Help selecting shrubs

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Hello, it's time to tackle my rear garden, but when it comes to choosing suitable plants I'm a bit lost.

The rear of the house is north-facing and I live in Scotland, so not a lot of direct sunlight, cold winters and lots of rain. There are also tall conifers at the bottom of the garden blocking rain and the last of the day's sun. Haven't checked pH levels of soil yet, is that important?

My ideal garden would be:
  • Evergreen
  • Colourful foliage
  • Little-to-no weeding - so good ground coverage and/or mulch?
There's a mexican orange blossom planted by the previous owners (sadly too close to the fence) that I love for it's golden yellow/green colour!

Looking to surround the patio area with colourful shrubs and possibly something like Buxus along the border between the patio and the lawn?

I've been looking at Japanese Andromeda, Hebe 'Frozen Flame', Photinia, Euonymus, Wintercreeper and either Rhododendron or Japanese maple for top right corner. Any tips/suggestions? Thanks
 

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alp

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Pieris would be nice. One light colour Japanese acer but it is deciduous. Rhodo doesn't do much except for a month or 2. @Sheal may be able to help you - she has a light green choysia which looks stunning and lightens up your winter.
 
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Welcome GlasgowGuy. :)

I was hoping (before I looked at your picture) that the conifers were your side of the fence. I can't see their full height but would imagine they are getting on for 20ft/6m. I read that you would prefer evergreen plants which these are but if they had been in my garden would now be long gone. I'm not sure of the regulations for hedging height here in Scotland but I think there is a strong possibility you may be able to legally, insist these are reduced. It's worth checking the situation out with your council. Or if you are friendly with your neighbours try speaking to them personally. Conifers particularly at this height will have extensive roots and can damage drains and foundations as I've found out to my cost in the past.

I moved to Scotland under two years ago and have owned my own home and garden here for ten months. Gardening here is new to me but I can offer you any experience I have so far. :) The Choisya (Mexican Orange) looks to be 'Sundance' a shrub I had in my last garden and is lighter in colour than 'Ternata'.

136.JPG

I don't think there will be a problem moving it as mine had survived being buried in a four foot snow drift for three weeks - on it's side having been partially uprooted. I staked it, pruned it back by half and you can see the result above.

Weigela, although deciduous is hardy down to -15C. There's a good variety including variegated. Hollies (Ilex) are mostly evergreen, also available variegated. I'm considering both for my garden here. Hebe, Escallonia and Cytisus (Broom) are all evergreen and flower. Azalea is possible but check on these as a few are deciduous. Lavender will survive but prefers a fairly dry soil.

If you choose Photinia be aware they are frost hardy but will suffer if exposed to it for any length of time.
 
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Massively helpful and informative post
Wow, thank you, Sheal, for such an in-depth and helpful response! (y)

Your old Choisya was gorgeous! I see you had Lupins too, which I love, and I've been tempted to put some of these between the shurbs.

The conifers have had their tops cut off (just out of shot) by the neighbour as they were getting too tall. They look a bit rediculous now, though, so I wish they'd just gotten shot of them completely. But I guess value privay above all else?

Thanks to alp and EK too :)
 
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One other thing - as it's peak summer now and we're actually enjoying a spell of higher temprtatures for a change, should I wait until late August/September before purchasing and planting shrubs?
 
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You're welcome GlasgowGuy. :)

Your old Choisya was gorgeous!
Thankyou, I'm hoping to have another one here at some point.

Lupins will grow in most soils although I haven't tried them here yet. I'm busy trying to retrieve my gardens from nature as I live in a rural area. My previous garden was coastal so had sandy soil. I've also gardened on clay and I'm now in the deep end with sandy loam which so far is proving difficult. Do you know what soil you have please? It will help when discussing various plants.

If your garden fence is 6ft then I think the conifers are still way to tall. I'd bring them down at least half again from what I can see in your picture. I don't think that will happen though.

You can plant now but dig some fish blood and bone into the soil that you back fill with, this will give them a good start. Then keep them watered until the weather later in the year takes over. Lupins are easy to grow from seed but need an early start if you want them to bloom in their first year. Up here I would start them perhaps mid March. If you intend to plant trees they are best left until winter when they are dormant.

Can I ask you to put your area and if you know it your hardiness zone in your avatar box please. It helps when discussing plants for different countries and areas.
 
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