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Shrubs & hedges

The mainstay of any garden, some evergreen forms such as Viburnum or Choisya give the garden backbone and structure. We stock a series of varieties from Hebe, Cistus, Phormium, Aucuba to Photinias and lots more, whereas the deciduous forms such as Cornus, Hibiscus or even the old favourite, Hydrangea, help with coloured stems or flower shapes.

Our shrub area has an A - Z section to help you find your specific plant so much easier. If you are looking for something in particular please ask to see if we stock it or can source it for you. We stock a wide choice from the most popular and easy to grow varieties like Buddleia and Euonymus to the more challenging varieties such as Camellia, Azalea, Acers, Rhododendron or even Hamamelis the Witch Hazel. We also stock a good collection of starter shrubs for smaller areas too.

We have a well stocked range of mulches, soil conditioners and farm manure to help give your shrubs a good start in life as well as ready - mixed composts, specialist composts and growing media.

Why an Evergreen Garden?
Evergreen plants are not just about the foliage. Many are spring flowering and then in late spring will carry berries of varying colours. These plants are ideal for all gardens because they give year round interest, accent and structure to mixed planting. Our garden displays are here at Twenty Pence Garden Centre all year round to give you some ideas what can be achieved in a small space. The gardens are not just for small spaces though, as they can be enlarged to encompass any size of garden that you have. Through the year the Inspirational Garden will be changed and where appropriate,talks will be held in the display, such as fruit and roses.

Azaleas are available in a range of clear bright colours, providing a splash of colour from March to May. The showy flowers associate well with Rhododendrons. Azaleas are easy to grow in an acid soil or patio pots.

Camellias magnificent flowering evergreens are without parallel in the garden. The glossy green leaves are beautiful and accentuated by the colourful and various shaped flowers in late winter and early spring. (A formal look is easy to create with a few small touches, even in an established border. Statues can be placed on display, either up on a stand or nestled in the planting. Topiary also adds instantly to the effect you desire).

Site preparation:

First of all you need to dig over the whole area - wider than the hedge is to be and about 25cm deep (9") for small plants and deeper for taller plants - so that the soil is easily workable. A bit of proper digging over at this stage will pay dividends when you come to plant and as the plants establish. You must thoroughly remove all weeds and if you are aware that there are perennial weeds (like ground elder or bindweed) then it is sensible to spray the area a couple of weeks before you prepare the site. Spraying is best done when the weeds are vigorous so this is not always practical (for autumn/early spring planting). Then dig out a trench and make drainage routes by sticking your garden fork into the bottom and sides of the trench. This also helps the plants roots to get a good grip. If the area has been planted before, you should add plenty of compost a Rose, Tree & Shrub compost, fibrous multi-purpose or well rotted farmyard manure. Only ever use mature compost/manure otherwise it is too strong and can burn the roots/stems/leaves. If the soil is very wet, you should add sand or grit.

Try not to plant:

If it has been raining heavily as this makes the soil compacted and too "solid" for tiny new roots to grow When there is a very cold wind - or at least make sure the plants are exposed to the wind for the minimum time

Twenty Pence Garden Centre also recommends either David Austin Mycorrhizal Funghi or Vitax Q4 with fungi, this beneficial fungi helps the root systems develop strongly enabling a root system to develop that supports the plants.


If the weather is suitable and you have time to do it properly, then planting bare roots immediately is the ideal, but it is better to wait for good weather than to plant in unsuitable weather. It is a myth that bare roots need to be planted immediately – Here at Twenty Pence Garden Centre we supply the plants in bundles of 5 or 10 plants (depending on variety) in a pot of compost, so if you do get delayed in planting, just keep the compost moist, they will last for quite a while like this. When you are ready to plant, the first job is to check the dimensions of the trench. It needs to be slightly wider than the roots and exactly the right depth so that the soil mark on the roots is at ground level once the trench is backfilled (re-filled with soil). Work out your positioning (it's useful to use a cane to work out how to space the plants evenly) and then you are ready to plant. Spread out the roots carefully to avoid damage, backfill and firm them in with your wellington boot (firm but not compacted). It's often easier with two of you - one to hold the plant upright and the other to do the hard work! If you are using canes on taller plants or to pin rabbit guards in place, make a note of where the roots are so that they are not damaged.Water each plant really thoroughly (approx 5 litres per plant) and you could apply a bark mulch around the base of each plant (but not touching the stem) to keep weeds at bay, provide some frost protection and retain moisture.

There are really only a couple of things to get right:

The first is that plants must have enough water (even in winter there can be dry spells). This is particularly important as we move into spring and the deciduous plants are about to break bud. Drenching a couple of times a week is better than a light watering every day. Always water in the evening or on cloudy, cool days. Use the hose to spray the foliage of evergreens. Weeds and grass must be kept at bay for a couple of years. There is no easy option here - if you allow weeds or grass to get into or close to the hedge they will take all the nutrients and water from the hedge plants.

If there are heavy frosts after planting, the soil can break up, so the plants may need to be firmed in again. Severe frosts will cause damage to leaves - generally they will recover but weather damage is always a risk you need to be aware of, particularly with new plants. Larger plants generally suffer more than smaller plants, evergreens more than deciduous. In windy sites, the wind can "rock" new plants opening up air pockets where either frost can get in or roots can be exposed to drying winds. Firm in the plants from time to time. In the first year after planting, plants often come into leaf or flower much later than established plants. Evergreen plants (or semi evergreens) often defoliate or the leaves turn yellow when transplanted. Evergreens also have a tendency to defoliate when they first experience warm, dry weather. If your plants experience any of these, just increase the frequency of watering (but don't make them waterlogged) and new leaves will appear.


Different species have different pruning rules so really, you need to refer to a good gardening book for specifics.
But the main rules are:

  • Hawthorn, Blackthorn and Privet should be pruned immediately after planting and the following season's new growth reduced by about half
  • Other deciduous species should be lightly pruned when planted and then pruned by one third of the annual growth the autumn after planting
  • Evergreens generally do not need to be touched at all until after a full growing season when the side shoots can be trimmed to tidy them up but the main leading shoot should be left until the hedge reaches the desired height.

Planting in your Garden:

Camellias prefer a slightly acidic soil. Pine bark mulch or pine straw and needles increase the acidity of the soil as they break down.

Planting in Containers:

Camellias are very hardy and can be enjoyed as container plants on patios and balconies.They make good houseplants and can be moved indoors or outdoors depending on the temperature. Container grown camellias require moist, well drained soil. Use a rich, high quality potting soil that has had peat moss added. be sure the soil doesn't dry out between waterings. On the other hand, camellias won't tolerate standing water in the saucer, so water only until the soil is moist.

Care & Maintenance:

Regular water is essential in the beginning. Water new plants every day for the first couple of months, and then gradually reduce the amount of water as they become established. As a rule and under normal conditions, camellias do not need any watering when they are established. Keep an eye on the weather and in times of prolonged dry and hot conditions give the plants some extra water. Fertilisation should be done a few months after planting, using an ericaceous food. Re-fertilise each year in August and again in February. If your plants show symptons of iron deficiency (yellowing) add Chelate of Iron. Camellias do not need pruning, but can be pruned and clipped to shape as required. The best time is when new growth begins after flowering has finished. They can be pruned hard to force or to restore bushiness.

  1. Dig a hole at least 20cm wider in diameter than the root ball.
  2. Excavate a circular ring around the centre mound on which the root ball will be placed. Camellias don't like wet feet. If your ground holds water then put a 5cm layer of gravel in the bottom of the hole for drainage. Place the root ball on the central mound.
  3. Backfill the hole with a mixture of soil and an ericaceous compost. The compost will improve the soil quality by providing additional nutrients to the plant.
  4. Cover the soil with mulch, best keep away from the trunk, do not plant deeper than the existing level when planting.
  5. More camellias die from over watering, wet feet or from being planted too deeply than from any other cause.