Q Which plants would make a low, evergreen flowering hedge?
Michael Davidson, East Yorkshire
A BOB SAYS My best suggestion is the evergreen
Berberis verruculosa, which has yellow flowers in early summer followed by purple fruits. If the hedge will be mostly in the sun, then taller varieties of lavender would work, as would rosemary – both are evergreen, aromatic and flower over a long period. Though East Yorkshire may be a bit harsh for these Mediterranean shrubs, unless you’re in a mild area. The same goes for Hebe ‘Imposter’, with its white summer flowers. Olearia x haastii, which produces white daisy flowers, is another option if your garden isn’t too exposed. Likewise,
Pittosporum tenuifolium, which can look terrific but may fare badly in dry winds. A shrubby potentilla would be tougher by far and, although not evergreen, would be quite bushy. A MATT SAYS Why not consider making it informal? Try Fuchsia ‘Riccartonii’, with its crimson tube and sepals, and violet-purple petals, Hypericum × hidcoteense ‘Hidcote’ for its bright-yellow flowers from late spring to late summer, or a potentilla such as ‘Abbotswood’, which has single white flowers from midsummer to early autumn, or ‘Red Ace’, with red flowers that fade to a burnt orange. Also try variegated foliage for colour – Euonymus fortunei ‘Emerald Gaiety’ has bold white leaf margins with red tints in winter, while the leaves of Berberis thunbergii turn a glorious orange then red in autumn.
Rosemary is ideal for a low, scented hedge in mild locations
Berberis thunbergii atropurpurea bears yellow flowers and red berries