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I have kept front tidy since we moved in but done nothing else. This is half the front garden.

The thing is what else??/

I have planted a ceanothus (unknown variety) but it is covered in buds now and am goin to plant, by the end of the day a climbing hydrangea to go up the wall, but at ground level?

Rosa carriola wrote (see)

This morning I have started on the front garden. That climbing hydrangea plant I am goin to put up the blank wall, I will shape bed to take in drain and use it for pots and, if I ever get on top of the couch grass will then plant a selection of shrubs and a few perennials using a colour scheme of red/orangs with odd bits of blue. There is a Queen Elizabeth rose(pink) but can't move that as the neighbours gave it me as a thank you for organising the street party. That is the wall side

Any way suggestions please for 'red' shrubs

Already on list is berberis Nana


In sun in morning, Shade about 2-3o'clock onwards Heavy clay soil that is improving


Loropetalum, but it needs winter protection. I answered on FH, but I'd said the berberis that you mention here, if it's the purple one. Nandina Domestica "Fire Power". I'd also suggested Photinia Red Robin, but it may be too tall. If you want a small red tree for somewhere there is Cercis Forest Pansy, I love it.


Thanks Lizzie - do not like Photinia - and it would be too tall. Will look up others 

Just a thought, if you're going to increase the size of the bed & might add more topsoil - best to make sure that the house's damp-course is well above soil level.  As far as shrubs go, what about Pieris "Forest Flame" ?

Physocarpus Diablo is a lovely shrub with purple /bronze foliage that would go well with reds and oranges Cotinus is another
Pam LL x



Diablo can get big.  Mine has but I don't mind as it's on the border between me and an arable field.

I would suggest samucus Black lace as an alternative with deep, dark foliage and good flower heads and which responds well to pruning back when it gets too big. 

The colourful stemmed cornus would also be good as they get pruned each spring to grow new stems for the fresh winter colour.  Alba Sibirica has the reddest stems.   Elegans has variegated foliage and burgundy stems.  Midwinter Fire has flame effect stems but can sucker when happy and end up invading a bed.



Obelixx - our Diablo is pruned hard each year as we have a small garden and it doesn't seem to mind this treatment
Pam LL x

I am looking up the shrubs as they are suggested - that Nandina looks good but is a front of the border size I think

Thanks for the hint about top soil 'Charley'

I have sambucus in the back and have some dogwoods waiting to go in, in the back.

Deanos Diggin It

Photinia is a no, no then by the sounds B'j! Not liking etc! 

 What about a Pieris "Forest Flame" Although not totally red! 


There is a dwarf photinia red robin now....I have it and it's a gem. Cotinus royal purple is best purp.e/red shrub ...I cut it back to few inches every year and it grows to 6 to 8 feet every year. Pinching out leading shoots a couple of times during the summer makes it bushier and "redder". Pittosporum Tom thumb is lovely shiny black in winter and easily shaped. Again, Diablo is cut back hard every year. Heucheras, ophiopogon...a black leafed "grass", carex Buchani....a red grass type, uncinia unciniata rubra another evergreen red grass. Geranium Black Beauty has black foliage and blue flowers. The actea have reddish/black foliage. Acers too But they need shelter. Euphorbia rubra is a wonderful purple black evergreen perennial. Pennisetum fireworks is a fantastic red grass as is Imperata Red Baron.
....and penstemon Huskers Red, red Phormiums....loads of different varieties....., lysimachia firecracker has brilliant foliage but too invasive for my liking, and there are several annuals with red foliage like coleus. I'll stop before I get carried away.....any further!

Thanks for everyones suggestions. I have made a list and looked them up. I love that Nandina . The pittospurnun i planted in my back garden, one of the first things I put in and it died, so lovely as it is, I feel a bit wary of it. Had alook at the garden and that part that is up against th porch is really not useful, I am now thinking the Photina, not keen on them but one would brighten up that corner.

That tree looks lovely but I think it will be too close to the house, I have to leave room for occassional caravan parking, otherwise it would be in already, liked it so much.

Would that corner take the Pieris or does it need more sun?

I am also channeling my thinking, I think I will plant some verbena bonariensis to float amongst the reds


I bought Pittosporum Tom Thumb when we went to the Eden Project, loved it there, but it died in the winter. I think you have to live somewhere like Cornwall for it to survive the winter. I also had a lovely red Phormium and that didn't survive the winter either. I have lysimachia, but it may be chocolate, not firecracker (can't remember) and it hasn't been invasive although it has seeded itself in one or two places. My pennisetum died in the winter too. So it just shows what the difference in climate can do. I think Cornwall is ideal, not too cold in winter, not too hot in summer. Here it's extremes. So glad I was in Edinburgh last August when it was 36° here!


Hmm, Well here sometimes we are classed as SW sometimes as midlands. we seem to get the dryer weather, but it does get colder than elsewhere. Think it must be because we are in the shadow of the hills, less rain (well not last year) but warmer or colder temps. Still just learning about the area

Shame about the pittospurnum - it is lovely and different.


Just looked up that geranium black beauty, WOW - on the list


Rosa, hey! Glad you like that geranium. It really is sensational in summer. Plant it with santolina lemon fizz, a yellow leaved form or in front of elymus magellanicus.
Have a look at photinia pink lady. It's a variegated form and not quite as vigorous.

Have spent day digging bed. Is now shaped up to the drain you can see in picture. B***** couch grass

Now I have to make a plant list so that when i am out and about i can buy and eventually plant. Planting won't be straight away cos of Couch grass. need to get on top of that, but it will give me time to improve soil

have looked at that Pink Lady.
do you rate that nursery - Brookside? 

Bunny ...
Lost my black beauty recently ...stated growing in the warmth ...the savage cold up here caught it .
Liking the idea of pink softening the reds, I have a red yellow bed ...I know frowned upon by some ..... Thinking pink and lemon to soften it now

Thanks for all the help from you all, some plants I would not have considered before.

Have just planned the planting - unfortunately a couple of suggested plants need acid soil, which I don't have.

I am still going between the cotinus and a photinia(sigh)

But have added a weigelia 'Bristol Ruby', lovely dark red flowers. a grass to echo the other side, also not planted, and a couple of perennials that i aim to put on both sides to link them.

Now to price them up()

Anyone know a nursery that will sell say 5 plug perennials a go??