Shrubs as architectural statements

Certain shrubs have a tiered architectural shape, that’s broader than taller, with almost horizontal branches that really show off the flowers to full advantage. These make excellent specimens stretching over a lawn, or placed strategically in the garden. Among the finest is Viburnum plicatum 'Mariesii'. Its spreading branches are covered in white flowers and thickly textured green foliage that colours up well in autumn. The more-columnar Viburnum plicatum f. tomentosum ‘Kilimanjaro’, a new one, has white hydrangea-like flowers with outer florets set round tiny flowers, creating a lacecap arrangement of long lasting flower heads. Viburnum nudum 'Pink Beauty' has a similar floral arrangement, but with pink flowers that age to an antique rose-red in autumn light. It is a stunner and red berries tinged with black follow. Finally, Cornus controversa have a splendid habit with horizontal branches, and their clusters of creamy white flowers, which appear in early summer, are not bad either. The variegated form, C. controversa 'Variegata' is particularly handsome and can be used to light up dappled shade.

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