You can now enjoy true year-round interest with vibrant flower colour, brightly coloured berries and stems, tactile bark and wonderfully fragrant flowers – simply brilliant value for money compared to expensive, potted garden centre shrubs.
These 12 tried-and-tested garden winners will fill any gaps you might have in your existing beds and borders or allow you to plant a new one from scratch, with each individual shrub having the potential to fill about 1m sq. (3-4ft sq.). Once planted they will rapidly grow and look tremendous from this year onwards, giving a stunning visual display and a degree of privacy and security for you, as well as a natural safe haven for a wide variety of wildlife. The berries will provide much-needed winter food for wild birds and the shrubby structure will offer cover and protection for them too.
Symphoricarpos albus: Known as the 'Common Snowberry' for obvious reasons! The berries provide much-needed winter food for wildlife. Grows to 90-120cm (3-4ft).
Syringa vulgaris: The common Lilac produces fragrant, lavender-coloured blooms each May. Hardy and deciduous and great for hedging, it grows to 300-450cm (10-15ft) tall.
Cornus alba: The 'Red-Barked Dogwood' provides fantastic autumn colour with its bright red vertical branches. In summer it leafs up and has soft pink flowers in mid-summer. Grows to 90-120cm (3-4ft).
Potentilla Yellow: A tall, upright shrub with rich green foliage, smothered in beautiful yellow flowers from late spring to the first frosts. Robust and drought tolerant even in exposed conditions, it likes a sunny spot. Deadhead to keep the flowers coming and trim in autumn. Grows to 120-150m (4-5ft).
Tamarix tetandra: Commonly known as the 'Tamarisk' or 'Salt Cedar', this upright, deciduous shrub or small tree has gracefully arching dark branches and needle-like foliage. A superb focal point, it produces masses of feathery plumes of tiny pink blossom from April to May. Holds the RHS Award of Garden Merit. Grows to 300cm (9ft).
Spirea douglasii: Part of the rose family, it is often know as the 'Rose Spirea'. Easy to grow with masses of pretty pink flowers in early summer. Perfect for small spaces. Grows to 90cm (3ft).
Forsythia intermedia 'Spectabilis': Literally one of the most spectacular early season shrubs because of its bright yellow bloom. Perfect for hedges and really easy to grow. Grows to 120-150cm (4-5 ft), although can be trimmed into a tidy hedge.
Hypericum Hidcote: With masses of saucer-shaped, buttery yellow flowers from early to late autumn contrasted against lush, semi-evergreen foliage, it is compact and bushy and great for feature hedging. Holds the RHS Award of Garden Merit. Grows to 100-150cm (3-5ft).
Deutzia scabra: Also known as the 'Fuzzy Deutzia', this native of Japan and China grows to about 250cm (8ft) tall and smothers itself in pure white fragrant flowers in June.
Berberis thunbergii 'Atropurpurea': A great hedging plant because of its spiky branches, but also a beautiful garden plant. The yellow flowers appear in late spring and the purple foliage provides lovely autumn colour. Grows to 90-120cm (3-4ft).
Philadelphus coronarius: Commonly known as the 'Mock Orange', it will be clothed in a profusion of creamy white, fabulously fragrant flowers through June and July. Grows to 150-180cm (5-6ft).
Weigela rosea: A lovely garden shrub, with fabulous pink flower colour in May, June and July. Grows to 90-120cm (3-4ft).
Please note: these plants are supplied dormant and without leaves, looking more like dried twigs, and will establish in the ground over winter. They will not show signs of growth until the weather warms in spring, when they will burst into leaf.