Planting pretty flowers is a first step to beautifying one’s garden, but with ornamental shrubs the result is even more stunning. Indeed, ornamental shrubs give structure to a garden, and bring value to a green lawn and its flowers beds. However, to get a good result, one must adequately choose his or her bush according to the plant’s purpose and different characteristics. Moreover, maintenance is also very important.

Several kinds of ornamental garden shrubs exist. Honeysuckle, mock orange, lilac, beech, cypress, etc. are some examples. They differ by their appearance, size, flowering and many other features. Thus, to create a beautiful sight in any season, the choice of shrubs to be planted is important. This choice is usually based on many criteria. Similarly, the tree’s purpose and location should be well examined beforehand, as they are crucial factors that give the garden its distinctive features.

Criteria for choosing a garden ornamental shrub

In terms of ornamental shrubs, several varieties are commercially available. The species are identified by their foliage, flowering, size, fragrance, etc.. The choice is thus very wide, which allows for plenty of freedom to decorate the garden. Indeed, when considering flowering, for example, duration, timing and colours are essential selection criteria that must be taken into account. Knowing these factors allows one to imagine the garden’s appearance through the seasons. Similarly, there are several variants of foliage colours, ranging from variegated to golden, grey, and different shades of green. Wood can also be coloured. In fact, some shrubs have coloured wood that brings an original touch to gardens. Also regarding foliage, its persistence is an indication of how the tree will look in winter. Among other things, fragrance, fruits and berries are good characteristics to provide the garden with a special touch. Finally, other criteria to consider are a tree’s size and shape.

Tips for laying out ornamental garden shrubs

Choosing the location of an ornamental shrub also requires a little discernment. Although they can all be used to decorate a garden, there are locations and purposes more suited to some trees than others. This is particularly true in regard to clumps, for which bulky bushes are recommended. As an example, mock orange is well-suited to spring flower beds; azalea, heather and hydrangea are good choices for shaded clumps; and honeysuckle or Oregon-grape can be perfectly incorporated in winter clumps. The same can be applied to borders, where some shrubs agree wonderfully, as is the case for spirea, hydrangea, and St.-John’s wort. In short, there are locations and particular uses suited to every type of tree and shrub. Whether as isolated subjects, in hedges, as ground cover or in clumps, in pots or containers, some trees are better suited than others. That’s why it’s essential for the shrub to be well-located.

Garden and shrub maintenance

Garden plants need to be maintained. For this purpose, it is necessary to take a few precautions in order to have beautiful plants. Pruning shrubs allows for improved flowering and prevents disease proliferation. Use a lopper or a saw to get rid of dead, sick or weak twigs and branches. Mulching can also be carried out to prevent weed growth, maintain moisture and warm the ground. Watering should be carried regularly and in abundance during the early years when the shoots are not yet well established. Diseases such as rust or sooty mould and pests like caterpillars, aphids, etc.. must be treated with a supply of fertilizer and regular pruning. Fertilizer helps trees to have a good growth and abundant flowering.

Ideas and suggestions

If you hesitate in your choice of shrubs and how to arrange them, here is a simple rule that will make your decision easier. It consists of choosing, for your entire garden, one third of plants for their flowering, another third for their shape and foliage, and the rest for their leaves’ persistence. Then, just arrange them according to your wishes. Remember, among other things, that bushes with elegant silhouettes can very well be planted as isolated subjects. Stem and evergreen shrubs lend themselves to container cultivation, and can be wonderfully arranged on a terrace or balcony. In addition, flowering shrubs add colour to shaded areas.

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Published in Trees and shrubs by Alexander on 06 Jul 2011