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Desert Island shrubs


By Andrewr

Berkshire, England Eng

If you had to recommend eight shrubs for a garden, what would they be?

Top of my list would be viburnum tinus (flowers for six months).

Maybe potentilla 'Abbotswood' (white flowers) and a variegated weigela.

Physocarpus 'Diabolo' (deep purple foliage) and a golden-leaved sambucus (cut-leaved elder).

One of the sarcococcas (Xmas box) for winter scent.

Must include melianthus major (peanut bush) with that amazing glaucous jagged-edged foliage (there's a picture of that one among my photos).

Only one more? That's going to b difficult! Probably another foliage shrub - euonymus 'Silver Queen' (evergreen and brightens even the darkest corner).

But there are so many others I'd like to include. Perhaps I should make it a dozen?

What are your Desert Island shrubs?



hi Andrew, like yourself i would stuggle to choose just eight, but some of my favorites are: 1)i would have to have a Rhododendron of some sort, i think i would struggle to find just one that i like - but i have a real thing for the big vibrant peachy ones. 2) Rhus typhina - nice bit of autumn colour. 3) would have to have a pieris - i have one which stands about 7ft tall near my patio and it is a real eye catcher all year round! 4) Mahonia - i have just recently bought one this year and it is one of the best shrubs i know of for winter interest.5) defo would have to have a Magnolia - i like the big pale pink ones best, although i have recently seen a really huge lemon coloured one which i also like - i don't currently have one of these as they are a bit big for my garden but i gues space would'nt be an problem on a desert island! 6) Ceanothus - i just love the colour of this! i have two of them one dark blue spring flowering variety and another large lilac blooms in the autumn - not sure which out of the two i would choose! - could i cheat and take them both and count them as one choice? lol 7) a must have for me would be a David Austin rose - proberly 'The Pilgrim' or 'Shropshire Lad' or possibly 'Crocus Rose'. and lastly 8) Cotinus 'smoke bush' - again this is one i don't have - as yet! i am hoping to put one in my front garden- i have'nt grown them before but i have always liked them and they are fab for flower arranging!

8 Jan, 2008


Hi Andrew - I agree with you about the Viburnum tinus and the Euonymus 'Silver Queen'. I would add Photinia davidiana 'Palette', a deep purple Ceanothus like 'Dark Star', a Cistus - hard to choose between a pink and a white - a Sambucus, yes, but the dark leaved one - (Guincho purple) - definitely Winter Jasmine, and my last one would have to be a Choisya ternata for the lovely scent of its leaves and its flowers too. I really don't think that eight is enough, though! I need a Camellia and a Magnolia and an Acer and my Eleagnus maculata and and and..!!!

8 Jan, 2008


Hi Andrew, i have a question for you, i have decided that i would like to plant a Viburnum tinus behind my bird house, i know that they don't mind a bit of shade, but do you know if the berries are toxic, we use them quite a lot in flower arrangements, and i always wash my hands after using any sort of berry, but if its in my garden needs to be kiddy friendly. they are very attractive and could easierly be mistaken for sweets! just wonderer if you would know, i find the toxic plant web sites so long winded to use.

11 Jan, 2008


According to one of my reference books - "the fruits of viburnums may cause mild stomach upset if digested"

11 Jan, 2008

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