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Front Door Shrub

Hi there!

I'm looking to plant a shrub/bush/small tree either side of our (north facing) front door. I'd prefer evergreen, and something with flowers/variegated leaves/fragrance so it keeps year round interest and doesn't look too depressing in the winter time! I was thinking of something that won't grow too fast or try and spread too wide - perhaps a Camellia or a dwarf Rhododendron... 

And I was wondering if anyone else had any advice or experience? Many thanks in advance!


  • turmericturmeric Posts: 830

    Sarcococca?  Evergreen, scented white flowers, can take a north facing wall.  Or what about a variegated holly?  Whatever you choose try to underplant it with some bulbs for late winter/early spring interest too.

  • Sarcococca is a good choice. Wonderful smell. Have one outside back door. Not too big either, but easily trimmed

  • Both camellias and dwarf rhodies have dark green leaves, but camellia leaves have a gloss that makes them reflect more light and their new growth is a lighter green. Subtle things can make a difference in those gloomy, late winter days! Also they can flower quite early, which is cheering, and take being pruned which is helpful. 

    Euonymus fortunei is a  brightly variegated shrub which can spread sideways or, if planted against a wall, upwards and can be trimmed to fit. Mine scrambles through some trellis to about 6ft and masks the end of the oil tank. It faces north, never gets sunlight and can take plenty of cold. It doesn't cling like ivy or have tendrils, so is relatively easy to move if necessary. The daffodils that grow at its feet in my garden are known as the Chelsea daffs as they are always still in flower at the end of May!

  • Thank you for the swift responses! I hadn't come across Sarcococca before, that could work fairly well; this article on the Guardian certainly makes them sound appealing!

    I neglected to say the front door is elevated up by a couple of steps, so something that could put some height up would be best. If I could train some euonymus fortunei up a trellis that might look good, did it take long to spread though?

    Plenty of bulbs are definitely a thing too!

  • turmericturmeric Posts: 830

    Not sure what your budget is but have you tried looking in your local nurseries and garden centres at standards?  You might be lucky and get two evergreens as standards. Instant height, very smart and space below for underplanting?  Standards can be expensive but something that grows reasonably quickly or a standard that isn't too tall might not be too pricey. eg. hollies are slow to grow, so expensive as standards, but you might find a photinia or euonymus for a reasonable price?

  • I don't want to spend massive amounts but upto £50 for something mature seems reasonable if it's a good size. I'm prepared to wait a couple of years for the plant to bush out, in my old house I planted a photinia head and that filled out perfectly over about two years! Standards could be good if I can ensure I keep underneath interesting... perhaps with Skimmia?

  • As the door is elevated up a couple of steps I'll probably be building up a new bed anyway, but I've currently got acidic soils, I can get hold of plenty of chicken and horse manure too so keeping the beds ericaceous isn't a challenge!

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