Shrub Size

Shrub size is puzzling. I must be either very unobservant (please no) or I live, visually at least, in a gardening dreamworld, seeing only what I want to see. I have no sense of shrub dimensions : when they're comfortably medium-sized I never sense trouble. They simply look grand, the perfect size, fitting the space I've given them.

But then...

But then the very next year they are far too big. What? How does that happen? That's impossible. Nothing grows that much that quickly.

Cream Delight Phormium

And so I have to chop down overgrown Pittosporums, Phormiums, Rosemaries, and Hebes, to name just a few. Too big, too fat, too wide. Phormiums can't really be controlled or tamed, but the other over-sized shrubs could have been kept in place with judicious pruning. Oops. But I should have done that years ago...

Phormiums are tricksers when it comes to size. Recently at the nursery I saw the cutest little Cream Delight Phormium in a pot. It was beautifully formed, wonderfully striped, and less than a foot high. What a wee sweetie! But wait! Read the dimensions on the label, if you dare. Cream Delight flaxes grow as tall as Non-Gardening Partner, and considerably fatter (oops). Buyer (especially the urban gardener) beware!

 Love the bees.
Hebe Flower and Bumble Bee

Sneaky Hebes

Hebes are sneaky, too. They're wee cuties when young, covered in pretty flowers, foliage neat and green. In my garden the wee cuties age without me even noticing - suddenly they're woody, with spindly stems, bare at the bottom, sprawling over their neighbours.

OK, I rarely remember to trim them lightly after flowering. But Hebes are cheap to replace, and the species varieties set seedlings, so (in theory) there's no excuse for any disgraceful Hebe displays in my garden.


Rosemary is a short-lived shrub, yes? It always looks scruffy, yes? These are good excuses for letting it go bouff. I grow Rosemary for its fragrance and for the bees, not for its inbuilt sense of style and grooming.

Again, replacements are reasonably priced. I've just bought two new Rosemaries (variety Goldilocks, with beautiful light green foliage). They are going in the Herb Spiral to replace three over-sized monsters and one huge sprawling Spiraea, all of which I've just cut down.

 Growing in the side of my Herb Spiiral.
This Spiraea Shrub is Too Big

My idea is simple. If they re-sprout, then goodie. If not, then too bad.