Shrubs you cannot ignore:
Here I have selected 5 shrubs with long flowering periods and strong presence within the garden.
Daphne bholua – not the showiest flowering shrub true, but for scent over much of the winter it is unsurpassed. Its sweet fragrance will lift spirits even on the darkest of days, relatively slow growing it will eventually reach a height of 2m. This is a genuine choice plant and needs a prime site against a warm sheltered wall.
Cotinus – striking purple foliage all summer on most varieties. Try ‘Grace’ for the largest leaves or ‘Royal Purple’ to give some of the deepest colour. Don’t overdo purple foliage, use it sparingly for best effect.
Philadelphus – familiar early summer white flowers with scent, there are many to choose. Some could be too large but there are several smaller varieties such as ‘Belle Etoile’ or the double ‘Dame Blanche’ if you can find it. Deutzia are similar without the scent Deutzia setchuenensis var. corymbiflora is one of the best.
Syringa x persica – a pretty Lilac far removed from the coarser S. vulgaris cultivars we are more familiar with. The fragrant lilac flowers are produced on much smaller daintier panicles and the plant will reach a maximum of 2.5m tall.
Hydrangea – so good for late flowering, the mopheads are the most commonly seen. I love and grow several types including Hydrangea paniculata varieties, ‘Limelight is my favourite and the striking Hydrangea aspera Villosa Group.
That’s 5 but couldn’t resist adding this wonderful Viburnum as well.
Viburnum macrocephallum – grow the ‘Sterile form and in May this looks like an early flowering Hydrangea with its large globular white heads. Avoid an exposed site would be wise.