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How to deal with two mature shrubs growing very close together?

Good morning!

I would appreciate some advice with a pair of shrubs in my garden.

Both are mature, and are growing right next to each other.

One is a Ceanothus, the other I’m not quite sure - eleagnus (?).  They are literally next to each other - and look like one mass from far away.

Anyone have any thoughts on how to deal with this? 

The ceanothus is much smaller, and doesn’t look happy - it has flowers but not that many, I haven’t pruned either since I moved in a couple of years ago.

My second question: can I remove branches from the bottom? So it’s more too heavy? Would it damage the shrub?

Thank you 💐


  • sabeehasabeeha Posts: 344
    A close up of the foliage
  • ButtercupdaysButtercupdays Posts: 4,462
    Second one could be an Olearia perhaps.
  • sabeehasabeeha Posts: 344
    Thank you but when I looked it up, the flowers don’t match.  I think it has thin hanging type flowers (?).
  • AsarumAsarum Posts: 655
    I think it’s a Garrya elliptica. I’m sure someone else will be along to advise you on pruning. 
    East Anglia
  • BorderlineBorderline Posts: 4,700
    I agree with Asarum with Garrya Elliptica. Since both are mature shrubs, you can more or less start pruning back Garrya Elliptica first to stop it from encroaching on the Ceanothus shrub. 

    When they are that congested, you really need to prune in a way that will allow the Ceanothus room and sunlight in, otherwise the shrub will be spindly and as you say lacking in flowering due to blocked light.

    Ceanothus shrubs are quite sensitive to severe pruning, so once it has the space, maybe shorten some of the growth tips and wait till next year to see it come back.

    On your last paragraph, I may have misunderstood, but if you mean to prune out the lower branches to allow more space and light for the areas below or make more room for more plants, yes you can. From the photos, you can be quite brutal with the Garrya Elliptica shrub as many of the branches are quite congested already.
  • sabeehasabeeha Posts: 344
    Asarum - thank you!

    borderline - many thanks! Looking at photos online the catkins look lovely- mine have never looked like them 😑
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