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Shrubs for Cutting

April 24, 2017

These were rounded-up for a friend’s new baby and it made me think about a list of useful shrubs for picking throughout the year. Herbaceous plants and bulbs have been available in the garden for a simple vase most weeks but there’s always a need to keep ahead.

Viburnum opulus ‘Roseum’ (syn. ‘Sterile’) is the round yellow flower-head here in the vase although the flowers are described as white.  Three more plants of this variety were added to the garden recently in anticipation of mass pickings and all are flowering. You don’t have to wait long from newly planted but be aware they grow rapidly. A garden that’s visible from my desk has a huge plant measuring 5 m tall and it would require scaffold to pick the huge number of flowers.  Below is one that I was given two years ago from a cutting and it’s now 2 m tall and full of flowers but regular picking will keep the plant in check.

Lilacs can be purchased as shrubs or small trees and this white lilac tree was planted six years ago and flowered properly for the first time last year. It’s a good size for a town garden and this Spring it’s again full of scented flowers.

It’s useful to grow plants that can add bulk to vases and Pittosporum tenuifolium ‘Irene Paterson’ is one such. It’s a slow-growing evergreen shrub with rounded, undulate leaves opening white, becoming dark green speckled with white and often tinged pink in winter. Fragrant deep purple flowers are produced rather sparsely from mid-Spring with a surprisingly pretty scent. It makes a good filler for picking with tulips.

Rosmarinus officinalis is not only essential to have for cooking it also provides an interesting upright form in a mixed border of perennials and roses. Picked with grey santolina, helichrysum, artemisia and roses it makes a great scented posy in Spring and Summer.

Image result for rosemary officinalis

Another favourite shrub is Rosa glauca (synonym. R. rubrifolia).  It’s dark grey foliage is suffused with pinky-blue that reflects the intense pink of the rose flower. It has the added bonus of hips in Autumn.

Hydrangeas- in my opinion any and all are worth growing. A favourite is Hydrangea ‘Madame Emile Moulliere’ which has compact dense cream flowers.

I picked more lilac and viburnum for the house and since the container was tall the stems of the Viburnum opulus stayed upright.  They can droop though if not supported so it’s best to pick the stems long, plunge into water and then reduce them to about 25 cm before putting them in a vase.


A recipe new to me for Vegan cherry and almond brownies was a hit at the weekend.

3 Comments leave one →
  1. April 24, 2017 1:56 pm

    I’m aware that I need more shrubs to use the foliage and or flowers in vases; Sadly my Viburnum opulus died but I will try to grown another. Many shrubs I would like to have need irrigation through the heat of the summer but it might be worth devoting an area for this purpose; thanks for reminding me of this.

  2. April 29, 2017 5:57 pm

    Yes a designated area might be the solution. We have had so little rain for weeks now so I am out there today with the hose but that’s only necessary for a few weeks of the year in the UK, And I love re-using kitchen waste water on pots and plants growing near to the house. In your large garden I can imagine that’s not an option.

  3. May 2, 2017 11:17 pm

    I like to add herbs to a small vase of flowers but the real showstopper has to be the hydrangea at the allotment I share – it’s a really vibrant blue which fades to an equally lovely purple in the autumn. Looks fabulous with calendula or some of the deep pink Lychnis that grows wild on the plots.

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