Topiarised Heather in a container

This week’s question is from Ivor Smallplot in Suffolk:

‘I have a small courtyard garden and wish to grow some shrubs in pots. What are the best varieties for this purpose, please?’

Heathers do well in pots, Ivor – even if your soil is rather limey (alkaline), you can provide an acid soil in the containers and so grow the summer flowering varieties. All the Hebes (shrubby Veronicas) are happy in pots, as are the less vigorous Berberis – but mind the thorns!

For winter colour plant the evergreen Euonymus, especially the delightfully variegated ones such as ‘Emerald Gaiety’, ‘Aureopictus’ and ‘Silver Queen’. New Zealand Flax (Phormium tenax) is also a good looker with its long, narrow leaves in many colours, as are Yuccas, with their rosettes of long needle-pointed leaves.

Further afield in the garden, you might want to grow shrubs that are especially attractive to bees. If so try flowering currants (Ribes) and goat willow (Salix caprea) for early flowering. Later in the year there are many shrubs to choose from including the ever popular ‘Butterfly Bush’ (Buddleja davidii), Californian Lilac (Ceanothus), Firethorn (Pyracantha), Lilac (Syringa), Gorse (Ulex) and Daisy Bush (Olearia).

Ceanothus jepsonii

Ceanothus jepsonii

Old School Gardener

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