Shrubs form the backbone and structure to our gardens, and can provide seasonal interest throughout the year. Here we look at a few recently introduced or little known shrubs that we think will be a hit in 2016, and fit well with the current trend for relaxed naturalistic planting.
Viburnum plicatum f. tomentosum 'Kilimanjaro Sunrise'
Voted Chelsea Flower Show plant of the year 2015, this gorgeous Viburnum has it all. Beautiful white flowers in Spring followed by red berries loved by the birds, then good autumnal foliage colour. Never growing too large, it is ideal for smaller gardens.
Clethra alnifolia 'Hummingbird'
This little known plant's common name is Dwarf Summersweet which is a clue to its appeal. The dainty white flowers appear in summer and have a beautiful spicy-sweet fragrance. Hummingbird has a compact habit and as an added bonus will happily grow in a shady location.
Exochorda racemosa 'Magical Springtime'
This introduction of the beautiful Pearl Bush is more compact and upright than its hugely popular cousin Exochorda 'The Bride'. Smothered in pure white flowers in Spring, it is fully hardy and very easy to grow. Available in limited numbers so hurry!
Cotinus coggygria 'Lilla'
Dwarf purple smoke tree. This beautiful new shrub is a compact version of the highly popular Cotinus 'Royal Purple'. Growing to just over 1m, it has stunning wine red leaves that turn vibrant red/orange in Autumn. In summer the fluffy flower panicles on mature plants appear to cloak the bush in a cloud of pink 'smoke'.
Sambucus nigra 'Serenade'
This attractive new form of ornamental elder has colourful bronze pinnate foliage and panicles of delicate white flowers. Perfect for giving borders a soft naturalistic back-drop.
Lavatera clementii 'Silver Barnsely'
Lavatera Barnsley has been popular for many years, but now a beautiful form with soft silver foliage and a profusion of blush white flowers has been developed, making this quick growing shrub the perfect addition to sunny borders.