Tree Index



We review thirty of the most popular shrubs, small trees and perennials in the UK today. These plants form the backbone of a well thought out garden and we concentrate on the easy care ones. Many are flowering and all offer exceptional interest for long periods of the year. All the individual articles are fully illustrated with pictures from the gardens of amateur gardeners

Because we don’t sell these plants you can be sure that our expert advice is honest. We offer practical advice on how to plant and care for each of them and where the best bargains can be found.

If you need to find a shrub for a particular set of conditions (e.g. those which will grown well in dry shade) then our SHRUB FINDER is ideal.

If you’re looking to plant one or more asters in your garden you first need to know the come in a large variety of sizes and flower types.

There are four commonly grown species of asters in the UK; Aster amellus, frikartii, novae-angliae and novi-belgii. ….. more

Berberis thunbergii are deciduous (drop their leaves in winter) shrubs which provide not only highly coloured leaves in autumn but often berries which last well into winter.

They range in size from half a metre to one and a half metres high and spread. ….. more

Bergenias (also known as Elephants Ears or pigsqueak) are evergreen, ground cover perennials (live longer than two years) which normally grow to a height of 50cm / 18in high.

They spread to around 1m / 3ft round after a couple of years. In spring …..

Camellias are evergreen shrubs with very attractive flowers, normally in late winter / early spring.

For the first two years they require some attention, watering in particular, to become established. After that they are very capable of looking after themselves ….. more

Winter interest dogwoods include varieties of Cornus alba, Cornus sericea and Cornus sanguinea which is native to the UK. They are grown almost exclusively for the beauty of their coloured bark ….. more

To be brutally honest you wouldn’t give this shrub a second glance when it’s not in flower. The foliage is green but that’s about it.

However, when in full flower they can be truly stunning, the picture above is not unusual, many Ceanothus look like this when in flower ….. more

There are about 70 species of Daphne …. In the UK the commonly grown shrubby forms are either evergreen or semi-evergreen and have decidedly scented flowers. …..more

All varieties of Euonymus Fortunei are evergreen and hold their colour particularly well in winter. Height and spread does depend on the variety from 1m / 3ft for “Emerald n Gold” up to 2.5m / 8ft for “Silver Queen”. They are easily pruned to the height and shape ….. more

Fatsia japonica is an evergreen shrub which grows to about 2.5m high and has rather exotic and tropical looking leaves. It prefers a shaded position and will not thrive in full sun. They are strong growing plants and recover well even if treated badly ….. more

Forsythia produce spectacular yellow flowers in early spring, are easy to maintain and very healthy shrubs. They also grow quickly so can be used as screening plants which will do their job much faster than most ….. more
Gaultheria procumbens makes an excellent evergreen shrub, growing to only 30cm / 1ft high. Small white / pink flowers in July and August then red berries into late autumn. The foliage turns reddish in winter. …..more
Hebe are evergreen shrubs and, depending on the variety, grow from 20cm / 8in to 1.2m / 4ft high
and roughly the same spread.They originate from New Zealand and Northern America. Use the checklist below to decide if a Hebe is suited to your garden conditions …..

Hellebores flower in winter to early spring and are small plants, easily missed at that time of year. So if you plan to grow some, and they are well worth it, be sure to plant them somewhere where they will be appreciated.

Ours are planted in a semi-shady spot near the back door so whenever I venture out into the garden in the chill of winter and early spring they …..more

Hibiscus syriacus, also known as Rose of Sharon and in the UK rose mallow, grows to about 3.5m / 11ft high and 2.5m / 7ft wide.

This makes it unsuitable for very small gardens but ideal for medium and larger sized plots ….. more

Everything you ever needed to know about growing hollies. From planting right through to encouraging more berries ….. more
There are so many species and varieties of hydrangea, it is important to select the correct one for your garden. This article identifies ….. more
Hypericum Hidcote is by the most common of the group producing masses of medium sized yellow flowers in July to August. It is evergreen in most winters and forms an attractive dome shaped shrub which is extremely easy to care for ….. more

As a general rule, Japanese Maples which are green in the summer withstand a good amount of sun throughout the year.

In sunnier areas of the UK they should be in semi-shade for part of the afternoon. This will reduce ….. more

The most common Laburnums in the UK, by a huge margin, are the common Laburnum (Laburnum anagyroides) and the hybrid Laburnum x watereri ‘Vossii’. Another common generic name is the Golden Chain tree. There are other types but for most gardeners these are the ones that grow best in most parts of the UK ….. more

Lavenders are evergreen shrubs growing to between 35cm / 1m (14in to 3ft) high and a slightly larger spread. They are grown for their flowers, foliage and scent.

Their ability to resist drought make them ideal for dry parts of the garden ….. more about lavender

The lilac care calendar below is based on the most commonly found type of lilac in the UK, Syringa vulgaris
, but it is also correct for many other species of lilacs including Syringa myeri.Some lilacs flower two weeks earlier, including ….. more

The flowers of lupins are large and very showy, in almost every possible colour imaginable including blue.

Note that this article only covers perennial lupins, there are annual lupins but these only last one year. ….. more

Magnolias can be evergreen or deciduous but the deciduous varieties (loose their leaves in winter) are far more common in the UK. The reason is that they produce flowers when there are few leaves and this allows the beauty of the flowers to be seen much more clearly ….. more