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Summer shrubs that have nice follage in winter

Hi lovely gardening experts.. I moved into a new build in a small culdisac a year ago. Out the front of the house we have a small area of grass, a tastful ramp to allow for wheelchair access and a small area just under 2ft on the far side adjoining our neighbours garden. Most people have chosen to grass this area for handiness but I think it would look beautiful planted out. I would prefer 1 type of flower/plant to form a modern border.. I had originally want French lavender .. The house style is quite town housey and so I felt this would work well to add a little rustic charm without clashing with the style of the build. I also love daisies especially 'agryranthmums'? My problem is however.. That as it runs right beside the path to the front door (and my neighbours) I would want something that doesn't look awful in the winter because there is simply no getting away from it! Iv tried searching online for days but am yet to find anything inspiring. I live a 1 minute walk from the sea so whilst I don't feel a costal look would suit the house the plants would need to be reasonably hardy! All advice welcome image


  • ObelixxObelixx Vendée, Western FrancePosts: 27,618

    English lavender would be hardier than French and, as long as it's trimmed well after flowering, doesn't get leggy and bare so stays looking well over winter.   It needs good drainage and full sun.   Once the flowers go over you cut them off at their base going no more than one inch into the foliage and that keeps the plants neat and compact.   

    Have a look at Hidcote or Munstead dwarf which is a bit more compact.   You could plant white or purple or striped crocuses along the edge for extra spring interest and/or some dwarf white daffs.    Either would look good with the silvery foliage of the lavender. 

    "We don't stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing." - George Bernard Shaw
  • LoxleyLoxley Posts: 4,457

    I think lavender looks OK in winter if you trim it after flowering. (I would go English as it's more reliable). Can't really beat it if your site is in full sun.

     There are plenty of neat evergreens which would look good in winter but they're mostly a bit dull compared to lavender.

  • Rebecca MRebecca M Posts: 2
    This is very helpful thankyou. The garden centre didn't even offer me that advice!
  • And it smells lovely all year too, not just in summer : )

    I'd go with Lavender too, but I'm mad on getting a proper Lavender hedge myself, so I would say that, I suppose. But it is easy enough to care for, the flowers are loved by all the beneficial Insects, it smells amazing and when brushed past or crushed that smell can last for hours, you can even cook with it and learn how to get the oil from it and as long as it's happy and trimmed back it'll look good all year.

    And I'm sure your neighbors would love it as much as you ; )

  • FairygirlFairygirl west central ScotlandPosts: 46,378

    I loathe Lavender  image

    I'm assuming it's a narrow border you have Rebecca? If you have the right climate and you like it then fair enough (I dare say I'm in the minority with my dislike of it)  but I'd second Hebes. Virtually no maintenance and flowers in the summer. Lots of varieties to choose from. I'd pick a compact mound forming one like Vernicosa.

    If there's grass bordering the sides of the 'strip'  then I would stay away from anything that will get too big and need constant pruning etc to keep in line  image

    It's a place where beautiful isn't enough of a word....

  • FairygirlFairygirl west central ScotlandPosts: 46,378

    I calls it as I sees it Verd image

    Genuinely don't like it and it hates our climate and cold wet winters in the west of Scotland. It will always look poor. Better choices for part of the world   image

    Italy it ain't....image

    It's a place where beautiful isn't enough of a word....

  • ObelixxObelixx Vendée, Western FrancePosts: 27,618

    I think lavender would look dreadful and be unhappy in cold, wet conditions so I can understand Fairygirl's dislike.   It only does well in one spot in my garden - at the top of a sleeper wall where drainage is fierce and it has full sun so can cope with all  the wet Belgian winters throw at it.  I have alternating HIdcote and Edelweiss so blue and white and they are always covered in bees and give a lovely pong and babies too in the gravel below.

    I'd agree with shrubs like choisya and skimmia and rhodos if the bed is at least a metre wide.   Otherwise they're going to get too big and have to be trimmed constantly.  Hebes and small leaved ceanothus good too if it doesn't get too nippy in winter.   Photinia Red Robin could be clipped into a neat hedge with red new growth.   Mahonia will get much too big.

    "We don't stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing." - George Bernard Shaw
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