Specimen shrubs are the backdrop to a successful scheme. General practice is to put larger specimens at the back/middle/sides and ensure adequate space is given in their new location. Smaller shrubs interspaced at the front and size gradually getting smaller.
It’s good to have some specimen evergreens interspaced – when the colour of flowers/berries have gone there is still something to look at when it’s bleak.
Photinia x frasei (Red Robin) has become a popular hedging plant in recent years. A shrub in its entirety really. Flowers in spring to early summer. Foliage all year round. Can be suited to a sun or partial setting. A hardy plant.
Ceanothus repens (Californian Lilac) deep blue flowers that are popular with bees and other beneficial insects. Flowers spring to early summer. Prefers a sunny position but will tolerate some shade. This needs to be in a sheltered position and not too exposed.
Choiya ternata (Mexican Orange blossom) two varieties of leaf – gold and lime. This shrub has the most fragrant flowers. Can tolerate a sun or shaded spot but not exposed, so ideally a bed by a wall. Normally will flower in late spring but if clipped can encourage a further flush.
Cistus (Rock Rose/Sun Rose) This evergreen shows a mass of flowers in summer. Usually the flowers are pink or white with flexs of red and yellow. A flower will last only a day but the blooms come so “quick and fast” you wouldn’t notice! It’s origins are Mediterranean so it does want full sun but is drought tolerant and quite resilient in these conditions. In a colder, wet environment it is not as tough.
Daphne tangutica is an evergreen variety with pink flowers. The shrub is highly scented and will flower through spring with berries in autumn. A good choice for sun or partial shade. Daphne do not tolerate exposure so by a wall is ideal.
Skimmia japonica is an evergreen which flowers in early spring. Quite effective as a staple shrub. Does not require a great degree of care and can cope with neglect. Partial shade is ideal. The leaves will suffer in full sun. The female skimmia will produce berries if a male is by the side.
Elaeagnus ebbingei has become a popular choice for hedging although for its merits it should stand alone. An evergreen, good in sun and shade, moist and dry. Pruning to just maintain desired shape so low maintenance. Mid – autumn onwards it produces fragrant flowers and its leaves have an opaque appearance. A very hardy choice as a hedge or shrub.