A garden filled with flowering plants is spectacular over the spring and summer months, but without a solid framework of trees and shrubs, it may lose its appeal in winter. On the other hand a garden with only trees and shrubs can be stunning throughout the year.
Trees and shrubs perform a multitude of functions. They offer privacy and seclusion and provide shade and shelter, helping to keep us cooler in summer and warmer in winter. They offer a permanent leafy background for short-term flowering plants but they’re not without the ability to put on a seasonal show all of their own. Some of the best displays of flowers, fruit, bark or autumn foliage come from our longest lasting trees and shrubs, getting better with each passing year.
Long after the air cools down, autumn soil holds on to summer's warmth and plants respond with a flourish of pre-winter growth. Trees and shrubs that go in the ground in autumn make a good start before the cold weather arrives. When the flush of top growth erupts in spring the soil is yet to warm up, but the roots that established in autumn are ready to support it.
Planting in autumn or early winter effectively saves water because well-established roots are less dependent on watering during their first year in the ground.
TREES AND SHRUBS FOR AUTUMN COLOUR
Cercis Forest Pansy
Crab apple (Malus)
Flowering cherry (Prunus)
Japanese maple (Acer)
Smoke bush (Cotinus)
TREES AND SHRUBS FOR WINTER INTEREST
Paper bark maple (Acer griseum)
Star magnolia (Magnolia stellata)
TOP FOR TOPIARY
Clipped evergreen shapes add distinction and personality to the garden. Choose shrubs with tight growth and small leaves.
Corokia ‘Frosted Chocolate’
Pittosporum ‘Little Kiwi’ and ‘Golf Ball’
English box (Buxus)
Box honeysuckle (Lonicera)
NOTABLE DROUGHT TOLERANCE
Once they have their roots well-established in the soil, many shrubs will go it alone for weeks without rain.
Nandina Lemon and Lime
Flower Carpet Roses
Tough shrubs that have small leaves and compact branch structures make excellent hedges.
Corokia Geenty’s Green
Corokia Frosted Chocolate
English box (Buxus)
Griselinia Broadway Mint
Pittospurum Stephen’s Island
Podocarpus Matapouri Blue
PLANT FOR PRIVACY
Quick growing evergreen shrubs and small trees provide a cool leafy screen to create a verdant urban sanctuary.
Puka (Meryta sinclairii)
TOUGH AGAINST WIND
Wind strips the garden of precious moisture and brings dust or salt spray from the sea. In windy situations planting for shelter makes a huge difference to plant growth and human comfort.
Karo (Pittosporum crassifolium)
FOR THE BIRDS
Support native wildlife with these garden-friendly trees and shrubs.
Magnolia 'Little Gem'
Topiary pittosporum balls
Native trees support birdlife