A shrub feature border consists of a selection of characterful woody plants presented within a mixed perennial meadow planting. The concept has arisen from a need to use shrubs with more effect in planting designs.
In the same way that perennial meadows are created using a mix of theme plants and complementary plants, the shrubs in a feature border fall into the same two categories. Shrubs with a graceful or characteristic habit that have an extended season of interest, by flowering, by producing fruit or by developing dramatic autumnal tints are chosen as the main theme plants in such planting schemes.
Dramatic shrubs such as spreading viburnums, arching hydrangeas, multi-stemmed magnolias as well as numerous flowering evergreens are presented, free-standing on a platform of complementary vegetation that consists of a mixture of complementary background shrubs and mixed perennials.
Shrub features allow shrubs to play a more prominent role in a garden landscape design. As free standing elements within a design the shrubs they contain are no longer pushed to the boundaries of the garden but moved into its very heart.
The ideas underlying the creation of shrub features will be the subject of my next eBook. Detailed planting suggestions and a comprehensive listing of both theme and complementary shrub species and cultivars will be used to clearly explain how this original approach to using shrubs in garden design can be used to organise and complement contemporary garden landscapes.
Design&Plant will be publishing Shrub Features by Michael King soon.
Published 23 March 2014