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Easy Summer Flowering Shrubs (Part Two)

Shrubs provide colour and a sense of permanence to your garden.

Shrubs provide colour and a sense of permanence to your garden.

There is a wide choice of summer‑flower­ing shrubs and for easier reference they have been listed in alphabetical order. The figures in brackets indicate the ultimate height and spread of the plants.

DEUTZIA (Bridal Wreath)

·      D. gracilis (2m x 2m) deciduous, hardy. The arching stems with racemes of pure white flowers resemble a bridal wreath.

·      D. monbeigii (1,5m x 1,3m) deciduous, hardy, bears white flowers in corymbs.

·      D. X rosea (lm x lm) deciduous, hardy, bears pretty pink flowers.

·      D. scabra plena bears beautiful double white flowers. Prune all species in late winter.

DURANTA repens

·      D. plumierii GOLDEN DEW DROP (3m x 2m) evergreen, hardy. The forget‑me‑not blue flowers are borne in numerous racemes towards the ends of the branches through­out summer. They are followed by small golden‑yellow berries which give rise to the common name.

·      D. r. ALBA is a white flowered form.

·      D. r. VARIEGATA has variegated foliage. Trim out old wood in winter to encourage new growth.

ERYTHRINA humeana (Dwarf Coral Tree)

Deciduous, fairly hardy (2,6m x 2m). This is one of the most beautiful of the Coral Trees. The numerous closely packed spikes of scarlet flowers stand well above the rich green foliage. Remove some of the old wood in winter to encourage new growth.

ESCALLONIA

Useful shrubs which are evergreen, hardy, drought resistant, will tolerate alkaline soil and salt‑laden winds and can be used for hedges and wind breaks.

·      E. X iveyi (2,3m x 2m) grows vigorously, has large leaves and bears white flowers.

·      E. X langleyensis (E. edinensis) (2,6m x 2m) has a neat habit of growth, small leaves and bears shell pink flowers which are carmine in bud.

There are many attractive hybrids:

·      APPLE BLOSSOM (1,5m x 1,3m) bears attractive panicles of pale pink flowers.

·      DONARD STAR (2m x 1,5m) bears rose pink flowers.

·      PEACH BLOSSOM the flowers are clear peach pink.

·      RED HEDGER (2,5m x 2m) the red flowers are borne in small clusters.

·      WILLIAM WATSON the rose‑red flowers appear in summer and again in autumn.

·      E. rubra var macrantha (E. ingramii) (2,6m x 2m) bears rose pink flowers and makes a good coastal hedge.

EUPATORIUM sordidum (Giant Ageratum)

Evergreen, tender (2m x 1,5m). The flower heads resemble those of a large rosy‑violet ageratum. The plants prefer semi‑shade and, if grown in cold areas, must be pro­tected from frost. Pinch back when young to encourage bushy growth and prune in winter to keep to shape and size.

FEIJOA sellowiana (Fruit Salad Bush)

Evergreen, hardy (3,2m x 2m). The flowers consist of a pink cup with a clump of rich red stamens in the centre. These are set off by the dark green foliage which is felted white beneath. The oval fruits which remain green can be collected when they have fallen and ripened inside. Prune very lightly in winter to keep to size and shape. Makes an excellent hedge.

GARDENIA jasminoides

Evergreen, hardy (1,6m x 1,6m). The dark green shiny foliage makes a good back­ground for the pure white fragrant flowers. The cultivar BELMONT has semi‑double flowers while the blooms of MYSTERY are double. The plants do best if planted where they are shaded during the hottest part of the day and are sheltered from strong winds. For best results give them acid soil and water regularly. They do not need pruning.

HIBISCUS rosa sinensis

Evergreen tender to frost except the single red variety but can be grown in frosty areas if given a warm sheltered position (3m x 2m or more). The plants must be given good soil with plenty of humus in it and be kept well watered during dry weather. The flowers of the modern hybrids are magni­ficent and vary in colour from deep‑ to silvery‑pink, deep‑rose to crimson and blood‑red, yellow, deep‑orange and maybe two‑toned singles, semi‑double or fully double. Prune back in late winter.

HEBES (Shrubby Veronicas)

Evergreen, hardy. There are many cultivars varying in height from 50cm to one metre. There is a wide colour range from white, pale‑mauve to deep‑purple, pinks and blues.

·      H. andersonii VARIEGATA has attractive cream and green foliage. Prune all the hebes back fairly hard every second year to keep to size and shape and encourage new growth.

HYDRANGEA

One of the most popular summer flowering shrubs, as it blooms at Christmas (in the Southern Hemisphere). The modern hybrids are cultivars of H. macro­phylla subsp. macrophylla (H. hortensia). Although it has been said that the colour of these hybrids is stable it is as well to give the pink flowered ones slightly alkaline soil and the blue ones acid soil. For best results give the plants humus rich soil, water liberally in dry weather and grow them in semi‑shade. Prune in late winter or early spring, removing old wood and thin growth.

·      H. paniculatagrandiflora, PEEGEE HYDRAN­GEA grows into a large shrub 2,5m or more in height with a spread of about two metres. The pyramidal heads of creamy white flowers fade to pink.

·      H. quercifolia (1,5m x 1,5m) has large oak shaped leaves which colour in autumn. In summer it is covered with large conical heads of creamy white flowers. It can be grown in sun or semi‑shade.

IOCHROMA cyaneum (I. tubulosa)

Often referred to as the BLUE CESTRUM (4m x 2,3m) evergreen, tender in very cold areas. The soft velvety leaves and terminal clusters of tubular flowers (some four cen­timetres long) of beautiful dark violet‑blue make this a lovely shrub. Prune back in spring to keep to size.

JUSTICIA

BELOPERONES and JACOBINIAS have been in­cluded in this genus.

·      J. brandegeana (beloperone guttata) SHRIMP PLANT (3m x lm) evergreen semi‑tender. The shrimp‑pink bracts are more con­spicuous than the white flowers which last but a short time. The plants flower through­out the summer and, although tender, can be grown in warm protected positions in cold areas. A charming plant for sun or semi‑shade. Pinch the plants back when small to encourage bushy growth and prune in spring.

·      J. carnea (Jacobinia carnea) (lm x 30cm) evergreen, tender. Both the flower spikes and blooms are larger than those of the former. The rose pink tubular flowers are divided into two lips. In cold areas it should be grown as a pot plant. Prune after flowering.

LANTANA Montevidensis (L sellowiana)

The only species gardeners are allowed to grow, the others are noxious weeds. Trail­ing, evergreen, hardy. An attractive ground cover with small dark‑green leaves and numerous small heads of deep‑mauve flowers. Prune back in spring to keep the plants tidy.

LAVANDULA

Both species are evergreen and hardy, require well drained alkaline soil and full sun. They are also aromatic.

·      L. dentata FRENCH LAVENDER (30cm x 90cm) has small sage‑green toothed leaves and short spikes (38mm) of purple flowers.

·      L. angustifolia (L officinalis, L spica) (60 to 90cm x 60 to 90cm) has leaves about 2,5cm long with entire margins. The young foliage is downy grey but turns grey‑green as it ages. The spikes of pale blue flowers are about eight centimetres long.

Pinch the plants back when small to encourage bushy growth. Older plants may be pruned in winter but care must be taken not to cut into old wood.

This is the second in a series of features that, together, will provide  a comprehensive guide to summer flowerng shrubs for temperate climates. Visit soon to see the final post.  Over time we will add full, informative profiles of many of the shrubs listed here.