I’ve come to realise that I don’t know half as much as I should about shrubs. I’m really only familiar with the bog standard ones that you see in most gardens (and garden centres), and it’s only when I visit gardens such as Huw’s that I realise there are so many more out there.
Huw’s piece of Welsh mountainside is crammed with lots of unusual shrubs, most of which he hunts down online. Unusually, he grows many of them from seed – and lots don’t take as long as you’d think to grow and flower.
Flanking the ceanothus (California lilac) are two Abutilon vitifolium, one white, one mauve. They were sown in 2005, and first flowered in 2008, which I think is pretty impressive. They’re not reliably hardy, but they’re still standing despite a bit of a knockback after the winter of 2010/11. Why don’t we see more of them in gardens, I wonder?
Just seen on the left is a Drimys winteri. Huw was lazy with this one and bought it as a small tree. It smells lovely, and has a great shape too.