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Choosing plants for border...

Hi everyone, moved into a house with a very overgrown but once much loved garden (about 10 years ago), i've finally got around to weeding out the borders which again have some lovely but leggy bush/shrubs. I've pulled some but will leave others. 

This has left some space and i'm looking to put in some small compact shrubs/bushes that will grow to around knee high, sunny area but can be quite windy. Ideally they should have something interesting about them, but definitely not a fir.

Anyone got any ideas? I've got room for about 4-5! 



  • BorderlineBorderline Posts: 4,700

    You never mentioned the soil type, so I have recommended general soil  to free draining soil and shrubs that can grow in a clay based soil.

    Shrubs that can thrive in a variety of soils including heavier soils. Hebe shrubs are evergreen and come in many shapes and flowers. Usually in white, blue or pink, just take your pick. Plenty that grow no more than 1 metre in height. Daphne Transatlantica is a nice compact semi-evergreen shrub that has masses of scented white flowers over a long period in summer time. Weigela Forida has showy pink blooms in early summer over purple tinged leaves. The leaves make a nice contrast with other plants when not in bloom.

    For more free draining soil, Helichrysum Italicum, the Curry Plant is evergreen with masses of yellow flowers in summer over grey green feathery foliage. Very strong scent of curry. Caryopteris x Chandonensis 'Heavenly Blue' is a trusty shrub that responds well to being cut back hard and comes back with light leaves and in late summer, fluffy blue flowers appear over a long period and has a very informal feel. 

  • Hi Borderline, many thanks for the advice, yes forgot to mention soil, it is an acidic clay soil, but it's a bit odd as we live in a previously heavily mined area, very stony and seems to drain fairly quickly.. I really like the 'Heavenly Blue', I've googled it, but in your experience is it wind hardy?

  • Papi JoPapi Jo Posts: 4,024

    Borderline mentions Daphne Transatlantica (aka 'Eternal Frangrance'). I have one specimen in my garden which is really in flower for most of the year. See this discussion:

    However it seems to be a difficult plant, and others have reported no success with it.

    You are invited to a virtual visit of my garden (in English or in French).
  • BorderlineBorderline Posts: 4,700

    Interesting and mixed comments on Daphne Papi Jo, that's the thing with plants, despite what's been written, it just doesn't apply to everyone. Glad it worked out for you. 

    Kieren1980, thanks for more details on the soil. I think that as long as planting in the plants, you mix in plenty of good compost/organic material and grit to aid draining, most of the plants I have recomended should do fine.

    About wind. Unless you are planting the Caryopteris on its own without any surrounding taller plants, I wouldn't recommend it, but since you mentioned you had cut back the mature shrubs, I was under the impression you are slotting in some lower growing shrubs near these taller shrubs. This way of planting will always help lower growing plants as it offers protection to the shorter shrubs, especially the ones that are weak in stems. I think the Caryopteris will work nicely as long as plenty of grit has been added before planting. 

    Santolina can be another alternative to Helichrysum since you have more acidic soil. Same affect I feel, if you like silvery foliage.

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