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Jess is in the Garden

It's a verry shallow border, bordering plum slate. Raised flower bed one side, small buddleja the other and a dwarf apple tree.

Pretty good soil - heavy clay mixed in with lots of well-rotted stuff, so very free draining and rich. Just been mulched too. 

No idea what pH but roses love it.

Ideally looking for something that has a very striking deep plum/burgundy/maroon leaf, possibly evergreen, but not anything spikey like berberis as kids running about nearby. 

A gorgeous Cotinus (Smoke Bush) caught my eye today and that's just the colour I want, but grows up to 5m so that put me off a bit (my garden is only 6mx6m urban, so I need a bush that won't invade and will grow quite compact, perhaps no more than 1m or so)

Can a Cotinus be cut back a lot to keep it in check, or is there something even better out there I know nothing about?! (very likely, as my knowledge isn't vast!)

Exposure: bit of early east sun, then sun again from about midday to 2ish. Protected, against a fence in a walled garden.

Thank you


hiya Jess, yes cotinus is best cut back very hard.  In addition I pinch out the shoots some 3 times during the summer to further encourage bushyness.  It is the very best purple shrub

for an evergreen purple then Pittosporum Tom Thumb is delightful.  There are a number of evergreen purple hebes varieties constantly being introduced.  Prunus cistena crimson dwarf is a beautiful crimson leaved shrub thats quite small and conducive to pruning...deciduous though

 purple herbaceous include acteas, heucheras and lobelia cardinallis

Jess is in the Garden

Oh wow Verdun - I'm off to do some serious googling! Thank you

Cotinus is amazing, but I'm worried that I may not be able to control it as I'm away for much of the Summer...may return to find a baobab tree in my garden.

Hadn't thought of hebes - good idea too.

I have some purple heucheras which I love...Tom Thumb is probably the best option as it's not too massive and I have another pittosphorum close by too. I love the fact it's evergreen - in such a tiny garden that's so important or things look a bit bleak come December.

Thanks again

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