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Shrubs And Bushes – Their Design Role In A Landscape Garden

Landscape shrubs and bushes are a vital part of garden design and composition. In order to use them most effectively, their design role should be clearly understood.

Landscaping shrubs and bushes have a number of functions in the garden. In the abstract, landscape architects and designers see them as the “walls” of the garden, whereas trees and prostrate plants are viewed respectively, as its “ceiling” and the “floor”. Shrubs and bushes, by virtue of their dimensions, are the one group of landscape plants that relate to human beings in terms of scale – both trees and low-growing plants being either beyond or beneath the size that relate to people. As the usual height of garden shrubs is between 1 to 3 meters (3-9ft) it follows that people eye them without either having to look upwards in the case of trees, or downwards with flowers or ground covers. The psychological significance of this “humanizing” function of shrubs and bushes, is usually missed by the average home gardener,

On a more prosaic level, the two most important design roles of landscape bushes, is to act as a visual barrier to screen out unwanted views and as a background to focal points such as a statue, a water feature, or a mass of flowers. A background element is crucial in any design, because something only becomes “special” in relation to a mass of things that are “ordinary”. For this reason, bushes that are grown in a background role should neither be garish in color nor showy in form, but rather, green, quiet, and fine to medium in leaf texture.

On the other hand, many shrubs are a valuable source of garden color. This is a vital asset in dry climate gardens, where water use may be severely restricted, because on average, shrubs require at least a quarter of the amount of water consumed by annual flowers. In some cases as with Plumbago auriculata, established plants bloom for extensive periods without needing irrigation at all.

In the same vein, color is provided by landscape bushes that have colored foliage. Purple-leaved plants create the most striking contrasts, although they are often over-used, indeed miss-used by the inexperienced or naïve gardener. Silver-leaved shrubs are a safer bet, because silver and grey, as with white or black, are not colors, but differing intensities of light. Nonetheless, good taste demands they be used sparingly and judiciously. Leocophyllum frutescens from Texas is an example of a water-conserving bush that not only has attractive, silvery-grey leaves, but lovely purple flowers as well. Plants with gold-colored leaves make for a more subtle, gentle contrast with the mass of green-foliaged shrubs. The fruit, edible or otherwise, of many shrub species, also adds color to the garden especially at the end of the summer, when it is often in short supply.

There is another important, but much overlooked function provided by some landscape bushes. It is that many produce edible and tasty fruit. The great advantage of fruiting shrubs over fruit trees, is that they are often far less vulnerable to pests and disease. While plum, apricot, cherry, and apple trees are liable to be subject to the depredations of bark insects, and citrus trees attacked by leaf miners, shrubs such as Carissa macrocarpa, Feijoa sellowianaBusiness Management Articles, and Eugenia uniflora (delicious sour/sweet berries) remain virtually untouched.

Source: Free Articles from ArticlesFactory.com

ABOUT THE AUTHOR


My name is Jonathan Ya'akobi.
I've been gardening in a professional capacity since 1984.
I am the former head gardener of the Jerusalem Botanical Garden, but now concentrate on building gardens for private home owners.
I also teach horticulture to students on training courses.
I'd love to help you get the very best from your garden,
so you're welcome to visit me on http://www.dryclimategardening.com
or contact me at jonathan@dryclimategardening.com



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