Six on Saturday: 4.5.19 Flowering shrubs

This week I’m looking at a handful of flowering shrubs. The vast majority of the shrubs in the garden are Spring flowering with the notable exception of the hydrangeas. The camellias have already featured in previous weeks. So here we have a handful of the remaining shrubs. While not as showy as last weeks tulips they bring a lot to the garden. The vast majority are minimal effort, supress weeds and many good evergreen options for year round interest. Several articles have stated shrubs are going to be trending this year. While I don’t particularly follow trends I am happy to see the RHS predicting ferns as their pick of the trends. If nothing else it may give me easier access to further ferns I want.

1. Korean Dwarf Lilac

This small shrub I believe is a Korean dwarf lilac. It isn’t necessarily a plant that instantly grabs your attention with its small red-edged leaves. But it is coming into flower now and it smells wonderful. It is close to the house giving you that lilac smell so you can be starting at the larger lilac plant and the bottom of the garden and be conned into thinking you are getting the smell from it. A variety of this shrub won an award for scent on Great British Garden revivals where Toby Buckland pushed bringing back scent to our gardens.

Sadly though it is blocking line of sight from the new extension room to the lawn and we want a clear view to see Alice playing. So I am going to try to move it. As a fail-safe, I am also going to try and take cuttings. If I can move this to an area where it doesn’t need pruning too much each year that will also hopefully give it more chance to flower. Some years I’ve had second bursts of flowers in late Summer/Autumn.

2. Choisya ternata

Choisya or Mexican orange sits at the corner of one border on the edge of the patio currently surrounded by builders rubbish. It is an evergreen shrub that is just about hardy enough to come through our winters still looking good. Last year damaged it, but that was a particularly cold year and it did recover. This gives a couple of weeks worth of strongly scented flowers. The smell is supposed to smell like orange blossom. However, as I don’t know what orange blossom smells like I can’t comment. I do know the scent can be a bit divisive. There is a wonderful yellow rose growing in the centre of this. Later in the year, it rises out of this giving large yellow flames before fading to buttery creamy blooms.

3. Rhododendrum

The rhododendron came in a pot with my last house. It has been repotted since and pruned heavily. It gives a couple of weeks of beautiful blooms and then is a bit of an eyesore the rest of the year. My mum wants to take custody of it and once it’s stopped flowering she is welcome to it. I think it probably needs to go into the ground and I haven’t got a space I want to put it in.

The bees are currently enjoying the large open blooms.

As you can see the leaves suffer. I don’t know if it is the hardiness or the sea breezes but it isn’t happy.

4. Evergreen shrub

I’m unsure of what this one is. It fills a space in front of the shed. It gives a dark evergreen backdrop to other plants and partially hides the shed. It has spires of little white flowers in Spring and doesn’t object to being pruned back after flowering each year. It comes back and is rounding out nicely for the pruning. It isn’t flashy but it gives shade to my treasured fern corner, the flowers are loved by a number of insects and it gives year-round greenery. Another workhorse in the garden.

5. Clematis Montana

This isn’t actually mine it is my neighbours but it coming over solidly onto my side now. I’m assuming it is Montana from its rapid growth and flowers. There is an abundance of flowers this year. It is now growing down into my climbing rose Scarlett Paul. Hopefully, they’ll intertwine nicely and then I’ll have a succession of blooms. If it reaches the ground on my side I’ll see about layering it into the ground or I may take cuttings. The cordyline underneath is just there while building work continues then the pot will be moved back to the patio.

6. Saxifrage White pixie

Moving away from the flowering shrubs I bought a couple of new saxifrage plants as I seem to be lacking previously planted ones. They are beloved by the bees and sometimes the butterflies will settle on them too. These white pixie varieties give a pleasant little dome with spires of tiny white flowers adding to the pollinator options as I try for seasonal spread to keep them satisfied.

I hope you’ve enjoyed this weeks six. I’m going to read up on clematis. I’ve got a Wisley charity shop bargain to read on the subject. See if I can get more out of my own clematis or take cuttings from my neighbours. Check the guide if you fancy taking part in the six on Saturday guide. Enjoy your weekends!

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