Wednesday, 25 April 2012

When is a Shrub not a Shrub

I have an area in the garden that I refer to as a shrubbery. In my mind, shrubs are the backbone of the garden.  They give height to the borders - something to plant against and inbetween.  An all year round display of foliage, flowers and branches.  But I got to thinking - what is the difference between a shrub and a bush?  The definition of a bush is a group of small trees, small enough to touch the soil - while a shrub is a bit taller than a bush!!!

Another definition is a little woody plant, similar to a tree, but smaller. 


Berberis Shrub
 Bushes are almost always seen in the wild, whilst a shrub is pruned and taken care of.

Mahonia shrub
 Most often shrubs have denser undergrowth and may have many stems coming out from its base.  A bush is a thicket of small trees.

Generally bush is the technical name for a shrub.  All these definitions of the difference between shrub and bush are conflicting in my eyes - isn't it the case that they are exactly the same but for domestic gardens we call them shrubs.  But then again, we wouldn't call a Lilac a shrub - we say, Lilac bush, Rose bush  and Butterfly Bush. Confused !- so am I.

Lilac Bush
The Berberis and Mahonia are in full flower in the garden at the moment, the Lilac is not far off.
What shrubs/bushes are flowering in your garden ?

7 comments:

  1. not many unless you include all the fruit trees, many of which I grow as bushes. Most noticeable is a miniature Rhododendron, and also a white Camellia.

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  2. I never know what to call them either. LOL! I guess my Rhododendrons are bushes since they hit the ground but I call them shrubs. I have lilac bushes which are shrubs. I am so confused. LOL!

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  3. No matter the label, they're all beautiful.

    We have Hydrangea quercifolia in bloom, some tall enough to be trees, and tiny suckering bushes underneath.

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  4. We have several shrubs about to flower but not quite there yet! Pineapple broom is almost ready, so too my ceanothus and a couple of roses have buds on.

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  5. I'm really confused now. And just to confuse things even more, what's the difference between a rose bush and a shrub rose ?

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  6. Nothing like being confused is there, which I certainly am!
    I've got a couple of rose bushes on the plot, but nothing that I'd call a shrub. Flighty xx

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  7. That always confounded me too. We usually say shrub, I guess like you said, they are those cared for. But it gets confusing when garden plants are referred to as shrubs or bushes, like you mentioned.

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