Our list of
shrubs for California gardens aims to provide interesting and garden
worthy choices. We have a number of plants listed that will thrive
in our arid climate without taxing the water bill. We also have
lists of plants appropriate to the dry shady conditions under Oak Trees
and lists of Native California plants as well.
Plants in this list
must have woody stems for us to call them shrubs. But they are not large enough to be trees. Though in a small garden a
large shrub could be used effectively as a small tree. As with all
divisions there is a group of plants that could be categorized in other
Shrubs are a great filler.
I use them for screens, for color, for contrast. I am particularly enamored
shrubs that get on the big side. Some can be used as small trees. So many
gardens are too small to have a full sized tree fit to the scale of the yard. Large
shrubs can fill the bill. Many of them get in excess of 10 feet tall.
Those that get to more than that are in our tree list.
I love an informal hedge of mixed shrubs. I chose several that bloom at different
times and have an interesting contrast to their foliage. I group them
in masses that are large enough to see the pattern and spread the
groups so that there is a balance to the view. Then I insert a few that are unique
specimens for their seasonal highlights. It is easy to add a second
theme to this mix and attract
hummingbirds or butterflies by choosing appropriate plants.
There are many shrubs that work as a thick groundcover. This is great for a yard that
requires water conservation. Water can be applied at intervals of 4-6 feet
instead of being broadcast everywhere. A large number of plants
from habitats similar to ours can thrive without supplemental water.
This group includes Ceanothus and rockroses
(Cistus) and many others. This can result in
great conservation of water and plants at planting time.
There is also a long list of shrubs that can be incorporated into the dry shade garden. For this I use many of the
gooseberries, Garrya eliptica, abutalons, and many others.