Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Shrub gardens need planning

Whether your garden is a tiny subur­ban plot or several thousand square metres in extent, you can have year‑round interest and beauty by growing shrubs. But do the planning!

There are so many new housing estates, exclusive clusters and so on being developed around all our cities. What an opportunity for new home owners to lay out a great garden from the get go. Sadly, I have seen so many new gardens where the intrepid owner has laid out some flower beds, planted lawn, placed a few containers near the new pool and then . . .  stuck a few shrubs almost randomly around the garden without any thought to spatial relationship, height, texture, colour or anything else. 

Planted in good soil, shrubs require little or no fer­tiliser, very little pruning and seldom any spraying against pests or diseases. They will reward you in many different ways — by providing colour in the garden each month of the year and sprays of leaves, flowers or berries for indoor arrangements; by sheltering your home from wind; by creating a screen to ensure privacy; by introduc­ing variety in form and foliage texture, and a perpendicular line or mass; and by hiding an ugly view or framing a good one.

You do not have to be a highly skilled gardener to make a charming shrub garden. You need to know something about the kind of cli­mate they prefer, their height and spread, the season of the year when they are at their best, any special characteristics of their foliage, whether they are deciduous or evergreen, what soil they like, and what situation they prefer — sun or shade.

Every garden needs a master plan that will guide the long-term development of the garden, especially where trees and shrubs are concerned. Plan care­fully before planting because, once planted, shrubs should not be moved. Transplanting at a later date may not kill them if it is carefully done, but it entails a good deal of unnecessary work and may slow down the growth of the shrubs for a time.

I have just written a post for my website on planning a shrub garden. The article also deals with soil preparation so please check it out. Feel free to post your comments at the foot of the website page.

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