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Thinking of planting a shrub border?



(Above: Evergreen shrub with flower border in front)

A hedge can enclose a space, provide privacy, or mark a border of the yard. A shrub border can do much more. It is a collection of different size shrubs. Groups of one variety of plant are alternated with groups of a different variety. This type of group planting appears interesting and can create rhythm and emphasis with more impact than a single line of the same plant as in a hedge.

A shrub border can provide interest throughout the seasons by using groups of deciduous plants and groups of evergreens. It allows for a variety of flower colors at different times, contrasts in foliage textures, and plants with fall/winter accents. It allows you to screen what you don’t want to see and frame far views that are pleasing.

This seems like a lot to consider at one time. The first step is to plan out which plants to use and decide where they will go. Discuss your plan with your nurseryman or garden club friends. They are a valuable resource. A plan can easily be changed, but a planted border is pretty permanent. Plan the border, then plant some of it.

Several plants that are the same can be grouped together and repeated throughout the length of the border.


(Above: Sumac Hedge with tall phlox in foreground)

These groups are best interspersed with other groups providing a contrast in color, texture, size, or time of flowering. The tallest plants are in the back of the border, the middle of the border would be more medium size shrubs, with smaller shrubs or groundcovers planted in the foreground Also it can be be built over time, starting with the largest plants in the back of the border, and leaving spaces between the groups for another variety to be added next year. After that you can think of the middle of the border and so on. This approach gives you time to consider which varieties to choose

Consider the flowering times and colors of each group as well as the height and space available. Instead of using a ground cover for the foreground of the border, you could develop a flower garden using the border as a backdrop. Following are some shrubs to consider. Remember to read the label for helpful information in choosing your plants.


BACK OF BORDER (large shrubs, small trees)

Evergreens

Arborvitae

holly

Rhododendron

laurel

camellia

Red cedar

Deciduous

Vitex

viburnum

dogwoods

redbuds

witch hazel

Service-berry

sourwood


MID BORDER (medium size shrubs)

Evergreens

junipers

hollies

Rhododendron

laurel

camellia

deciduous

forsythia

spirea

elderberry

virginia sweet spire


FRONT OF BORDER

Groundcovers as juniper, cotoneaster, ornamental grasses, ferns, annuals, perennials



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