THE JOY OF PLANTS. CO.UK, a consumer initiative of the Flower Council of Holland, offers tips on two low-maintenance, easy-to-grow shrubs: 1. Viburnum
Viburnums come in all shapes and sizes, both deciduous and evergreen, and most are easy to grow, and thrive in sun or semi-shade.
Among the smaller types is the Viburnum davidii, an evergreen which grows up to 1.5m in height and spread, producing dull white flowers in May followed by metallic-looking blue-black berries which can last the winter on the coral-red stalks of female plants.
Use it to provide ground cover and winter interest at the front of a border, in sun or partial shade.
Viburnums are not fussy, growing in reasonably welldrained soil (they won’t tolerate very dry or very wet soil) with plenty of added organic matter. Pruning is not necessary. Just cut back old or damaged branches in late spring. 2. Redvein enkianthus
This ornamental deciduous shrub, from the eastern Himalayas to Indochina, China and Japan, is part of the heather family.
E. campanulatus, which grows up to 3m high, has bell-like flowers in white, pink and red, or a mixture of the three, while in autumn, the leaves turn sizzling shades of orange and red.
It thrives in shady, woodland spots and needs acid soil, so makes a great plant partner for rhododendrons and camellias.
●●Viburnum bodnantense Dawn