Shrubs are at their most useful when they bring height and flower colour to those gardens dominated by perennials. This is the case in my own gardens in early summer.
I try to select shrubs that will sit high and command the borders in which they grow.
By late summer those that once drew all the attention may vanish into the background behind tall-growing, bulky perennials, but in spring and early summer they are indispensable.
Inspired by the dominant leaf colour of my neighbour’s purple leafed hazel I have also added to the garden a number of other shrubs with bold purple foliage.
The two Cercis canadensis ‘Forest Pansy’ on the left will eventually rival the hazel tree in stature whilst the various forms of delicate maples add variety to this purple foliage theme in other areas of the garden.
If you want to learn more about my ideas of how to combine shrubs and perennials please check out my eBook on Shrub Features which I put together a couple of years ago for gardeners interested in naturalistic planting.