The Shrub Age

A lady gardener in shrub phase has nearly reached the end of the gardening line. She is following the seven ages of the temperate gardener: annual flowers, perennial flowers, roses, foliage plants, grasses, general shrubs, and finally trees.

Ready for Shrubs

Well, that's what one of my gardening friends reckons, and maybe she's right! I remember starting all those years ago with nursery trays of pansies, marigolds, and annual blue lobelia. I've done roses, and foliage, and grasses. Guess that means I'm ready for number six!

 Hmm... This smells nice...
B-Puss Checks Out the New Shrubs

The Moosey garden already has a collection of those traditional shrubby favourites - Rhododendrons and Camellias. Their job description is to delight the spring gardening soul, and provide lovely wondrous colour through September and October (the southern hemisphere spring season). They are to look clean and green at all other times. Every year I'm surprised by some, and horrified by others. I'm getting used to the Rhododendrons being random and the Camellias being choosy.

 With colours of nuts and frosted chocolate... Yum...
Brown Corokia

New Zealand Shrubs

Many New Zealand native plants are shrubby evergreens, well behaved, not too fussy, and happy when squashed in, and so on. Many (like some Hebes and Pittosporums) can survive being chopped right down to their ankles.

There are some stunning divaricated varieties for bold, artistic gardeners, and many others sporting trendy shades like cream, blush pink, burgundy, claret, and so on. One of my favourites is this dusky chocolate brown Corokia.

Pittosporums are well known in the gardening world as the perfect foliage shrub, and I've found a beautiful cranberry coloured variety called (oddly) Tom Thumb. I already grow a lot of assorted Pittosporums, and I love them all - when I'm not chopping them down for getting too big, that is!

Branching Out...

In my latest shrubby phase I am thinking of the bigger picture! I have a carload of new shrubs to position and plant, with the usual locals - heaps of Hebes, Corokias, and pretty-leafed Pittosporums. But I'm 'branching out', if you'll excuse the pun!

It's like a travelogue from around the temperate shrubby world. I have the sweetest new Camellia (Pink Dawn), and the cutest little Australian Mint Bush. There are variegated Euonymus plants, conifers for the rockery, and a bright and clean newcomer called Drimys Aromata. He promises to be 'quite hardy' - he'd better be, as my garden does get a few frosts.

 What a beautiful shrub he is!
Red Pittosporum Tom Thumb

I've bought trailing Rosemary for the sunny stone wall over the water race, Van Elk rhododendrons for the leafy Driveway Garden, and other assorted smaller Rhododendrons for the Island Bed. There's a Viburnum Davidii and a golden Escallonia to find places for.

 I wonder what colour the flowers will be?
Golden Escallonia Shrub

So much fun! And so many spaces to fill, after my Great Winter Snow Damage Clean-Up. So, before I start, I have an important declaration to make.

Shrub Declaration

I promise to place each shrub according to its personal needs and desires. I will plant slowly, digging decent holes, watering and firming in the lucky new plants, and taking notice of height and width. I promise to keep all labels, take stunning photographs (including close-ups) of leaf and flower, and spell their names correctly.

Never will any of my new shrubs be neglected, grow woody, or bully the next-door plants out of light and water. I will mulch them like a mother, prune them to perfection, trim them with tenderness, and shower them with love (and appropriate irrigation). I will be a shrub super-mom.