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Shrub/ornamental tree for raised bed

Hi, I'm struggling to decide on a centre piece for my new large raised bed so I'm seeking ideas from the community!

The raised bed is by a pavement, gets quite windy, non acidic soil, slightly clay and we are based in the West Country.  I'm after a shrub or ornamental tree that grows up to 1.5m, spread no more than 1m, not root evasive and most importantly interesting. 

Open to any ideas and thoughts.



  • K67K67 Posts: 2,507
    Don't know whether I would risk a tree so close to the pavement and within reach of bored passersby.
    You need something that will bite back, holly or a shrub that wont mind bits pulled off.
  • NollieNollie Posts: 7,022
    That’s pretty restrictive, height-wise, even for dwarf trees, although a dwarf lilac or buddleia might suit and be able to tough it out there. More choice with shrubs in that height range, of course, but then it’s a case of where do you start!
    Mountainous Northern Catalunya, Spain. Hot summers, cold winters.
  • BobTheGardenerBobTheGardener Posts: 11,391
    If you're after something low maintenance and evergreen, there are lots of varieties of euonymus which would work.  Most naturally reach only about 1mx1m when mature.  This supplier has a good list:

    A trowel in the hand is worth a thousand lost under a bush.
  • Thanks for all the comments.  Coming to the same conclusion that a tree would be too much. So shrubs would be the way forward, any thoughts and perhaps up to 100cm would be big enough.
  • NollieNollie Posts: 7,022
    I was thinking euonymus too, euonymous alata compactus to be precise! Its a graceful, shrubby plant with interesting, textured bark. Not the most exciting looking admittedly, until it bursts into vibrant colour in autumn and produces funky orange/pink berries. I have the non-compact version and love it. If you want more summer interest, scented flowers, do have a look at Syringa meyeri 'Palibin’, a modern hybrid, not at all like granny’s lilac. I always used to think of them as dull and old-fashioned, but would like this one. Abelia shrubs are good doers, lovely white tubular flowers, scented (but not overpowering) long flowering season, very tough - takes a lot of wind, blazing temps and very cold winters in my garden.
    Mountainous Northern Catalunya, Spain. Hot summers, cold winters.
  • MolamolaMolamola Posts: 103
    Some ideas:
    - dwarf conifers - they grow slowly and you could pick one with an interest shape.  Some also require less water, which seems to be an issue in raised "containers" like these. 
    - a rhododendron - there are sun-tolerant varieties. 

  • WibbleWibble Posts: 89
    A small type of Cordayline maybe? I have 2 that have only grown to about 70-80 cm high. Can’t remember what type they are as I’ve had them ages, but they are a sort of dark red colour. 
  • Thank you for all your ideas, much appreciated.
  • LoxleyLoxley Posts: 5,227
    I agree with Nollie re Euonymus a. compactus. I think it's handsome all year round. 
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