The Garden Community for Garden Lovers

Help needed to choose a suitable plant.


By Emsie

United Kingdom Gb

We have a new garden wall that replaces an enormous privet hedge which needed too much attention to keep it neat. The wall is about 6 foot tall. It runs down one side of our back garden which, as we live on a corner, has the public footpath on the other side. We miss the privacy provided by the extra height we were able to have with the privet hedge and would like to plant a few plants along the wall which we can prune to have minimal bushiness up the trunk but which we can allow to bush out when it reaches the top of the wall to give a 'hedge' of a foot or two in height along the top of the wall. The wall is east facing and shady in places in our garden, but once it reaches the top of the wall the greenery would receive full sun from the south-west. An evergreen would be best, and we wondered if camellias would be suitable. We would be prepared to spend a bit to buy large plants to get the desired affect sooner.



Not camellias - they should not be planted in an east facing aspect if they would receive any early morning sun as this damages buds with frost on them as it melts the ice too quickly. Also I don';t think they would be very successful cut back close to the trunk as you would lose all the flowers.
Still thinking about what to suggest instead.

17 Dec, 2012


I agree with Steragram, Camelia unsuitable. I am still thinking about a suitable answer...

If you can get a ready-trained Magnolia grandiflora, then all would be well.. :)

I will have another think.

18 Dec, 2012


I have a wonderful evergreen -' Chinese Privet' - Ligustrum lucidum 'Tricolor'. It's prettily variegated, and has white flowers in summer. Have a look at that - it does grow to a good height with the form you describe. Not a common one, we found it at a specialist Nursery. I could give you their details if you were interested, as they do mail order.

18 Dec, 2012


Thanks for the quick replies, Spritzhenry, Fractal Cat and Steragram. I am now wondering whether to plant just one bush/tree where we are most overlooked. Something that we can allow to grow in width but keep a check on its height, again with little growth on the trunk. Ideally something with a reasonably attractive appearance - not bothered about flowers particularly but evergreen would be good. I will have a look at the Chinese Privet and Magnolia.

18 Dec, 2012


A Bamboo in a large trough or large pot will quickly cover and screen out your problem. You can buy mature Bamboo at 8ft tall now at half price.

18 Dec, 2012


I read your question and think that camelia japonica is not a bad choice in your case. Like others suggested ..... you might loose the flowers to frost (because of its location )but seems like you do not care for flowers anyway and it is a lovely (symetrical) tree. Who knows, it might even reward you with flowers here and there. There are not very many evegreen trees if you exclude conifers and hollies.
Aucuba japonica is attractive evegreen shrub which grows up to 8-10 feet. but it might not be high enough for your purpose.

19 Dec, 2012


There's also Eleagnus. They come in beautiful variegations - I haven't got my books to hand, but the one I have is like a patch of sunshine. I've also got a variegated Viburnum tinus which does flower.

Ah - I'll check on my 'garden page' and edit this comment with the full name of the Eleagnus.

I had to google it, as I haven't got it on my list, but it's Eleagnus pungens 'Maculata'.

20 Dec, 2012


I googled the Elaeagnus pungens 'Maculata' becouse I do not have that plant and it is very attractive shrub (or small tree) Seems like a perfect plant for a darker corner.Thanks for mentioning it Spritzhenry.

20 Dec, 2012


Thank you all for your further suggestions and comments which I will look up and mull over. The position of the main screening plant is not particulary shady but I would like a plant that will tolerate having its shape managed and will look atractive without the constant work needed everytime we took our eye off the privet hedge.

20 Dec, 2012


Then the Eleagnus would be perfect! :-))

21 Dec, 2012


Yes agree also lonicera nitida baggasons gold can be used for topiary grows quick looks great.

22 Dec, 2012


I have been looking to see if we can buy mature plants of some of your suggestions. For Elaeagnus Pungens " Maculata" I've found somewhere that imports half standards from Italy, obviously expensive, but we would consider one if we are sure it's the one for us. Otherwise in the UK I can only seem to find mature Elaeagnus Ebbingei "Gilt Edge". Would this be a suitable substitute?

23 Dec, 2012


A good choice elaeagnus, just be aware though over time they can start to revert, but if you cut the reverted shoots back to sauce then you will keep the lovely varigated affect with those lovely leaf margins.

24 Dec, 2012


Yes, 'Gilt Edge' would be fine, Emsie. :-)

30 Dec, 2012


Thanks again, everyone, for helping us to focus our attention and home in on a suitable plant. Spritzhenry, thanks for that confirmation. We will be going to look at the nursery near Enfield that apparently specialises in mature plants. A Happy Growing New Year :-)

30 Dec, 2012


Hello to all the people who were kind enough to offer tips for our original question over 2 years ago. In the end we went for 4 standard Cotoneasters and have been pleased with the result. I have posted a couple of photo's if anyone is interested although I'm not sure how to link them. They are tagged as Cotoneaster standard Emsie.

11 May, 2015


Had a look - yes, very nice. I've seen these used as street trees - they can get quite large. Very attractive.

11 May, 2015

How do I say thanks?

Answer question


Not found an answer?