Flowering shrubs perform double duty for scores of gardeners. In many landscapes, they function as focal points and space fillers while providing beautiful foliage and colorful flowers. The United Kingdom has many varieties of flowering shrubs available for the home gardener. Many homes feature these flowering shrubs in entryway landscaping and along the borders of properties and larger gardens. Because flowering shrubs are generally easy to maintain, beginner gardeners often choose them.
Smoke bush (Cotinus coggygria), also known as smoke tree, is an attractive small- to medium-sized flowering shrub common in United Kingdom gardens. It typically reaches heights of 15 feet and grows in an upright, spreading nature. Smoke bush produces striking foliage throughout the summer. Leaves have a deep purple or yellow shade, depending on the cultivar and the season. Tiny, yellow-green blooms appear in late spring and last throughout the summer. The long filaments of the flowers create a smoke-like effect over the shrub throughout June, July and August. In the fall, leaves continue their foliage in shades of yellow, orange, purple and red. Smoke bush is often planted in mass plantings or used as border shrub.
Smoke bush prefers full sun but can do well in partial sun. It can survive in both moist and dry soils. During the first years, prune regularly to develop a denser stem habit. Popular cultivars include Royal Purple, Golden Spirit and Daydream.
Californian lilac (Ceanothus spp.) blooms in various shades including pink, blue and white. Popular in the United Kingdom for the showy flowers, Californian lilac prefers full sun exposure in well-draining soil for optimal growth. Blooms appear from late spring until late summer, depending on the variety. Cultivars such as Gloire de Versailles and Perle Rose are common in many gardens across the region. Californian lilac typically reaches heights between 5 and 10 feet high. Note that the shrub is not wind tolerant and is easily injured by frost.
Blue Mist Shrub
Blue mist shrub (Caryopteris x clandonensis), also known as bluebeard and blue spirea, produces bright blue flowers from late summer until fall, generally from mid July through September. United Kingdom gardeners appreciate the light and airy form this shrub provides. Blue mist shrub is known to attract butterflies, which add delight to any garden. As a small shrub, it reaches heights between 2 and 3 feet with corresponding width measurements. A drought-tolerant flowering shrub, it thrives in loose, well-draining soils. Plant in full sun for best results. As the foliage falls from the stems and becomes crushed, a pleasing fragrance emits from the leaves. Blue mist shrubs are commonly found among companion flower beds, borders and focal points in the garden.