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I have a small back garden with a few shrubs ie: Philidelphus, winter jasmine, Bristol ruby, a very wild Montana clematis, lilac tree and another shrub which I don't know the name of. The trouble is all of these grow like triffids, my husband will prune a third off all of them most years but the following year they don't flower well but still growing like mad. If left they may grow half as much again. This year with all the rain, All of them have grown enormously. I feel most of them should be pruned to ground level. Maybe it is time to let some of them go. Any ideas please?
Earth Angel



You have some very nice shrubs in your garden. I wonder if you are pruning too late? I have Bristol ruby and I reduce it by 1/3rd every year as it can get very big. The winter jasmine also likes a prune and both of these are best pruned in spring after flowering as the flowers develop on the previous year’s growth. My lilac tree is not spreading but I believe they can so you might want to re think this if its sprouting? Montanas grow very big dont they, you can shear it over to keep it tidy or cut it right back after flowering to reduce it but it will not last long. Perhaps you would be happier with a smaller one?

Over the last couple of years I have cut back most of my big shrubs and have had to wait to for them to flower again ( no flowers for 1 year) but I thought it was worth it. So dont rush in and throw them all out as you might regret it once done?

21 Jul, 2012


I agree with Drc just to go carefully. Every so often you have to control by a 'to the ground prune'. Even we have had to remove a shrub every so often, which is difficult as age creeps up on us. We have removed Red Robin for getting too large. Ceanothus for bare patches and legginess. Fir trees getting out of hand. Ribes needs a good prune after flowering to keep control of growth and shading. Buddleja need to be kept under control. I suppose this is what being a gardener means. Choisya sticks out over the path but still blooms no matter how often I trim it, and takes a total cut back in its stride too.

21 Jul, 2012


The problem you are having is probably experienced at some time by everyone with a small garden and that is planting a shrub that is too big for the space.

We have all done it at some time.

If you do decide to remove one and replace it with something else there is now a very good selection at garden centres of dwarf versions of many traditional shrubs that have been specially developed for small gardens.

21 Jul, 2012


Thank you very much for answers to my question re: small garden with overgrown shrubs, all of them were really helpful. They have given me some options to consider.


22nd July, 2012

22 Jul, 2012


Glad we can help Earth Angel. So many of us have quite small gardens. We don't realise how large some shrubs and 'said to be small trees' can become over time. They can become a nuisance to ourselves and our neighbours. Expensive to remove, and give you back problems or worse, to remove without help. Good luck with whatever you do to get it sorted to your satisfaction.

22 Jul, 2012

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