The Advantages of using Shrubs:
Of all garden plants, shrubs are probably the most well used. A shrub is basically any woody plant that is smaller then a tree and having more than one stem.
There are deciduous shrubs which loose their leaves each year and evergreen shrubs having needles or broad leaves. Shrubs vary in size and growth habits and are extremely versatile in garden design.
An extra bonus of many border shrubs is their ability to flower, berry and/or the coloration of their leaves. Many change to beautiful shades of orange, yellow and red during cold falls. With so much variation in size, shape and texture shrubs can be combined artfully to create outstanding landscapes. If you enjoy wildlife in your garden, shrub borders are invaluable for providing food, nesting and protection. Shrubs are also a long term investment which if properly planted require very little maintenance and replacement. This saves the gardener both time and money.
How to Use Shrubs:
The mixed shrub border is created using similar principals as the perennial border. Variations in height, width, flower and foliage colors and shapes all need to be taken into consideration. Do your homework as this will be a long time decision. By choosing shrubs that all flower in the same season you create an outstanding display for that season alone. Choosing shrubs with differing bloom times will extend the borders interest over several months. You might also prefer a shrub border of less color, with more emphasis on graceful shapes and textured leaves, or all evergreens.
Choosing which Shrubs to use:
Planing is your best strategy. When choosing shrubs for borders select those that interest you the most and are suitable for your climate setting. Note their heights, widths and features and arrange a plan on paper placing the tallest in the rear and more compact varieties towards the front. Select fragrant shrubs close to windows, doors or sitting areas. For continuity in a large border repeat the same shrub in some form of pattern.
Stay away from any border shrub that can become huge as it will overtake its neighbors or cause you countless hours of pruning to keep it in check. Use evergreens to ground your borders throughout the winter months when most shrubs sit bare of leaves.
Ensure you leave each shrub enough room for mature growth to facilitate the integrity of its form. Each shrub will need space for its branches and roots to grow without excessive competition. Regular pruning of branches and suckers will need to be performed to keep your border attractive.
The introduction of a small tree and a few well chosen perennials in drifts will give your shrub border a more natural composition. Tall grasses also work to give your border a rich mix of colors and textures.
(some Photos are compliments of Pixabay)