Shrubs for Summer Flowers
These are rather tender shrubs from South America, but so attractive that it is worth trying one against a sheltered south wall in the south or west of England. Their flowers are bell-shaped, produced in June and July; Ashford Red is a particularly pretty variety with large, red flowers throughout the summer. It grows to about 8 ft. Abutilon megapotamicum has smaller, yellow bells, with a red calyx, to the same height, and variegatum is a variation of this with attractively yellow-mottled leaves. A. vitifolium has lilac-coloured flowers and large, soft, vine-like leaves; it grows to a height of about 15 ft. These species enjoy sun and well-drained soil. Prune in spring, cutting back to new growth but do not remove all the old flowering wood each time.
Fat, soft spikes of purple, lavender, red, , white and near-black are evidence of the buddleia’s wide colour range. Ridiculously easy to grow on almost any soil, although they prefer those that are reasonably well drained. They repay pruning a hundredfold with their prolific flowering in late summer and autumn. Cut back in spring those shoots that have flowered the previous summer, not too hard in cold districts, otherwise they are likely to die. Chalky soils suit them, and love them.
Buddleia alternifolia can be trained as a standard, to produce a waterfall of lilac-coloured flowers from mid-summer to autumn, and B. fallowiana is an extremely pretty species, with blue flowers produced in August and silvery-grey leaves. Height of all types varies between 8-12 ft. Some good varieties of Buddleia davidii are: Black Knight, black-purple; Fortune, lilac; Royal Red, deep plum; Buddleia Globosa, orange balls of flowers and White Cloud.
An extremely attractive shrub, Convolvulus eneorum produces its yellow-centred, funnel-shaped, white flowers in summer on bushes 2-3 ft. high; the leaves are ‘evergrey’. It likes very well-drained soil and a hot, sunny position, and it needs protection in winter, but it is worth a little trouble.
The species Cytisus battandieri, blooming in June, has quite different flowers to those species described under cytisus on page to; they grow in fat, yellow, curving, spike-like groups, with an intense scent of, and with silky, greyish-green leaves. This shrub is quite outstanding and reaches 10-12 ft.
Easily-grown shrubs to about 6 ft., and doing well on chalk soils, deutzias are heavy flowerers, producing single and double, rather fringe-like, mainly white flowers, from May to July. Their delicate bell-shaped blooms make a pleasing contrast with the other heavier, more voluptuous, such as hydrangeas and peonies. Deutzia longifolia, 4-6 ft., rose-pink single flowers; Deutzia. scabra, 8 ft., white or pinkish, single flowers; D. s. candidissima, pure white, double flowers and D. s. plena, white flowers stained with rose-purple outside.
A graceful family of shrubs, with curving sprays of rose, pink or white flowers, not very large but making up for their small size by their profusion; they are produced from June onwards. Escallonias are and reach a height which varies between 8 and 12 ft., and make good seaside . They will grow in any reasonably good soil and like sunny places.
Particularly good forms are: Escallonia macrantha, with rosy-crimson flowers; Pink Pearl, rose-pink; Slieve Donard, pink; Donard Seedling with pink buds, changing to white as the flowers open; and E. langleyensis, with rose-red flowers; the last-named reaches about 6 ft. Pruning in the spring to remove last year’s flowering shoots is necessary to keep them well covered each year.
The spurges contain some plants of considerable interest, in particular Euphorbia characias and Euphorbia wulfenii, both of which are sub-shrubs (in other words the tips of the shoots are cut back each winter). Euphorbia characias has enormous heads of yellowish-green flowers, with red ‘eyes’ during summer, backed by bluish-green narrow leaves. Euphorbia wulfenii has much yellower, looser heads and flowers earlier in May; the individual flowers are more of a bell shape and the leaves are evergreen. Both are hardy unless the winter is very cold, and both need little pruning. Cut out the oldest shoots so that new ones will grow. It reaches 4 ft.
As is suggested by the name, Fremontia californica is a native of California, where it may reach 30 ft. in that State’s somewhat mellower. In the south-west and sheltered south of England, grown against a west- or south-facing wall, it is more likely to grow to about 15 ft., and will produce large, golden flowers, round and saucer-shaped, 24 in. across, the whole summer through, starting in May. It does not like its feet in so make sure that the large quantities of water it requires can travel through the soil easily.
The little red and purple flowers of Fuchsia gracilis, exactly like ballet dancers in red and purple skirts, are produced on arching sprays in summer, from June to September. This fuchsia makes 6-ft. High hedges in the West, but in the rest of the country makes rounded bushes about 4 ft. high. The plant should be protected with a thickseveral inches deep, during the winter, and in spring cut back almost to ground level. Fuchsia magellanica versicolor has cream-variegated foliage, tinted with pink, and Fuchsia magellanica discolor has larger flowers, with lighter-coloured purple petals. Double hybrid fuchsias cap also be grown out of doors, but the risk of losing them in a hard winter is much greater, and they will need considerably more protection, perhaps even lifting and putting in the . They like well-drained but not dry soils and a sunny or partially-shaded position.
The great pink, red, purple and blue mop heads of the Hortensia type of hydrangea (varieties of Hydrangea mcerophylla var. hortensia) need no description. They are versatile shrubs that will grow in sun or semi-shade, and are equally at home as specimens, or as hedges, growing in seaside districts, in , or as pot plants. Good varieties are: Generale Vicomtesse de Vibraye, pink, but light blue on acid soils; Maréchal Foch, deep rose, purple-blue on acid soils; Mme E. Mouillière, white; Ami Pasquier, crimson; Westfalen, deep red or mauve flowers. Blueing hydrangeas on very limy soils is not practicable; on slightly limy soils the use of aluminium sulphate at 4 oz. per gallon of water may be tried in February — more than one application may be needed at monthly intervals. Little pruning is required except to thin out young shoots as they emerge in spring if they are too crowded.
Leave the dead flowerheads on the plant through the winter to protect the new buds. In addition to the Hortensia hydrangeas, there are others which are equally attractive. For instance, Hydrangea sargentiana, 6 —10 ft., has thickly-haired stems and large hairy leaves; its flowers are bluish-white. It prefers light shade and shelter from cold winds. Hydrangea macrophylla mariesii produces hydrangea flowers known as ‘lace-caps’ which have flat, rather than round, heads of flowers. Hydrangea macrophylla mariesii is pink; Blue Wave is a good, late-summer-flowering variety and Lanarth White one of the best white ones. Hydrangea paniculata has white pyramidal heads of flowers in late summer, these later turning pink — the plant reaches about 10 ft, prune this species hard in spring, cutting the shoots back to a few inches and reducing their number considerably, and feed generously at the same time to obtain flowerheads which can be as much as 1 – 1-½ ft. across.
Very attractive shrubs, varying from the ground-cover type to those about 6 ft. high; their flowers are golden yellow, saucer shaped, with prominent brush-like stamens, and are produced in profusion in sun or shade. Hypericum patulum Hidcote flowers July — August and reaches 6-7 ft., and is covered with golden flowers. H. calycinum flowers in mid-summer and goes on till the end of August. This shrub makes excellent ground cover and has a liking for. It is evergreen and has the typical yellow flowers with prominent stamens. H. moserianum has similar flowers 2-1/2 in. across but with pink stamens. Little pruning is required.
The unusual shape of the kalmia’s pink flowers make it doubly attractive and they will be plentifully produced when grown in acid soil with plenty of compost, and a lightly shaded site. It is June flowering. Kalmia latifolia reaches about 8 ft. and K. l. myrtifolia is a low-growing form. It is an evergreen.
The secret of growing good lavender is to clip it back so that it does not become straggly, doing this with a pair of shears each spring. Its purple-blue spikes of flowers are enhanced by the greyish-silvery, needle-like leaves and, as it is a native of the Mediterranean region, a warm spot with a well-drained light soil, will produce the best plants, which will grow to about 4 ft. high. Hedges or specimen plants are equally pleasing;is the common sort. There is a shorter variety called Hidcote with deep, purple-blue flowers but it does not have such a strong scent.
The tree lupin,arboreus, is easily grown from seed and grows fast, reaching 3 or 4 ft. in one season with a markedly woody stem. It eventually grows to about 8 ft. Flowers are yellow or white, and freely produced; the tree is short lived, making it a good shrub to fill in a temporary gap. It will grow in poor, .
This is mock orange blossom, flowering in June or July and growing to about 10-12 ft. Its white, 4-petalled flowers with golden stamens, sweet scent and its ease of cultivation make it a popular shrub with gardeners. Shoots should be removed after flowering, cutting them back to the strong new shoots which already will be growing fast. Belle Etoile is a variety with purple marking at the centre of the flowers and a particularly pleasing scent. Virginal is a double white-flowered variety, and Manteau d’Hermine has creamy-yellow flowers, also double. Like the others it is fragrant, but grows only to a height of about 4 ft. All grow easily in poor soil.
The Jerusalem sage, Phlomis fruticosa , has heads of yellow, hooded flowers, backed by ‘evergrey’ felted leaves, and makes a rounded low-growing plant about 3 ft. high. It is hardy except in really cold areas and is particularly good in a sunny spot as it likes warmth and good. Do not prune. Spiraea Spiraea menziesii triumphans has purplish-pink spikes of flowers about 8 in. long, in August, on bushes 3-5 ft. high. S. douglasii is 4-6 ft., flowering earlier in June and July, with purplish-rose spikes 4-8 in. long.
Sugar-pink feathery, rather frond-like flowerheads are the tamarisk’s main attraction. From a distance the plant looks rather like a gigantic pink feather duster, eventually reaching about 12-15 ft. high. Tamarix pentandra comes from the south-west Mediterranean region, and flowers in July—August; the leaves are small, needle-like and insignificant. It grows well at seasides defying the coastal gales and salt spray. Prune it in April, cutting back the shoots that flowered the previous year quite severely — this will make it flower more abundantly.
A diverse, easily-grownwhich has plants flowering right through the year, and also has some most attractive berries and foliage. Summer-flowering species include the guelder rose, Viburnum opulus sterile, , 10-12 ft., which has white, snowball-like clusters of flowers in June. V. tomentosum mariesii is a very handsome shrub, flowering in June and reaching 6—10 ft. and more in favourable situations. The flowers are produced along the length of the horizontal branches, giving a pagoda-like effect; red berries turning black follow the flowers. Routine pruning for viburnums is not required, only tidying up.