Trees and shrubs are brilliant at providing structure and colour in the garden, particularly after herbaceous plants have died back in the winter months.


It's worth spending some time choosing shrubs and trees for your plot, as some have more positive attributes to their name than others – resistance to disease, year-round appeal and versatility are all valuable qualities.

If you're unsure, consider growing native shrubs and trees. That way, you can rely on them to grow well in our climate, and they'll play a role in supporting your local wildlife.

Discover six of the most reliable shrubs and trees, recommended by Alan Titchmarsh, below.

Rosa 'Eglantyne'

This David Austin shrub has old-fashioned rosette flowers in soft pink. Rosa 'Eglantyne' is almost disease-free with little pruning needed.

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Rosa Eglantyne
Pale-pink rosette blooms of Rosa 'Eglantyne'

Acer palmatum Dissectum Group

Stylish, cut-leaved, shrub with superb autumn colour. For some inspiration, take a look at 10 of the best acers to grow.

Acer palmatum Dissectum Group
Highly-sculpted red foliage of Japanese maple

Crab apples

One of few multi-talented small trees for any garden, crab apples offer year-round interest and is good for birds, bees and jam-makers. A great plant for autumn colour and among the best trees for small gardens.

Best crab apples - Malus 'Evereste'
A red crop of Malus Evereste crab-apples

Rosa rugosa

A multi-purpose species/shrub rose, Rosa rugosa bears flowers and huge ripe tomato-like hips all summer. Easy-going even on exposed sites; used as a shrub or a hedge, with little pruning needed.

Rosa rugosa
Orange round hips of Rosa rugosa


Box (Buxus sempervirens) is the natural choice for versatile balls, spirals, neat dwarf edgings and potted topiary; in sun or shade. Be vigilant in looking out for box blight and box tree caterpillar.

Box Buxus sempervirens
Balls of box interspersed with lavender

Cornus alba 'Sibirica'

A red-stemmed, winter favourite, Cornus alba 'Sibirica' has had a new lease of life as a winter patio plant and to cut for creative floral decorating. Prune back hard in March for the brightest stems in autumn and winter.

Cornus alba Sibirica
Striking red stems of Cornus alba 'Sibirica'

Flowering trees and shrubs to consider