Shrubs masterclass: best expert content

Hydrangea ‘Runaway Bride’ from Thompson & Morgan

Award-winning Hydrangea ‘Runaway Bride’ is the perfect flowering shrub for a container
Image: Hydrangea ‘Runaway Bride’ from Thompson & Morgan

If you’re looking for ways to add low-maintenance interest to your garden, shrubs are ideal. Brimming with expert advice, we’ve brought together this collection of articles, Instagram posts and videos to help you choose the perfect varieties.

Whether you want evergreen structure, winter colour or container shrubs to liven up your patio, here’s everything you need to help you choose, plant, prune and care for your shrubs. For more inspiration, browse our wide range of online shrub plants including evergreen, winter-flowering, climbing, scented, and many more…

Dan Cooper – The Frustrated Gardener

Camellia 'Yuletide' from Thompson & Morgan

Camellias are the ‘roses of winter’ says Dan at The Frustrated Gardener
Image: Camellia ‘Yuletide’ from Thompson & Morgan

There’s no excuse for not growing a camellia in a pot, wherever one lives,” says Dan, AKA The Frustrated Gardener. He recommends using “well-drained ericaceous compost, and a pot positioned where the roots can be doused regularly with rainwater,” to keep the soil acidic.Pick up more gems of knowledge from Dan’s article ‘top ten shrubs to brighten the winter months’, and take a peek at his own lovely garden while you’re there!

Carol Bartlett – The Sunday Gardener

Daphne 'Eternal Fragrance' from Thompson & Morgan

Daphnes are grown for their strong sweet scent
Image: Daphne ‘Eternal Fragrance’ from Thompson & Morgan

Daphne can be both evergreen and deciduous; what is common to all daphnes is the strongly scented flowers,” explains top garden blogger Carol Bartlett over at The Sunday Gardener. She recommends planting your shrub in a sheltered spot for the best results. Read her dedicated daphne growing guide to pick up top tips for successfully growing this popular plant.

Sue Sanderson – Thompson & Morgan

Fatsia japonica from Thompson & Morgan

Evergreen Fatsia japonica has attractive deeply lobed leaves
Image: Fatsia japonica from Thompson & Morgan

Evergreen shrubs can be used “as stand-alone specimens, as part of a mixed border or as hedging,” says Sue Sanderson over at Thompson & Morgan’s blog. Box is one of her favourites as it’s just as good for formal topiary as for an informal cottage garden. The perfect backdrop to offset brightly-coloured flowering perennials, see Sue’s top ten evergreen shrubs for a fabulous mix of flowering and foliage plants to provide all year round interest.

Alexandra – The Middlesized Garden

Contrasting green evergreen hedging

Contrasting shapes made by evergreen shrubs frame the view in this garden
Image: The Middlesized Garden

If you’d love to create a Bridgerton-style garden but don’t live on a grand estate, Alexandra of The Middlesized Garden shares some fantastic tips following a visit to Roger Lloyd and Stephen Sendall’s clever evergreen garden with a touch of grandeur. According to Alexandra, a friend described their design as “having all the elements of a grand garden, but scaled down to a small garden size.” She particularly admires their use of interesting textures. Topiary hedging frames the view of Norwich Cathedral while “spiky leaves like yucca, phormium and astelia contrast with the round shapes of box and yew and the feathery foliage of ferns.” Take a look at her excellent photos and commentary for inspiration.

Simon – Garden of Eaden

Hibiscus syriacus 'Red Heart' from Thompson & Morgan

Add a touch of the tropics to garden borders with Hibiscus syriacus
Image: Hibiscus syriacus ‘Red Heart’ from Thompson & Morgan

The key to growing Hibiscus syriacus is regular feeding, says Simon over at Garden of Eaden. “Regularly top-dress the soil with a rich compost or give them a regular liquid feed,” he says. Hardy Hibiscus syriacus thrives in a sunny, sheltered spot in the garden or in a container – find out everything you need to know about growing these exotic shrubs in Simon’s comprehensive article.

Joel Ashton – Wild Your Garden With Joel Ashton

Man standing in front of shrub buddleja

Joel recommends the shrub buddleja to attract pollinators to the garden
Image: Wild Your Garden With Joel Ashton

Want to know why you should plant a buddleja? Amongst other things, this shrub is a fantastic nectar source for British butterflies, says YouTuber Joel at his channel Wild Your Garden With Joel Ashton. Joel’s favourite is the versatile and hard-working Buddleja davidii for its long season of lilac flowers that are perfect for pollinators. Watch the video to admire his shrub and see the clouds of butterflies for yourself!

Lee – Garden Ninja

Hydrangea macrophylla GLAM ROCK 'Horwack' from T&M

Hydrangea macrophylla GLAM ROCK ‘Horwack’ is one of the most eye-catching hydrangeas
Image: Hydrangea macrophylla GLAM ROCK ‘Horwack’ from Thompson & Morgan

Hold off on removing your hydrangea flowers, says Lee AKA the Garden Ninja. The spent flower heads bring winter interest to the garden and help protect the shrub from winter frosts, he says. Give them a good prune in early spring to remove the old flower heads and maintain your shrub’s lovely bushy shape. Read Lee’s excellent article for expert pruning tips.

Phoebe – @shegrowsawildgarden

Weigela 'Florida Variegata' from Thompson & Morgan

Carefully prune your weigela for flowers in early summer
Image: Weigela ‘Florida Variegata’ from Thompson & Morgan

Pruning your weigela at the right time is crucial, says Phoebe over at her Instagram page @shegrowsawildgarden. “The flowers form on last year’s growth,” she says, so make sure you don’t chop them off by pruning in spring! Find out how Phoebe tidied up her beloved weigela after years of incorrect care. Now producing hundreds of pastel pink flowers, it brightens the border and attracts visiting bees.

Marie – Plews Garden Design

Aucuba japonica ‘Crotonifolia’ from Thompson & Morgan

Evergreen shrub Aucuba japonica has attractive variegated foliage
Image: Aucuba japonica ‘Crotonifolia’ from Thompson & Morgan

If you need a tough evergreen shrub for a north-facing garden, go for Aucuba japonica, says Marie over at Plews Garden Design. “Suddenly I could see the benefits of Aucuba japonica as part of an easy-maintenance planting scheme for that challenging dark border,” she says during a tricky design brief. Marie’s article includes four other reliable shrubs with variegated foliage to kickstart your low-maintenance evergreen garden.

We hope you’ve found our shrub growing content helpful. Share your favourite shrubs with us via social media using #YourTMGarden. And for more help and advice, visit our shrub hub page.

Published at Fri, 27 May 2022 09:08:37 -0400

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