GARDEN SHRUBS – how to identify some common garden shrubs

In Hillier’s book The Gardener’s Guide to Trees and Shrubs of which over 200 genera and 2000 species or varieties are listed in  the form of shrubs. In urban areas a limited range of  species and varieties are used for hedging or roadside decoration with a wider, more colourful range used in gardens and parks.  Twenty common garden shrubs are shown on this page with photos of foliage, flowers and fruit and information of how they are used in urban environments

Salix Alba var.vitellina ‘Britzensis’ (Scarlet Willow)  produces brightly coloured shoots after being coppiced. 
Cornus sanguinea (Common Dogwood) has white flowers in spring and black berries in autumn. Often sold as the variety Midwinter Fire which has bright red stems in winter.
Cornus alba ‘Sibirica’ has bright red stems in winter, white flowers in spring and white berries in autumn.
Cornus alba ‘Elegantissima’ has white-edged leaves
Cornus stolenifera ‘Flaviramea’ has greenish yellow young shoots and is often planted alongside Cornus alba Siberica

Berberis thunbergia has red/purple foliage in autumn. Berberis darwinii has 3 pointed leaves, yellow/red flowers and is thorny.

Snowberry Symphoricarpos albus  has white berries in autumn and winter

Cotoneaster (Rose family) has small spring flowers and bright red berries in autumn

Pyracantha (Rose family) has white flowers in early summer, red, orange or yellow berries in autumn and is thorny.

Daphne bholua has sweet scented flowers in mid to late winter

Forsythia (Olive family) has yellow flowers with 4 petals in spring

Winter Jasmine (Olive family) Jasminum nudiflorum  has yellow flowers with 6 petals in winter

Lilac Syringa vulgaris (Olive family) sweet scented flowers in May

Mahonia aquifolium (Berberis family) has yellow flowers from March to May

Mock Orange Philadelphus (Saxifrage family) has masses of sweet scented white flowers in June

Smoke Bush Cotinus coggygria  is grown for its superb autumn colours

Choisya ternata (Mexican Orange) is an evergreen shrub which has white flowers in April/May.  Member of the Rutaceae (Rue/Citrus) family

Spirea (Rose family). Deciduous. Often sold as Spirea nipponica ‘Snowmound’ which has cascades of white flowers in March

Viburnum tinus flowers December to April (Honeysuckle family). Evergreen.


Elaeagnus varieties (Oleaster family) have tiny flowers but dense foliage and are widely used for urban hedging