If you have problems with plants and shrubs that never seem to thrive and more often than not die, then this list should be of some use. These ten shrubs are all tough and guaranteed to grow even in the poorest soil. This selection of ten indestructible shrubs comes from an article by Andy McIndoe which I found on the Learning With Experts website.
“Everything dies in my garden?. How often have I heard that. It’s usually an excuse not to try. A reason to leave the garden as a boring square of ill-kempt grass, or to let nature take over. Admittedly some gardens suffer from challenging growing conditions, especially poor soil, that makes it hard for many plants to grow and thrive. However it’s all about choosing the right ones in the first place, so I thought I would pick ten shrubs that you just can’t kill, even if you are the most reluctant gardener, or have the worst possible growing conditions.
I’ll start with one that I’ve known all my life but can never remember the name of. Spiraea x pseudosalicifolia (often referred to as Spiraea x bilardii) was a familiar sight in gardens of the 60s. One of those plants that obligingly produced suckers, so offshoots were passed from garden to garden. Upright tan coloured stems with pale green leaves topped with narrow conical furry spikes of mauve-pink flowers. I want to refer to them as resembling bottle brushes, but that might be confusing. I still come across this shrub in gardens everywhere. Despite what’s gone on in a garden over the years, whatever had been added and taken away, this one survives. It seems to defeat the best efforts of the gardener to dig it out.
Next On my list is a real thug: Rubus tricolor. Often recommended for ground cover it is rampant, so make sure you’ve got lots of ground to cover. With long, low arching stems covered with soft red bristles and shining deep green leaves, this member of the bramble family spreads and puts down roots as the arching stems touch soil. Hidden creamy white flowers and red fruits earn it a badge as wildlife friendly. Be prepared to chop it back regularly, or let it smother rough banks or those corners of the garden you can’t be bothered with. No weed stands a chance and its great cover for wildlife. Great for guerrilla gardeners that emerge armed and dangerous once a year.
My next choice is better behaved. Viburnum davidii forms a mound of deep-green ribbed leaves with red-leaf stalks. Growing to a height and spread of 90 x 90cm (3x 3ft) it fits into smaller gardens. It loves shade and is great under trees. You can prune it hard and it regenerates, or you can leave it to its own devices. I find it drought tolerant, hardy and a real survivor. A plant I deserted in a pot round the back of the house a few years ago has gone from strength to strength. No feed, only rainfall and no attention. If that sounds like your sort of regime, try it in a pot or in the open ground.
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