Shrubs are the backbone to most gardens, providing shape and structure, as well as a wide range of ornamental features. With deciduous and evergreen specimens, shrubs can provide wonderful foliage and colour throughout the year. Unlike herbaceous perennials, shrubs have persistent woody stems above the ground. They are notably different from trees in that they have multiple stems and are shorter in height. A large number of shrubs are cold hardy and will survive even the harshest of UK winters. We have hand-picked a list of reliable performers below that will tolerate frost, exposed positions, frost pockets and virtually anything the elements may throw at them.
For spiny stems and hardy deciduous foliage consider Berberis atropurpurea 'Admiration' with its purple-red ovate leaves edged yellow and light-pink flowers from June to August. Alternatively, for smooth stems and glossy rounded and slightly speckled looking foliage, Elaeagnus 'Limelight' is a useful choice, producing creamy-white autumn flowers against a back-drop of line green leaves, perfect for brightening up a shady spot of the garden. Another option for colour and interest throughout the year is Callicarpa 'Profusion' with its outstanding metallic purple berries in autumn and winter, young bronze purple leaves turning deep green in the summer then to plum purple in the autumn.