in May. Deciduous shrubs of arching, spreading growth. No pruning is necessary, but they can be pruned if it is desired by cutting back secondary branches annually to the next strong shoots below the flowers.

Erica. The heath family. All good plants for the wild garden, but generally best on lime-free or peaty soils. E. cornea and its varieties will succeed on soil with some lime present. No regular pruning needed.

Escallonia. Donard seedling. A pink-bloomed, June flowering shrub, possessing very fine arching sprays, and growing to 10 ft. if desired. Grows in any ordinary soil, and unless growing against a wall it needs no regular pruning Makes a good hedge, and should then be cut back after the flowers fade. Evergreen.

Forsythia. March flowering, golden bell trees. Will grow anywhere, and can be hard pruned or left unpruned as desired. If pruned, cut back after flowering. This results in stronger and more floriferous stems next season. Deciduous.

Hibiscus. Late summer flowering shrubs, very decorative. Flowers of white, rose, peach or purple. Deciduous. No pruning needed.

Hydrangea hortensis. The florist’s hydrangea, a good shrub for sheltered districts. Growth round and bushy. Moist soil preferred. The older shoots can be thinned out after the flowers fade, but the young growths should be left full length, as the flowers come at the tips. Deciduous. H. paniculata is a late-flowering shrub of hardy character. Flowers white, turning pink. Prune in February, severely according to situation. The shrubs will grow to 8 ft. if required.

Hypericum. Several species are useful in the garden, particularly the evergreen H. calycinum and H. Moserianum, both of which do well under other shrubs or trees.

Kerria japonica. Single or double orange flowers in spring. Deciduous, suitable for any soil. No pruning required. Height up to 8 ft.

Lavandula. The common lavender, and various near relatives, are all suitable for ordinary, well-drained soil. Evergreen. Cut back after flowering, but not into the very old wood.

Lilac. Deciduous, spring flowering shrubs, of which there are numerous new good hybrids. Remove suckers regularly, but do not prune further unless the plants are large and flower poorly. In this case some of the stems can be shortened about half-way, to the junction of two stems, soon after the flowering season. This allows more light and air to the remainder, and so encourages the formation of flowering buds for another season. Occasional doses of liquid manure are appreciated.

Lupinus arboreus. One of the best shrubs to associate with herbaceous plants in the mixed border. Makes a spreading rather large bush, covered with yellow or white scented flowers. Evergreen. Should have old wood removed, and the last year’s shoots shortened in February. Many hybrids. Height 4 to 7 feet.

Olearia. Daisy bushes. O. Haastii, late summer flowering and evergreen, is useful as a hedge plant or specimen. It has small greyish leaves, and masses of white daisy flowers, over a roundish bush.

Phihidelphus. Mock orange, or sometimes erroneously called syringa. Scented, white flowers towards the end of June. Deciduous, and rather large. Thrives in any soil. Most species can be left unpruned, but some of the hybrids such as P. Lemoinei are better if cut back a little after the flowers fade. Cut to a strong shoot half-way down the stems that have flowered.

Rhododendron. A large genus of (mostly) evergreens, with conspicuous flowers. Suitable mainly for large gardens on lime-free soils. The finest for the little garden is pink pearl. Prune only occasionally, beyond the removal of flower heads, which is desirable immediately after the flowering season.

Rhus cotinus. The smoke plant. The variety folius purpureus is one of the best for purple foliage during the summer. Flowers June and July, and thrives in poor soil. Deciduous. Rhus typhina, the stag’s horn sumach, turns a fine orange and red in autumn. Can be left unpruned, except if it grows unshapely, or can be cut hard back every February, in order to obtain extra large leaves. Deciduous.

Ribes of various kinds all thrive in ordinary soil, and flower in spring. The flowering currant. Deciduous. No pruning needed.

Santolina incana. Cotton lavender. Will grow in any garden but is best in full sun. Trim regularly if required as an edging to a shrubbery. Yellow daisy flowers are borne in July. Valuable for its silvery foliage.

Spirlea arguta. A deciduous shrub smothered with white flowers in April. No pruning needed. Deciduous. S. japonica Anthony Waterer has corymbs of deep carmine flowers in late summer. Should have old weak wood cut out in February, and the remaining shoots shortened. Deciduous. Other species are pruned according to their habit of growth. All succeed in ordinary soil, but prefer ample moisture.

Syringa, or mock orange. A member of the lilac family, treated in the same way as lilac (q.v.).

Veronica. Evergreen flowering shrubs, particularly useful in small gardens and in towns. V. Simon Deleaux, crimson, autumn flowering; V. Traversii white, July flowering; and V. Alicia Amherst, deep blue, autumn flowering are some of the best. All prefer sheltered positions and thrive in ordinary soil. V. Traversii is the hardiest and best for difficult gardens. No regular pruning is required.

Viburnum. Evergreen and deciduous shrubs, including the guelder rose, the scented viburnums, and laurustinus (winter flowering). All thrive in ordinary soil and need no regular pruning. Height 5 to 10 ft.

The books that have been written on the subject of rose cultivation would make a whole library of literature. Specialist growers will naturally turn to such books of reference, and not to a general work of this kind for information concerning the various aspects of rose culture. I propose therefore to deal with roses only in the simplest way, in order that the novice in garden matters may be induced to take up rose growing with confidence.

A great many inexperienced gardeners are dubious about the question of pruning, and listen to the expert who distinguishes so glibly between tea roses and pernetianas, between ramblers and wichuraianas, with many misgivings. They need not get alarmed, for rose growing, sufficiently intelligently practised to get ordinarily good results, can be reduced to comparatively simple principles.

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