February is the gateway to spring so it’s the perfect time to plant sensational spring shrubs. What’s great about shrubs in the garden is that they can provide a scattering of colour to our beds and borders whilst supporting garden wildlife too. So get planting now to turn shabby spaces to shrubby ones in no time!
Deciduous shrubs shed their leaves annually and are likely to need some light pruning to shepherd new growth into place. These shrubs will gift your garden with seasonal transformations from catkins, stems, flowers and berries as the year moves along.
Having shrubs in the garden will feed and shelter your wonderful garden wildlife, so they’re pretty fantastic features to have around.
Find a place in your garden which is sheltered, well-drained and with oodles of room. A space-saving option is to plant shrubs in pots. Though some shrubs will be too large for containers, dwarf-growing yakushimanum rhododendron hybrids like ‘Dopey’, with its vivid red flowers, are ideal for this.
Plug the sparse sections of the garden with a showcase of shrubs to the rescue. Choose a canopy of shrubs to suit your specific situation. For instance, Choysia ternata and Philadelphus will bolster your borders—as will the likes of Spirea and Aucuba japonica.
Spindly hedges are easily saved by adding in Bay Laurel or bushy boxwoods and singular specimens for lawns, like Viburnum ‘Mariesii’ or magnolias, make great garden features.
If in doubt, your local garden centre will have shelves of options for you to peruse. Narrow it down by selecting for aspect, simply ask yourself: How tall do I want them to grow? When do I want them to flower? How much space do I have?
Inspect the bottom of the plant pot before you buy to identify if it’s old stock, checking the underneath for exposed roots growing through. Feel the potted soil to see if it’s dry and double check it’s weed free—you don’t want to buy stock that’s not been cared for.
You’ll be eager to plant your new purchases but, before you do, fully submerge shop-bought stock in a bucket of water to soak through, as you won’t know when it was last watered.
When you’re ready to plant, use a garden fork aerate the ground soil and help those hard-working microorganisms. The mud might get compacted in wet weather so this will fluff it up and make it easier for plants to extract the nutrients.
Wait for a dry day when the ground isn’t frozen and dig the planting hole to a depth just bigger than the height of the rootball—ideally over a wide area to improve drainage. Refill the hole carefully, placing soil around all the roots to remove any air pockets.