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Focus on...

Garden Plants for Garden Places

When you're new to gardening, that Sunday trip out to simply browse at plants can be bewildering enough. If you need to actually buy one, and you start pondering on the room you have available, the amount of sun or lack of it the plant will need to tolerate, the sort of soil you have - you could be forgiven for going down the pub instead!

What is needed are a few plant suggestions!

Here are selections of plants suitable for various garden situations. The plants I have recommended here are - adaptable, reliable, decorative and tolerant of most of the conditions found in our gardens.

Each list contains ten plants. Unless stated otherwise, the plants are suitable to grow in sun or light shade and most 'normal' soil types found in the UK – which is around Ph neutral.

I suggest you research any plant you may be interested in, that's half the fun after all! Why not highlight, copy and paste it into the Google Search Box provided on this page?

Trees for a small to medium sized garden or space:

Hawthorn - Crataegus laevigata ‘Paul’s Scarlet’. Deciduous. Dark red flowers May - June. 8m.
Crab Apple - Malus baccata ‘Lady Northcliffe’. Deciduous. Very pale pink flowers May, yellow-brown fruit during autumn. 6m.
Crab Apple - Malus ‘Evereste’. Deciduous. White flowers April, yellow fruits. 7m.
Flowering Cherry - Prunus ‘Shirofugen’. Deciduous. Double, large 5cm pale pink flowers April - May. 8m.
Flowering Cherry - Prunus  x subhirtella ‘Autumnalis Rosea’. Deciduous. Blush pink flowers November - March. 8m.
Flowering Cherry - Prunus ‘Amanogawa’. Deciduous. Columnar, pink flowers April. 8m.
Maple - Acer pseudoplatanus ‘Brilliantissimum’. Deciduous. Salmon pink leaves in spring, turning yellow in summer. 6m.
Weeping Pear - Pyrus salicifolia ‘Pendula’. Deciduous. Silvery leaves. 5m.
Rowan - Sorbus vilmorinii. Deciduous. Grey-green, compound leaves, cream flowers April - June, pink/white fruits, arching growth, 5m.
Strawberry Tree - Arbutus unedo. Fragrant. Evergreen. Cinnamon-coloured bark, white flowers April, 'strawberry' red fruit, October - November. 8m.

Shrubs for a small to medium sized garden or space:

Viburnum x bodnantense ‘Dawn’. Fragrant. Deciduous. Pale pink flowers February - March on bare branches. 2m.
Japanese Weigela - Weigela coraeensis. Fragrant. Deciduous. Pink/white flowers June. 4m.
Pittosporum tenuifolium ‘Silver Queen’. Variegated Evergreen. Small, deep maroon April flowers. 1.8m.
Spindle Tree - Euonymus fortunei 'Emerald 'n' Gold'. Variegated Evergreen. 1m.
Myrtle - Myrtus communis 'Variegata' (Myrtle). Fragrant. Variegated Evergreen. White flowers with feathery stamens July - August. 1.8m.
Modern Shrub Rose – Rosa spp. Fragrant. Deciduous. Many cultivars, colours, flowering periods and forms.
Mock Orange - Philadelphus Virginal. Fragrant. Deciduous. Large, white, flowers June. 2.5m.
Mock Orange - Philadelphus 'Belle Etoile'. Fragrant. Deciduous. White, purple-blotched, flowers July. 1.5m.
Sand Cherry - Prunus x cistena ‘Crimson Dwarf’. Deciduous. Pale pink flowers - as purple foliage emerge, April. 2m.
Witch Hazel - Hamamelis mollis. Fragrant. Deciduous. 'Twisted' yellow flowers December - February. 3m.

Trees for a very small garden or space:

Mount Etna Broom - Genista aetnensis. Fragrant. Deciduous. Yellow flowers in July. Semi-weeping. 8m.
Dogwood - Cornus kousa. Deciduous. ‘Tiered’ growth habit. White bracts in June. 7m.
Rowan - Sorbus aucuparia ‘Fastigiata’. Deciduous. Upright, silvery foliage, cream flowers April - June, red fruits, slow growing. 8m.
Ulmus glabra ‘Camperdownii’. Deciduous. Compact, weeping, slow growing, small green leaves. 8m.
Japanese Maple - Acer palmatum. Deciduous. Many cultivars, attractive foliage in a range of colours and shapes. Semi-shade. 3m.
Crab Apple - Malus x 'Evereste'. Deciduous. Flushed pink, white, flowers April - May. 6m.
Fuji Cherry - Prunus incisa 'Kojo-no-mai'. Deciduous. Pink buds, white flowers, March - April. 2m.
Cheal's Weeping Cherry - Prunus 'Kiku-shidare-zakura'. Deciduous. Pink double flowers, April - May. 4m.
Snowy Mespilus - Amelanchier lamarckii 'Ballerina'. Fragrant. Deciduous. Large white flowers April, autumn hues. 5m.
Eastern Redbud - Cercis canadensis 'Forest Pansy'. Deciduous. Pink flowers April, heart-shaped crimson leaves. 6m.
Thornless Cockspur Hawthorn - Crataegus crus-galli 'Inermis'. Deciduous. Cream flowers May - June. Autumn hues. 6m.

Shrubs for a very small garden or space:

Shrubby Cinquefoil - Potentilla fruticosa. Deciduous. Many cultivars, range of flower colours May - September. 1m.
Barberry - Berberis thunbergii 'Concorde'. Deciduous. Wine-red leaves, ‘fiery’ autumn hues, white flowers March – April. 60cm.
Escallonia - Escallonia 'Red Dream'. Evergreen. Glossy leaves, dark pink flowers July – August. 60cm.
Spiraea japonica 'Gold Flame'. Deciduous. Pink flowers August – September, new leaves salmon pink, turning yellow to lime green. 1m.
Dwarf Myrtle - Myrtus communis subspecies tarentina. Fragrant. Evergreen. White flowers July – August. 1.5m.
French Lavender - Lavandula stoechas. Fragrant. Evergreen. Many cultivars, green leaves, purple-blue flowers May – September. 1m.
Pittosporum - Pittosporum tenuifolium 'Tom Thumb'. Evergreen. Purple flowers May, wavy edged leaves, turning from green to purple. 1m.
Cappuccino Weigela - Weigela florida 'Cappuccino'. Deciduous. Pink flowers May – June, yellow turning bronze leaves. 1m.
Halberd-Leaved Willow - Salix hastata 'Wehrhahnianii'. Deciduous. Silver catkins March – April, ‘toothed’ blue-green leaves. 1.5m.
Mock Orange – Philadelphus 'Manteau d'Hermine'. Fragrant. Deciduous. Creamy-double white flowers June to July. 75cm.

Trees and shrubs for a medium to large garden or space:

Magnolia - Magnolia grandiflora 'Victoria'. Fragrant. Evergreen tree. Large glossy leaves, white flowers August – October. 8m.
Willow-leaved Cotoneaster - Cotoneaster salicifolius 'Rothschildianus'. Semi-Evergreen tree. White flowers June, cream-yellow autumn fruit. 8m.
Firethorn - Pyracantha coccinea 'Orange Glow'. Evergreen thorny shrub. White flowers May – July, orange fruits. 5m.
Oleaster - Elaeagnus x ebbingei. Fragrant. Evergreen shrub. Gold variegation, white flowers late September – January. 5m.
Pittosporum tenuifolium 'Yellow Wave'. Evergreen shrub. Yellow variegation, purple flowers June. 4m.
Escallonia C F Ball. Fragrant foliage. Evergreen shrub. Deep pink flowers May – July. 4m.
Daisy Bush - Olearia paniculata. Evergreen shrub. Wavy leaves, white ‘daisy’ flowers September – October. 3m.
Dogwood - Cornus sanguinea 'Midwinter Flame'. Deciduous shrub. Orange, tinged pink stems. 3m.
Black Elder - Sambucus nigra 'Thundercloud'. Deciduous shrub. Deep, purple-brown-leaves, pale pink flowers June, purple-black fruits. 3m.
Lilac - Syringa vulgaris 'Sensation'. Fragrant. Deciduous shrub. Purple/white flowers April – May. 3m.

Climbers for a small to medium sized garden:

Clematis armandii. Fragrant. Evergreen. Long, spear-shaped ribbed leaves, large, cream, star-shaped flowers April. 5m.
Clematis x 'Princess Diana'. Bright pink flowers August - October. 3m.
Jasmine - Jasminum x stephanense. Fragrant. Variegated. Pink buds, pale pink flowers June - August. 5m.
Jasmine - Jasminum officinal. Fragrant. White flowers June – August. 5m.
Yellow Jasmine - Jasminum humile ‘Revolutum’ Fragrant. Evergreen. Yellow flowers May – June. 3.5m.
Star Jasmine - Trachelospermum jasminoides. Fragrant. Evergreen. White, jasmine-like flowers June - July, autumn hues. 2m.
Climbing Rose – Rosa ‘Gertrude Jekyll’. Fragrant. Deciduous. Blue-green leaves, double, deep pink flowers June – repeat flowering. 2m.
Shrubby Honeysuckle - Lonicera fragrantissima. Fragrant. Evergreen. Cream-lemon flowers January – March. 2.5m.
Honeysuckle - Lonicera periclymenum 'Heaven Scent'. Fragrant. Cream-yellow flowers June – September. 6m.
Japanese Honeysuckle - Lonicera japonica 'Hall's Prolific'. Fragrant. Evergreen. Cream-yellow flowers May – August. 3m.

Shrubs particularly suited to shade:

Box - Buxus sempervirens. Evergreen. Small oval glossy green leaves. 5m.
Daphne laureola. Fragrant. Evergreen. Pale yellow-green flowers February - March. 1.5m.
Oregon Grape - Mahonia aquifolium. Fragrant. Evergreen. Yellow flowers April. 1.5m.
Butcher’s Broom - Ruscus aculeatus. Evergreen. Red berries August - December. 1m.
Fatsia japonica. Evergreen. 'Architectural'. White flowers September - November 1.8m.
Osmanthus x burkwoodii. Fragrant. Evergreen. White flowers March - April. 1.8m.
Christmas box - Sarcococca hookeriana. Fragrant. Evergreen. White flowers December - March. 1.5m.
Privet Honeysuckle - Lonicera pileata. Evergreen. Small creamy flowers April, purple berries. 1m.
Holly - Ilex aquifolium. Evergreen. Glossy spiny leaves. Many cultivars with various variegated foliage colours. Red fruits. 3m.
Spotted Laurel – Aucuba japonica 'Crotonifolia'. Evergreen. Yellow spotted green, large leaves. 2m.

Trees and shrubs for full sun and dry soil:

Dwarf Copper Beech - Fagus sylvatica 'Ansorgei'. Deciduous tree. Arching pinnate, deep-purple leaves. 4m.
False Acacia - Robinia pseudoacacia 'Frisia'. Fragrant. Deciduous tree. Bright yellow compound leaves, white flowers May – June, autumn hues. 4m.
Pineapple Broom - Cytisus battandieri. Fragrant. Semi-evergreen tree / shrub. Small silver-grey, ‘silky’ leaves, bright yellow flowers July. 4m.
Cabbage (Torbay) Palm - Cordyline australis. Fragrant. Evergreen shrub. Cream-white flowers July – August, arching, sword-shaped leaves, single clear trunk. 5m.
Mock Orange - Philadelphus coronaries ‘Aureus’. Fragrant. Deciduous shrub. Yellow, turning lime-coloured leaves, white flowers June. 2m.
Viburnum farreri. Fragrant. Deciduous shrub. White, pink tinged flowers November – March. 2m.
Butterfly Bush - Buddleja davidii 'Nanho Blue'. Fragrant. Deciduous shrub. Lance-shaped grey-green leaves, clear lilac-blue flowers July – September. 2m.
Rosemary - Rosmarinus officinalis 'Sissinghurst Blue'. Fragrant. Evergreen shrub. Upright growth, glaucous leaves, blue flowers April – May. 1.5m.
Mexican Orange Blossom - Choisya ternate ‘Sundance’. Fragrant. Evergreen shrub. Lemon-yellow glossy leaves, cream-white flowers May – August. 2m.
Smoke Bush - Cotinus coggygria 'Royal Purple'. Deciduous shrub. ‘Fluffy’ pink flowers July – August, dark purple round leaves, ‘fiery’ autumn hues. 4m.

Trees and shrubs for damp soil:

Dwarf Pin Oak - Quercus palustris 'Isabel'. Deciduous tree. Neat growth habit, autumn hues. 3m.
Elder - Sambucus nigra 'Madonna'. Deciduous tree/shrub. Cream coloured leaf variegation, white flowers June, black fruits. 2.5m.
Cut-leaved Alder - Alnus glutinosa 'Imperialis'. Deciduous tree. Delicate, fine blue-green leaves, narrow form. 4m.
Carolina Allspice - Calycanthus floridus. Fragrant. Deciduous shrub. Maroon flowers June – July. 3m.
Scarlet Willow - Salix alba subspecies vitellina 'Britzensis'. Deciduous shrub. Upright bright orange stems. 10m.
Dark leaved willow - Salix myrsinifolia. Deciduous shrub. Upright ebony-brown stems. 4m.
Green-barked dogwood - Cornus stolonifera ‘Flaviramea’. Deciduous shrub. Green/yellow coloured stems. 3m.
Red-Barked Dogwood - Cornus alba 'Sibirica'. Deciduous shrub. Bright upright red stems. 3m.
Kashmir False Spiraea - Sorbaria tomentosa Angustifolia. Deciduous shrub. Cream-white flowers June, delicate fern-like leaves. 2.5m.
Snowberry - Symphoricarpus albus. Deciduous shrub. White/ pink flowers July – September, cream/white soft fruits (irritant). 1.5m.

UK native trees and shrubs, particularly valued by Wildlife:

Silver Birch - Betula pendula. Deciduous tree. White bark, delicate foliage, spring catkins, autumn seeds, autumnal hues. 11m.
Mountain ash - Sorbus aucuparia. Deciduous tree. Green/grey underside, divided, toothed leaves, white flowers May - June, orange-red berries. 5.5m.
Hawthorn - Crataegus monogyna. Fragrant. Deciduous tree. Dense, thorny, cream-white flowers May, dark red fruits (haws), autumn hues. 10 – 16m. Ideal hedge plant.
Elderberry - Sambucus nigra. Fragrant. Deciduous tree / bush. Multi-stems, arching as they grow, compound leaves, cream-white, flat-topped flower-clusters June, purple berries. 10m.
Guelder Rose - Viburnum opulus. Fragrant. Deciduous shrub. Tiny flowers May - June, bright red berries, August, autumnal hues. 4.5m.
Holly - Ilex aquifolium. Evergreen shrub. Dense, prickly foliage, red berries (if pollinated). 9m. Ideal screen or hedge plant.
Common Ivy - Hedra helix. Evergreen climber. Dense foliage, cream flowers September - November, black berries. 10m
Honeysuckle - Lonicera periclymenum. Fragrant. Semi-evergreen climber. Dense growth, yellow flushed purple flowers July - August, red berries. 6m.
Yew - Taxus baccata. Evergreen shrub. Dense, dark green narrow leaves, red-brown scaly bark, red cup-shaped fruits. 40m. Ideal screen or hedge plant.
Hazel - Corylus avellana. Deciduous shrub. Dense growth, light brown bark, ages grey-brown, heart, downy, serrated leaves, autumn hues, nuts (hazel, filbert, cob). 10m. Ideal hedge plant.

Shrubs requiring acid (ericaceous) soil or compost:

Rhododendron sip. / Azalea spp. – Evergreen or deciduous. Showy flowers May, huge range of cultivars, flower colours and sizes.
Kalmia angustifolia – Evergreen. Dark green leaves, deep pink flowers June. 2.5m.
Camellia japonica. Evergreen. Glossy leaves, large range of cultivars, flowers March - May, large range of colours. 1.5m.
Chilean Lantern Tree - Crinodendron hookerianum 'Ada Hoffman'. Evergreen. Pale pink ‘lantern’ flowers May –June. 3.5m.
Skimmia japonica ‘Rubella'. Fragrant. Evergreen. Red flower buds October – April, white flowers April – May. 1.25m
Pieris Formosa ‘Forest Flame’. Fragrant. Evergreen. Bright red new leaves, cream flowers March – May. 4m.
Witch Alder - Fothergilla Major. Deciduous. Round glossy green leaves, white flowers April, autumn fiery hues. 2m.
Tea Tree - Leptospermum scoparium 'Red Damask'. Evergreen. Narrow leaves, deep pink double flowers May – July. 2.5m.
Blueberry - Vaccinium corymbosum 'Berkeley'. Evergreen. White flowers May – June, blue downy fruits (blueberries), fiery autumn hues. 1.5m.
Bilberry - Vaccinium myrtillus. Deciduous. Bright green leaves, small pink flowers April – June, blue-black fruit (bilberry). 30cm.

Trees and shrubs particularly suitable for alkaline (chalky) soil:

American Hornbeam - Carpinus caroliniana. Deciduous tree. Lush, dark green deep-veined oval leaves, fiery autumnal hues. 6m.
Golden Weeping Beech - Fagus sylvatica 'Aurea Pendula'. Deciduous tree. Yellow leaves, very slow growth, weeping habit. 4m.
Judas Tree - Cercis siliquastrum 'Bodnant'. Deciduous tree/shrub. Bronze-purple new leaves, burgundy flowers on bare stems April – May. 10m.
Black Mulberry - Morus nigra. Deciduous tree. Pale greenish-white flowers May – June, very slow growing, gnarled habit. 10m.
California Lilac - Ceanothus impressus 'Puget Blue'. Evergreen shrub. Deep-veined small oval leaves, blue flower-clusters April – May. 3m.
Scarlet Buckeye - Aesculus pavia 'Splendens'. Deciduous shrub. Dark green leaves, red, long flower panicles May – June, very slow growing. 5m.
Rosy Dipelta - Dipelta floribunda. Fragrant. Deciduous shrub. Pale green leaves, flaking bark, tubular, yellow throated, pale pink flowers May – June. 4m.
Chinese Snow Flower-  Deutzia setchuenensis ‘Corymbiflora’. Deciduous shrub. Narrow leaves, star-shaped, white flowers July – August, slow growing. 2m.
Hardy Fuchsia - Fuchsia magellanica 'Mrs. P. Wood'. Deciduous shrub. Deep green leaves, red & purple flowers June – August. 2.5m.
Beauty Bush - Kolkwitzia amabilis 'Pink Cloud'. Deciduous shrub. Slightly arching growth, pink, bell-shaped flowers May – June. 3m.

Nectar-rich flowers to attract bees and butterflies:

Foxglove - Digitalis purpurea. Native. Biennial. Self seeds. Pale purple, tubular bell flowers June – September. 1.2m.
Yarrow - Achillea Filipendulina. Perennial. Fern-like foliage, yellow, domed flower cluster June – September. 1.4m.
Poached egg plant - Limnanthes douglasii. Semi-native. Fragrant. Annual. Self seeds, pale green fern-like foliage, white, with yellow center flowers June – September. 15cm.
Ice Plant - Sedum spectabile. Perennial. Evergreen. Fleshy leaves, pink, flat-headed, flower clusters July – September. 50cm.
Michaelmas Daisies - Aster novi-belgii. Perennial. Pale bluish-lilac with yellow centers, daisy type flowers August – September. 1.2m.
Cornflower - Centaurea Cyanus. Native. Annual. Self seeds. Intense blue flowers with violet centers, June – July. 15 – 30cm.
Mexican daisy - Erigeron karvinskianus. Perennial. Self seeds. Pale blue-purple daisy-like flowers May – October. 30cm.
Bugle - Ajuga reptans. Native. Evergreen. Perennial. Purple-green leaves, rosette forming,  blue-purple, upright flower spikes May – July. 15cm.
Lupin – Lupinus spp. Fragrant. Perennial. Attractive foliage of many leaflets, many cultivars and flower colours, May – June. 1m.
Primrose - Primula vulgaris. Native. Perennial. Self seeds. Long, oval, deep-veined leaves, pale yellow upright, flowers. 20cm.

 

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