Shrubs form the foundation of most gardens and planting schemes, adding shape and structure in addition to a wide range of ornamental features. They are a highly varied and versatile group, distinguished from trees by their multiple stems and shorter height. When looking for shrubs, consider whether you want evergreen or deciduous specimens and try to incorporate a mix of varieties that have seasonal features such as flowers, berries, fruit, attractive bark or vibrant foliage at different times of the year into your borders.
Shrubs have a huge array of uses: low growing varieties such as Convolvulus and Forsythia make excellent groundcover plants; dense, bushy varieties are useful as hedging plants; and evergreen leafy shrubs with compact foliage like Buxus can be maintained as topiary. Choose wildlife friendly shrubs to attract more wildlife into your garden and plant fragrant shrubs such as Lavender or Daphne across the front of your home or near seating areas to add a wonderful scent. Most shrubs are undemanding, easy to grow and cared for in similar ways. Containerised shrubs can also be planted all year round. The planting time for bare root and root balled shrubs is restricted to mid-October to the end of March, with March or even April/early May actually preferable for rootballed evergreens. If you have the choice, deciduous shrubs will do best when planted between mid-autumn and late winter.