Early Summer-flowering shrubs



Summer-flowering shrubs often pre-empt and overlap old-fashioned roses, yet their multi-headed small flowers complement rather than upstage them. Deutzias, shrubs found naturally in the Himalayas and south-east Asia, need fertile soil so often do well near roses. They usually flower in June and the rose-pink Deutzia x hybrida ‘Mont Rose’ will flatter paler-pink roses and darker ones. Deutzia pulchra bears racemes of white flowers, softened by yellow centres, and often likened to drooping lily of the valley flowers. Deutzias do get twiggy and untidy, left to their own devices. They will keep a better shape and bear more flowers if a third of the older wood is removed after flowering.

Kolkwitzia amabilis 'Pink Cloud' is a refined form of the Chinese Beauty bush, originally raised at RHS Wisley in 1946. Flowering slightly earlier than deutzia, usually in May, it’s covered in masses of bell-shaped flowers each with a yellow throat. The branches swoon, making this a graceful addition, although it does need a warm position. Shape after flowering, removing one third of the old wood. When happy it will reach 3m.

Indigoferas, shrubby members of the pea family, deserve a wider audience and if you have a dry warm position their drooping wands of pink flowers and ferny foliage should do well for you because they come from the dry and sunny slopes of the Himalayas - from Afghanistan to Western China. Indigoferas can die back in a cold winter, but do reshoot. They also take time to establish themselves and placing them in partial shade makes the flowers last longer.  Indigofera himalayensis 'Silk Road', a recently introduced small shrub, has vivid purple-pink flowers and bright-green leaves.