Home Making

Evergreen Shrubs and Climbers For Gardens

In this post, first: evergreens that are well known to most gardeners – a few of them, for some reason or other, are not grown much nowadays; and second: those that are decidedly rare. (The evergreen climbers come last, since as I’ve already said, there are so few which are genuinely hardy and therefore suitable for the average garden.)

Aucuba japonica, sometimes called the Spotted Laurel, or the Variegated Laurel, was at one time perhaps the most common of all our evergreen shrubs. I know at least a dozen gardens in this district where it is growing and flourishing and the shrubs must have been planted many years ago. Nobody grows it now. And in the past it was always treated as a sort of filling-up plant: grown in front of an ugly coal-shed or some unsightly object. Even in the old days nobody took much notice of it.

It is as easy to grow as the Holly-leaf Mahonia . It succeeds in shade, under trees (and in the drip of trees), where the ground is rooty and the soil thin; but the soil should not be quite impoverished; new, young plants must be started off in some good garden loam – once established, they will soon go ahead, and will tolerate dryness at the roots. (If this Aucuba bore flowers of any note – they are quite inconspicuous – I’d put the shrub in garden value before the Mahonia.)

Height of the shrub: 6 to 10 feet. Large leaves glossy green; spotted yellow in the female form; deep green in the male.

The first Aucuba grown in this country (in 1783) was the variety called maculata (blotched) – a female, variegated or spotted form which did not flower till the introduction of a male plant some 60 years later. Now both types of the slirub and many attractive forms are available. Usually in large gardens one male-flowered shrub was planted among every six females; this ensured a good show of red berries.

Some of the best forms are Var. variegata (maculata), the common variegated female form.

Var. crassifolia; one of the finest male plants, with thick, broad, deep green leaves.

Var. longifolia, with bright green long, narrow leaves -excellent for semi-tropical effects, a good plant to grow with some of the Bamboos; male and female forms are obtainable; the latter carry excellent crops of berries.

Var. pigturata; beautifully variegated, the leaves splashed with gold.

The varieties are easily raised by cuttings. Terminal shoots inserted in sandy soil will soon root, especially if given a gentle bottom heat.

The type plant may be raised by seed sown in autumn. But first the berries must be cleared of the outer pulp.

Aucuba japonica is a native of Japan and during Victorian times seems to have been very widely grown; and as a pot-plant it rivalled the Aspidistra, and did as well indoors as out in the open.

Box (Buxus) is one of the easiest of all evergreens to grow and next to the Yew perhaps the neatest and tidiest-looking of the small-leaved kinds.

It has no floral beauty (the flowers are small and dingy); and it is primarily as a foliage shrub that we value it. It is excellent for topiary-work and topiary-hedges. At Cliveden Box is used as an edging to geometrically-shaped bed on the parterre , which years ago were filled with masses of deep mauve Cat Mint (Nepeta).

The Common Box or Tree Box is Buxus sempervirens (meaning always or ever green) and will grow in any ordinary soil and flourishes on chalk and on hilly ground. It succeeds in sun or shade and is as accommodating as the Holly-leaf Mahonia (M. aguifolium). In time, if left unpruncd, it will reach a height of 30 feet and make a good, though not a particularly striking evergreen tree; some of the garden varieties with larger leaves, or of weeping habit are better.

Normally it is kept to a bush about 6 feet high, and that is how we see it in most gardens. The tiny Box edgings are not so popular nowadays; probably the constant clipping required to keep the edging neat and tidy takes up too much time. However, the variety chosen for this ornamental edging is mostly the dwarf Var. suffruticosa (meaning low and shrubby at the base). It seems to benefit by being clipped continually; it can be kept down permanently to 9 inches or less. Propagation is by cuttings or by division. Var. pendula is a charming weeping tree and Var. aurea pendula is the Golden Weeping Box. One of the best large-leaved forms is Var. latifolia MACULATA.

Buxus sempervirens is a native of Europe, North Africa and West Asia; but it is doubtful whether it occurs in Britain.

Buxus wallichiana is a native of the north-western Himalaya, where it attains tree-like size. In our gardens it seldom reaches more than 8 feet in height, and is best suited to places like Cornwall, Devonshire and the Isle of Wight. It has larger leaves than the other kinds of Box, some measuring 2 inches in length.

This species is a very slow grower and provides a superior dense, hard wood almost as close and heavy as ebony. It is, or was, in great demand by the wood carver.

Ceanothus are well known for their blue flowers and the hybrid gloire de Versailles is probably the best known. The evergreen species and varieties are not so often seen perhaps; but their flowers are equally lovely and as true a blue as those of the deciduous hybrids. Pure blue or true blue is rare in shrubs and trees. The Rhododendron species R. augustinii is one of the bluest of the hardy evergreens we grow, though the colour is not a pure blue: not as genuinely blue as most of the Ceanothus flowers.

Ceanothus are natives of North America, particularly of the coastal regions of California, where they often attain to the size of large trees. In cultivation they are much smaller and in many of our gardens usually shrub-like.

Ceanothus thyrsiflorus is the hardiest and one of the choicest of the species. It is called the Californian Lilac. The name is commonly used for the Ceanothusi the reason being no doubt that the flowers come in panicles, Lilac-shaped in many of the plants, but smaller and usually scentless.

This species is tree-like in its habitat, the Santa Cruz Mountains of California, where it reaches a height of 40 feet tree up to about 30 feet high and in the north is a charming blue-flowered shrub for growing up a wall.

The flowers are a delightful shade of pale blue and come in clusters or panicles 1 to 3 inches long; these are surmounted by the growing leafy shoots of the current season. The leaves are small and a deep glossy green.

When in full bloom C. thyrsiflorus is one of the loveliest of the few blue-flowered evergreen shrubs available for our gardens. It is at its best in May. This species may be taken as representative of the early blooming Ceanolhus (some bloom in late summer and autumn).

The early blooming kinds are pruned immediately they have finished flowering; they flower on the growths made the preceding year.

Shrubs planted in the open garden just need their longest growths topping to keep the plants tidy. On walls, harder pruning is necessary to keep them in shape: the side shoots of the past summer’s growth are cut back to 3 or 4 buds of the base (thyrsijlorus = a thyrse, which is a kind of dense panicle like that of the Lilac).

C. X burkwoodii is a hybrid from C. Jloribundus X C. Var. indigo) . This is a late flowerer, blooming from July to October and it and other late-blooming kinds are pruned in March. They flower on shoots made during the current year. In pruning these Ceanothus, the thin weak shoots are cut out; and the strong shoots made the preceding summer are cut back to about half their length.

The flowers of C. X burkwoodii are a rich bright blue and come in small panicles about 2 ½ inches long. The leaves are oval in shape, a shining green above and greyish and downy beneath – the largest about ½ inches long. This charming evergreen makes a fine leafy bush about 5 feet high.

The plant was raised at the Burkwood and Skipworth Nursery, Kingston-on-Thames. It likes full sun, and is perfectly hardy. I have seen it in gardens near London, growing both in the open and against a wall. c. x autumn blue is another hybrid raised by the same firm; the leaves are larger than those of C. X burkwoodii, and more glossy green; the flower trusses are larger and of a paler blue shade. (A.M. 1929.)

Both shrubs are excellent on walls in colder districts.

C. papillosus (the leaves have wart-like growths: papillae). A tender species discovered by David Douglas in 1833 in California. A lovely blue evergreen shrub, which is at its best in early summer; the deep blue flowers stand out well against the shining green leaves, and the blue and the green are admirably displayed on a wall, where the shrub will reach a height of 12 feet or more. Wall protection is certainly necessary in most inland gardens. The finest specimens I have seen were in gardens in the Isle of Wight.

C. rigidus is also one of the tender species, perhaps the most tender and perhaps the most beautiful of the evergreen kinds. It is best treated as a wall shrub; a wall facing west or southwest preferably, and there it will reach a height of 10 feet or more. It has stiff, downy branches covered with closely-packed small leaves ½ inch long), dark glossy green above and greyish and downy beneath. The dark purplish-blue flowers, crowded together on long shoots, are at their best in May.

The shrub is really too tender even for walls in the London area, and needs the warm climate of Cornwall or the Isle of Wight, if it is to survive.

Like various kinds of Ceanothus, the plant is not long-lived; it is wise therefore to take cuttings and have a supply of young plants for stock.

The species is a native of the coastal regions of Central and Southern California and of Monterey; it was introduced into Britain in 1847.

The white- and the pink-flowered Ceanothus are less popular with shrub-lovers and not so frequently seen in our gardens.

C. incanus is a thorny spreading shrub with creamy-white flowers which come in late spring.

Ceanothus need loamy, well-drained soils containing peat or leaf-mould; most gardeners who grow them state ‘Soil: light and ordinary.’

Cuttings are taken during July and August and put in sandy soil in gentle heat. Most of the Ceanothus are obtainable from nurseries.

Choisya ternata (having 3 parts, referring to the 3 leaflets of the compound leaf). This is the Mexican Orange Blossom, a fragrant, white-flowered shrub, which sometimes blooms in December during a mild spell. Normally it blooms in April and May. The leaflets are ovalish, about 1 ½ to 3 inches long, and of a cool, pleasant green colour. The flowers (rather like those of the Orange tree) smell faintly of Hawthorne and are much appreciated when they bloom near the house; and often one finds this evergreen planted near a wall, under a window. Yet it is perfectly hardy (except in cold northern districts, where it needs a wall); it is one of the few Mexican shrubs that flourish in gardens near London.

Cistus, Rock-roses, are well known to most people in the south of England. In the north they are seldom if ever seen; one or perhaps two might survive the cold there: Cistus lauri-folius and C. corbariensis are the hardiest and could be tried in a reasonably sheltered spot. However, the bush Rock-roses are essentially shrubs for the warm south where they are very popular with gardeners. C. X purpureus is one of the most striking of all flowering evergreen shrubs and easiest to grow – in the right district and the right place.

The plant grows quickly then into a rounded bush about 3 feet high, with sticky dull green narrow leaves (2 inches long), which in the flowering period, from noon till evening are almost hidden by the open single rose-like blooms (3 inches across) of a rose-red colour and blotched with deep crimson. The ‘rock-roses’ are probably the most evanescent of all flowers, but new buds open successively every day over a period of several weeks and provide a continuous show.

The plant is considered to be a hybrid between C. villosus and C. ladaniferous or a form of this species, with a deep red blotch at the base of the petals. Both species are natives of the Mediterranean region.

I have grown C. X purpureus in my garden but it never lives more than a couple of years: it quickly succumbs to frost. It is a wise precaution to take cuttings every August of your plant (wherever you live) so that you can always have a supply of new plants – in fact with C. Xpurpureus it is essential. (Choose unflowered shoots 4 inches long with a heel, and insert them in sandy soil in pots and keep them under glass, well-shaded from the sun, till they root. Plant them out the following June.)

C. X corbariensis. This hybrid, like many hybrids, is hardier than the parent plants; it is probably the hardiest of all the Cistus tribe. The flowers are white and small (1 ½ inches across), pink-tinted in the bud, the petals stained yellow at the base. The shrub is about 3 feet high and, like all the Cistus, revels in hot dry sandy soils and full sun. It is completely hardy but often doesn’t live long in rich ground.

C. X cyprius is another hardy hybrid; it is said to have originated in Cyprus, and is a tall shrub, up to about 8 feet high in the south; completely hardy in our gardens and, according to Bean: ‘The most beautiful of all the Cistuses we can grow out-of-doors.’

The flowers, carried in clusters of from 3 to 6 on a long stalk, are 3 inches across, white with a conspicuous crimson spot at the base of each petal.

The hardiest of all these lovely evergreen shrubs is C. lauri-folius, which is a native of South-west Europe and the Mediterranean region. The leaves are dark green, and the flowers 3 inches across and pure white. They are at their best in mid-summer. The shrub (about 6 feet tall) is used for covering hot dry slopes, where few other evergreens would grow. The stems and the leaves during hot weather give off a pleasant incense-like smell.

A dwarf Cistus, excellent for massing in a large garden, or for growing as a single shrub in a rockery, is C. X loreti. (In many catalogues it will be found under the name of C. lusitanicus; of which species it is a variety or form; it was found growing wild in the south of France and given the hybrid name by Rouy and Foucaud in their flore de France).

It is a bush about 18 inches tall; its leaves are narrow, a dull dark green; its flowers white with a crimson blotch. The plant is hardy enough for any gardens around London.

Most of the Cistus have white flowers and are less liked by gardeners than the reddish-purple, or pink kinds. Unfortunately there are only a few of these: C. Xpurpureus, the best of them, is decidedly tender.

C. X pulverulentus has vivid rose-pink flowers and greyish-green hairy leaves. It makes a compact shrub about 3 feet high; it needs a hot sunny position and is no good in many gardens. (Cuttings should be taken every summer so that a stock is always available; keep the new plants in 5-inch pots and sink these in the garden during the summer, if you do not plant them out.) (pulverulentus means as though dusted with powder and probably refers to the hairiness of the leaves.)

C. X Silver Pink was raised in Hillier’s Nursery at Winchester, Hants., and is the hardiest of the pink or so-called red Cistus. The flowers are a good clear silvery-pink and stand out well against the dark green leaves; they are a grey-green beneath; narrow, about 3 inches long. The plant makes a neat bushy shrub about 2 feet high. It received an A.M. In 1919.

C. X skanbergii. This is a rare natural hybrid found wild in Greece; it has small pale pink flowers and attractive dark green foliage. The plant is about the same height as C. X Silver Pink.

A red Cistus recommended by many growers is the species C. crispus, a native of South-west Europe and North Africa, and regarded as one of the hardiest. Actually it is only moderately hardy but it is certainly worth a trial in a sheltered spot for the sake of the purple-red flowers – these are about 1 ½ inches across. Cuttings should be taken in July.

Cistus should be planted while the soil is still summer warm: September is ideal; if not then, they should be put out in late May. Once the shrubs are established, they cannot be transplanted.

Elaeagnus contain several evergreen shrubs which prosper in any inland gardens and like the deciduous members of the family do best in ordinary garden soils which are not too rich in humus. They are perfectly hardy and good wind resisters. They haven’t much floral beauty; the flowers are small and white or silvery-white, funnel-shaped (Fuchsialike), and fragrant.

Elaeagnus glabra (smooth, hairless) is sometimes trained up a wall and then grows very tall. We mostly grow it as a shrub in the open garden, however, and in time it makes a tallish, rambling plant (10 feet or more high), with narrowish leaves (the underside smooth, with a metallic sheen) and small fragrant flowers which come in late autumn. The species is a native of China and Japan.

E. macrophylla (large – or broad-leaved). This is one of the finest of the evergreen species, having ovalish leaves, the largest 4 ½ inches long, of a delightful silvery colour in their young state. The flowers, like a Fuchsia, are fragrant and come in late autumn, at a time when there are few others to be seen. It makes a good-sized shrub up to 12 feet tall and is usually wider than that.

The plant was introduced into England in 1879 and is a native of Japan and Korea.

E. pungens (ending in a sharp point; probably referring to the spiny character of the plant). This is another tallish species, up to 15 feet in height; a vigorous shrub, with ovalish leaves and small fragrant white flowers in autumn; the scent is faintly reminiscent of the exotic Gardenia.

The plant has produced several most attractive varieties, viz.

Var. dicksoni, with leaves marked with golden-yellow. A very attractive foliage shrub in winter.

Var. reflexa (considered to be a hybrid between E. glabra and E. pungens). It has long branches only slightly spiny; and leaves, shining green above and reddish-brown and scaly beneath. Var. aureo-variegata is a special favourite with gardeners and has large leaves with a big patch of deep yellow in the centre. This variety is most decorative in the winter and vies with any of the variegated evergreens we grow.

Elaeagnus are sometimes called Oleasters or Wild Olives; though at one time the name Oleaster was reserved for the deciduous species E. angustifolia.

Elaeagnus can be obtained from any good nursery. Var.

Escallonia, with the exception of one species, are all evergreen, and are very well known to most gardeners in the south of England. In many public gardens along the south coast you will see these evergreen shrubs in bloom during late summer and the autumn and often associated with the hardy Fuc/isia magellanica Var. riccartonii. Escallonia are quoted in the O.E.D. Viz. ‘Looking out on a summer sea from terraces lined with Laurel, fuchsia and escallonia.’

These shrubs do best near the sea and are much less common farther north; there they are grown against a wall to shelter them during severe frosty spells.

Most of them are from Chile and the hot regions of South America and in England need the warm sea air during the bad winter weather. They thrive in any ordinary loamy soil and are easy to propagate. (Cuttings taken in August root quickly in a closed frame.)

Escallonia cross-breed easily and have produced some fine hybrid forms which on the whole are hardier and more vigorous than the parent plants.

The ‘Donard Hybrids’ from Go. Down are the best I’ve seen. Donard brilliance has racemes or clusters of rich rose-red flowers and arching branches – a good specimen shrub for a warm sunny place. Donard gem is a pink-flowered sweetly scented variety and likewise an excellent specimen shrub for a warm garden.

Escallonia stand up well to wind in coastal districts and some make good hedges or screens up to 6 feet or more in height.

E. macrantha, from the island of Ghiloe (off the coast of Chile) is the species usually favoured by gardeners for hedges. Its leaves, ovalish (the largest 3 inches long), are toothed and of an attractive dark, shining green. The flowers, which begin blooming in June and continue till autumn, are a charming bright rose-red and about 1 inch long. They come in panicles, usually 2 to 4 inches long.

The handsomest of all the species is E. montevidensis, found in South Brazil and near Mount Video in Uruguay. It needs wall protection in Britain unless it grows in a warm seaside garden. The flowers, pure white and fragrant, come in long terminal panicles or clusters in summer and autumn. The leaves, small and ovalish in shape, are of a bright green colour. This shrub sometimes reaches a height of 10 feet on a wall; in its habitat it is much bigger and becomes tree-like.

The hybrid E. X exoniensis (E. pterocladon X E. rubra) was raised in the nursery of Messrs. Veitch in Exeter and has white or rose-tinted flowers, which bloom from June to October. It is a vigorous shrub reaching a height of 12 feet or more. It was given an A.M. In 1891 and is the best Escallonia for gardens near London.

Hypericum calycinum, the Rose of Sharon is a sub-shrub or under shrub – a plant woody except at the tips of the branches, which die back in the winter. In some districts it remains green all through the year. It is a dwarf shrubby plant known to everybody, a rampant spreader, which used to be grown in many gardens where there was room for it. It quickly overruns everything (rather difficult to eradicate, once it gets a hold), and for that reason perhaps is not often grown nowadays. The lovely open yellow flowers, full of stamens, are well known. The plant will grow practically anywhere: in sun or shade; it thrives under trees and in the large wild garden could be associated with the Holly-leaf Mahonia. The name calycinum means having a conspicuous calyx – this is the outer whorl of floral leaves, those surrounding the flower, and usually green in colour.

Kalmia latijolia (broad leaf). This evergreen shrub is sometimes vaguely described as ‘a good substitute for a Rhododendron? This could mean that it would grow where a Rhododendron would be a failure. This particular Kalmia is well known and the most popular of the half a dozen or so species obtainable. But it is not at all amenable to general cultivation and is possibly quite rare in our gardens. Which is a pity, since it is as lovely as any of the small-flowered Rhododendrons we grow. The astonishing thing to many gardeners is that the shrub is found wild anywhere – it looks so much a product of the nurseries. Its clusters of small deep rose-pink flowers stand out well against the leathery, deep glossy green leaves, which are quite small. In gardens it usually reaches a height of 5 feet – often less in many gardens. In its habitat (Eastern North America), though, some shrubs are as much as 30 feet tall. Although this Kalmia is so well known and so widely advertised, it is among the most intractable of flowering shrubs. It must have a lime-free, peaty soil, and never be without moisture; it prospers only in warm southern gardens (farther north it doesn’t give much of a show); like the following species of Lonicera, it makes a good sea-side shrub. One of the popular names of Kalmia latifolia is the Mountain Laurel; another the Calico Bush.

Lonicera nitida is a very ordinary-looking shrub, though more interesting than the Privet, the foliage being neater and daintier. Like the Privet, it is used for hedging and has become one of the most popular of hedging plants. It responds well to clipping and grows quickly. The shrub is very well known and widely planted. It grows stronger and better, however, in the warmest parts of Britain. One never associates it with the Honeysuckle family (Lonicera), and its flowers are very small, creamy-white, slightly fragrant, and not often seen on the plants when they are regularly pruned back. It thrives in any ordinary loam, and occasionally in sea-side gardens will be seen growing as a single specimen shrub, sometimes 10 feet tall or taller.

Rosemary, like Lavender (to which it is related) and Lavender Cotton (Santolina), is one of our old-world garden plants – introduced here, it is said, about the same time as these plants, which was the middle of the 16th century. It is less hardy than they, and does best in the south. Old plants are specially vulnerable, the young ones seemingly tolerating several degrees of frost.

In the south it makes a charming low evergreen hedge, although rather untidy, and in May is, in a sunny place, covered with uncommonly beautiful steel-blue flowers.

The Common Rosemary {Rosmarinus officinalis) is easily raised by cuttings. The plant needs a lightish loamy soil, well drained, and is a failure in heavy clay, which is always cold and damp through the winter weather.

Pruning and shaping should be done immediately the shrubs have finished flowering, so that the new shoots can grow strong and tall before the autumn.

The leaves, linear (narrow like the’Yew leaf), have a smell reminiscent of nutmeg; they are used to flavour meat (mutton especially); and probably no other shrub we grow has so many uses, culinary and medicinal – it would need a book to enumerate and describe adequately all its virtues. It is well named officinalis, which means ‘sold in shops:’ used of medicinal and other plants.

Rosemary and its varieties are seldom planted in our gardens nowadays. There is a curiously attractive variety called Var. albus, which I have never seen grown in gardens in this country but it is common in Italy.

Plant Rosemary in May when possible or in September, when the soil is warm.

Veronica, like Escallonia, are best suited to our warm sea-side gardens and live longer and flower most profusely in southern maritime districts. The shrubs are common enough there and will be found in many parts of the country. They thrive in any good ordinary light loamy soil.

Where you can grow Ceanothus successfully, you will also succeed with the best of the Veronica – the generic name Hebe by the way is used in some catalogues, Veronica being reserved for the herbaceous kinds.

The shrubs are natives of New Zealand, and the hardiest of the species and the hybrid forms are quite suitable for growing in many of our inland gardens.

Veronica anomala is one of the hardiest and most successful. It makes a fairly erect bush from 3 to 5 feet tall, with white or pale pink flowers which come in a cluster of spikes at the end of the shoots during the summer. The leaves are ovalish and pointed, about 1 inch long and a dark shining green colour.

As this species is inclined to become lanky with age, gardeners who grow it take cuttings every so often to provide them with fresh stock. Young-wood shoots are best and should be taken in summer.

Another hardy species is Veronica brachysiphon introduced from New Zealand in 1868. It is a July bloomer and charming when covered with its small white flowers. When fully grown, it is a wide spreading rounded bush of dense habit, 6 feet or more high. The leaves are a dark dull green, small and densely arranged in 4 even rows up the stems.

This is one of the most attractive of all the hardy Veronicas, and is often planted as an isolated specimen on a lawn. No better place could be found for it. Its rounded shape and masses of flowers are seen to best advantage there.

V. darwiniana. This species is known as Darwin’s Speedwell (Speedwell being the popular name of the plants). It makes a neat shrub up to 3 feet high covered with white flowers; the leaves are narrowly lance-shaped and of an attractive glaucous-blue colour. The plant is a native of both the main islands of New Zealand, where it grows taller and bigger than it does in our gardens. It is one of the hardiest.

V. speciosa (beautiful; showy) has been called the loveliest of all the Veronicas. It is found wild in the North Island of New Zealand, but it is doubtful whether the shrub is now in cultivation anywhere. Botanists seem to think not. It is a spreading shrub up to 5 feet high, with glossy green leaves, ovalish, 2 to 4 inches long and racemes of reddish-purple flowers, which make it the showiest of all the Veronicas.

The species has been crossed with others and produced some magnificent garden varieties which flourish in our warmest southern gardens. These shrubs are the brightest-coloured of all the Veronicas found in Britain; and the one called Var. autumn glory is the best known and much hardier than the others. It is 2 to 3 feet high and carries masses of deep violet-blue flowers in short racemes all through the late summer and autumn, in fact until the frosts come. It is well worth planting for a late show of flowers.

V. elliptica is the best known and most widely planted of the shrub Veronicas in our coastal gardens. (A native of New Zealand, Chile, Tierra del Fuego and the Falkland Islands; first introduced as long ago as 1776; then it was re-introduced by Mr. Clarence Elliott in 1909.) It is a favourite shrub with gardeners in the south for hedging. Occasionally you will see it grown as a specimen shrub or tree, up to 20 feet tall; more often it is a shrub from 3 to 5 feet, and singularly attractive when in full bloom. The flowers are white, fragrant and the largest of those of the shrubby species. The leaves are oval, about 1 inch long and ½ inch wide. The plant is easily increased by young wood cuttings (the cheapest way of obtaining a good quantity for hedges).

Yucca are described as evergreen trees and shrubs, natives of the Southern United States, Mexico, and Central America. Some, like Yucca glauca, are very hardy but need a warm sunny climate if they are to give a good show of flowers. They are ideal plants for the semi-tropical garden and best suited to wide spaces and large borders. They look out of place in a small garden. Yuccas are well known to most gardeners but not widely grown in this country.

Y.jilamentosa (thread-like, referring to the curly, thread-like filaments on the margins of the leaves). This is one of the dwarfer species; it has erect panicles of yellowish-white, pendulous lily-like flowers in August; the panicles are usually 3 to 6 feet high. The leaves are characteristic of the Yucca, tropical-looking, long, narrow, stiff and sometimes spine-tipped. A handsome, stately plant for the formal garden.

Y. flaccida (weak, feeble, probably in reference to the leaves, the terminal parts being bent downwards and less sword-like and sharp than many). It is allied to T. Jilamentosa; the chief differences are in the leaves, and the flowers which come in rather shorter panicles. Both species are natives of the southeastern United States.

Y. glauca (having grey or bluish-green leaves). This species has the same habitat as the two above, but it does not flower very freely. The flowers, about 3 inches long, are a greenish-white (not so striking as the pure white) and are carried in erect racemes 3 to 4 feet high.

Y. gloriosa has long been known in our gardens but needs plenty of room to make a good show – a single Yucca anywhere looks odd. Like all the plants, it is best massed; and the best place for them is a sunny border where the soil is a lightish, sandy loam, well drained. (Yucca make a magnificent show when they are interplanted with the contrasting soft, velvety, silver-white foliage-plant, Senecio cineraria, familiarly known as ‘Dusty Miller’.) The name gloriosa means glorious, full of glory, probably referring to the tall spikes of flowers when in bloom. They stand up conspicuously above the clusters of stiff, straight, spine-tipped leaves, which are glaucous green.

Y. recurvifolia (curved backwards, referring to the leaves). This plant often reaches a height of 6 feet in our warm southern counties. The leaves are from 2 to 3 feet long, 1 to 2 inches wide, tapered to a spiny point; the upper ones are stiff and sword-like; the lower ones much recurved. The flowers, creamy-white, 2 to 3 inches wide, lily-like, and pendulous, come in erect panicles 3 to 5 feet tall. A grand, imposing plant which gives an exotic look to gardens where it can be massed.

Most of the Yucca bloom in late summer or early autumn and are valuable ornamentals on that account. Formal bedding-plants such as the Senecio mentioned above are about the best to grow with them.

Y. gloriosa was known in this country in the 16th century and mentioned by Gerard in his Herbal and grown by him in his garden at Holbom.

The common names of the Yucca are Adam’s Needle, Spanish Bayonet and Spanish Dagger.

Abelia floribunda is a good evergreen shrub to start this section with. It is both rare and tender – it is too tender for the open garden in most districts, and even in the south it thrives better and flowers more freely when planted against a wall. Near London it is often very short lived and a failure even when grown on a wall, unless it is given protection through frosty weather. This lovely evergreen (up to 20 feet high on south walls in our warmest maritime counties) has small ovalish glossy green leaves, and charming funnel-shaped, crimson-lake, pendulous flowers in June. The plant has a festive look and is wonderfully decorative grown under glass. It is a native of mountainous regions of the southern Pacific State of Oaxaca in Mexico. It grows there at an altitude of 10,000 feet and makes a shrub from 6 to 10 feet tall.

Acacia dealbata (the Mimosa of the south of France) is too tender for any gardens outside Cornwall or other counties with a similar climate. It is a rare evergreen, and one hardly expects to see it growing anywhere in this country. In Italy and the south of France it is common enough; and at Tresco Abbey in the Scilly Isles as many as 60 species of Acacia are grown and flourish luxuriantly. Acacias need full sun, and do best in peaty loamy soils. About a dozen different kinds are cultivated in our islands – in warm maritime gardens; but they are very rare.

A. baileyana, known as Bailey’s Mimosa, is one of the loveliest of them (it received an A.M. In 1927). It makes a charming small evergreen tree, with vivid bluish-white foliage and a profusion of rich yellow blossom – tiny ball-shaped flowers, 1 inch wide. It is one of the most striking of the Wattles of Australia and prized by growers for its wonderful foliage.

Acradenia frankliniae from Western Tasmania is doubtless known only to a few gardeners. It is usually grown in a cool greenhouse, where it makes an attractive evergreen shrub, with dark green trifoliate leaves and clusters (2 inches across) of white flowers. It needs the warmest of our seaside gardens, if it is to grow well and flower freely. In gardens on the Atlantic seaboard of Southern Ireland it makes a rounded shrub 6 feet or more high. In gardens of the French Riviera it reaches a height of 10 feet or more.

Andromeda poliofolia, known to growers of the shrub as the Bog Rosemary. A dwarf evergreen about 18 inches high, with hard-textured Yew-like leaves and clusters of small bell-shaped, pink flowers, which come in May and later through the summer. It needs a moist, cool, peaty soil. Useless in dry districts, such as the Thames Valley in summer. Made-up beds of peat are not always a success. It is a native of peat bogs in North Europe; and found in Yorkshire and other parts of Britain.

Arbutus andrachne is the Grecian ‘Strawberry Tree’. A native of South-eastern Europe and especially abundant in the Eastern Mediterranean region. In the wild it attains a height of about 40 feet; but in our gardens, where, by the way, it is rarely grown, it is seldom more than a good-sized shrub. It is decidedly on the tender side around London. I like its reddish-brown bark. The ‘strawberry’ fruits are smooth and smaller than those of Arbutus unedo .

A. X andrachnoides (A. andrachne X A. unedo) is a natural hybrid which originated in Greece, where both its parents grow. It is hardier than A. andrachne; similarly its great attraction is its beautiful cinnamon-red bark. The shrub deserves to be much more widely grown. It will thrive where lime is present in the soil, as will the other kinds; they all like a good depth of rich, moist loam.

Arctostaphylos are rarely grown in our gardens. Actually I’ve never seen them outside Botanical collections. They like peaty, lime-free soil, such as Rhododendrons require, and they belong to the Ericaceae Family which includes these shrubs (and Azaleas), Heathers, Andromedas and many peat-loving plants. They need more sun however than Rhododendrons and Azaleas; in fact one of the choicest, A. manzanita, needs full sun and a moist peaty soil; and according to people who grow it, it is among the most intractable of all shrubs – well nigh impossible to establish in most gardens. It is an attractive evergreen but not as showy as the hybrid Rhododendrons and the Camellia varieties. It is a native of California, with ovalish leaves about 3 inches long and 2 inches wide, thick and leathery; and small pink flowers, bell-shaped, which bloom from February to April.

More amenable to cultivation in our gardens is A. uva-ursi (the Red Bcarberry), a native plant from the mountainous parts of northern England and Scotland; it is also found in Central Europe. It is a charming evergreen trailing plant carrying pink flowers in small drooping clusters from April to June. An excellent ground-cover to set among tall Rhododendrons.

The Californian Manzanita seems difficult to get.

Azara are too tender for most of our gardens. A. microphylla is the hardiest; in the warmer south-western regions of these islands it will reach a height of 30 feet or more; and with its small glossy green leaves and frond-like arrangement of the branches, is a fine ornamental evergreen for the open garden or for training against a wall. The small, vanilla-scented flowers, which come in March make the plant doubly valuable at this time of the year. It doesn’t live long unfortunately in the open garden in districts around London.

A. petiolaris is, I think, the most decorative of the half a dozen or so species available; but it is the most tender and only really suitable for cool greenhouse culture outside southwestern counties of England. It has handsome Holly-like leaves and deliciously fragrant yellow flowers in small clusters in spring.

Azara can be bought from most shrub specialists.

Baccharis patagonica is a native of Patogonia where it is known as the Groundsel Tree. It is very rarely seen in our gardens; and is here never much more than a shrub (of open but stiff habit), about 8 feet tall. The small evergreen dark polished leaves are its chief attraction; the flowers, which come in small heads, yellowish-white, are by no means striking. It succeeds in any loamy soil and would be a useful background shrub for some of the smaller hybrid Rhododendrons.

Banksia are tender evergreen shrubs and rarely seen outside a cool greenhouse in this country. They are natives of Australia and known sometimes as the Australian Honeysuckle. B. integrifolia succeeds on warm south walls in districts where the Mimosa thrives; but the few good specimens I have seen have been grown under glass. It is chiefly for its ornamental foliage that the plant is valued – the leaves are leathery, olive-green above and white beneath; the flowers yellow. This evergreen shrub can be got from most shrub specialists.

Beschomeria yuccoides is a Yucca-like plant from Mexico, and outside needs to be grown near a south wall – not too close, however, to spoil the symmetry of its Yucca-like rosette of leaves, 2 feet long, 3 inches wide and sharply pointed. The flower stems reach a height of 4 to 6 feet and carry drooping racemes of green flowers (rather like a Fuchsia’s) with red bracts. The stems are also reddish; and the contrast between the green and the red gives a pleasing effect in summer. The plant is not hardy enough for gardens in the London area.

Bowkeria gerrardiana is one of the few evergreen shrubs from South Africa which can be grown in the open in our southernmost districts. It succeeds and flowers well in the Isle of Wight; but elsewhere needs a cold greenhouse. In August it has large, white Calceolaria-like flowers; very beautiful; these stand out well against the dull green leaves, which are stalkless, on branches or stems covered with fine grey hairs. Where a suitable spot can be found for it, it will make a shrub up to 10 feet high.

Brachyglottis repanda, a shrub or small tree up to 20 feet tall in the North and South Islands of New Zealand. There is flowers in August (in Britain much earlier); it is used in places like Cornwall and South Devon to create tropical effects in large gardens. It is useless in inland districts farther north. A magnificent evergreen foliage-plant (where it can be grown): the large ovalish leaves (the largest 12 inches long), glossy green, tinged with purple above, and white beneath, are very striking. The flower-heads, small and greenish-white, are fragrant and come in panicles as much as a foot long. But it is as a foliage-shrub that it is prized by gardeners who can grow it.

Bryanthus musciformis is a rare Heather-like shrub, with arger leaves and flowers, however, than those of the Heather. The leaves, linear, ½ inch long, contrast well with the rosy-pink flowers ½ inch wide), which are carried in threes or more on slender, erect stems. It needs lime-free peaty soils, as does some of the Heathers, and would make an interesting prostrate shrublet for the rockery. It is a collector’s plant and a rarity.

Bupleurum fruticosa, a native of Southern Europe and the Mediterranean Region, is grown chiefly for its handsome bluish-green leaves; but it needs a warm maritime district or a garden in the south-west if it is to survive our bad winters. Near London it must have the protection of a wall; at Kew, for instance, it has made a fine shrub, 8 feet or more high, on a wall. The flowers, a pretty shade of yellow, come in terminal clusters 3 inches across, and stand out well against the bluish-green foliage. It blooms from July to September and will be seen in some sea-side gardens, growing high up on cliffs, and in chalky soil, a place for which it is well adapted.

Bursaria spinosa is a native of New South Wales and Tasmania and a tender evergreen shrub 8 feet tall in this country – in places where it can be grown successfully. Warm sea-side gardens in the south are the best. On walls in these places it grows taller and during August it is singularly attractive when covered with its tiny white fragrant flowers. The leaves are small and dainty; some of the branches are spiny; others unarmed. Late in autumn the shrub bears striking pouch-like red fruits.

Calceolaria are best known by the greenhouse and bedding-out kinds, plants which are admired by all. Chiefly for their delightful pouch-like flowers. Calceolaria integrifolia is suitable for gardens in the south-western counties; but elsewhere it must be protected against frost and cold winds. It is best not to attempt to grow it, if you cannot give it a position against a warm south or west wall. It makes an erect bushy plant, 4 feet tall, with sage-like leaves, dull green above and greyish and downy beneath. The flowers, bright yellow, charmingly ‘pouched,’ are about 1 inch wide and are freely borne during the summer months. This beautiful evergreen shrub, a native of Chile, was introduced into Britain in 1822. Most gardeners want to grow it. As well as planting it at the foot of a wall, those who try it, should cover it up with some sort of protective material when the cold weather arrives. It needs a well-drained, lightish loamy soil.

Carpentena californica is a beautiful seaside shrub with pure white fragrant, Anemone-shaped flowers (3 inches wide) and narrow leaves, rich green above and greyish beneath. They are an excellent foil to the flowers, which resemble those of our common Philadelphus (Mock Orange). The shrub is known as the Californian Mock Orange; it is much more striking than our deciduous plant. It needs the protection of a wall in inland gardens and reaches a height of 12 feet or more in favourable districts. Unfortunately it is short-lived in town and city gardens, even in the south; a clear, sunny atmosphere is as important to it as a warm equable climate. It should be planted in May in a well-drained leafy, loamy soil. The shrub does not appear to be very long-lived; it is best raised from seed.

Cassinia fulvida, a shrub I have grown here in Bucks., for many years, is not listed in any current catalogues I possess. It isn’t seen in many gardens; but it is completely hardy and although the flowers are dull, untidy-looking, unattractive, the foliage, golden coloured, is very beautiful, especially in spring. It is essentially a foliage-plant; the flowers are worthless. The shrub is a native of New Zealand, where it is known as the Golden Heather; and in our gardens usually reaches a height of 3 to 4 feet; it needs a loamy, leafy soil and shelter from cold winds. The very small leaves, crowded on the slender stems, are green above and golden-yellow beneath. The plant is at its best in early spring, when the new golden-yellow shoots appear.

Cassiope are dwarf shrubs which belong to the Ericaceae family and revel in cool, moist, peaty soils. They have Heatherlike leaves and flowers. Whereas most of the evergreens I have described in this Section need a warm, sunny, sheltered situation in a southern garden, Cassiope need just the opposite -a cold, moist place, such as they would get in a high mountainous region, where they would lie under snow all the winter. They probably do better in Iceland than in England. I don’t know of any gardens around London where they are a success. One of the loveliest is Cassiope lycopodioides from the mountains of Japan. It is best in a bed of cool peat in a place facing north, where the sun doesn’t come till late evening. It has dense, prostrate overlapping stems which ultimately form a mat-like plant 2 to 3 feet wide; the white Lily-of-the valley-like flowers come in May and June.

Cassiope tetragona (sometimes called Andromeda). This species from the cold arctic regions makes a dwarf evergreen shrublet 4 to 10 inches high, with tiny leaves and flowers similar to those of the above species but the flowers are tinged with red and lovely in April and May against the deep green foliage.

Cornus (Dogwoods) are common enough; but the evergreen species C. oblonga is very rarely seen in our gardens. (Apart from this species and C. capitata – sometimes semi-evergreen – , the species listed in catalogues are all leaf-shedding kinds.) Marchant describes C. oblonga, a native of Northern India and China, as ‘An exceedingly rare and attractive evergreen growing 8 feet or more high, for gardens in the south and west . . . ‘ In its habitat it makes a fine shrub or small tree up to 20 feet tall; in cultivation it is about half that size. The leaves are ovalish, the largest 5 inches long, a dark glossy green above and greyish beneath. The flowers, delightfully fragrant, and creamy-white, come in panicles at the end of the stems. It is a lovely evergreen shrub but not worth troubling with in our inland gardens. Nor is the other, C. capitata, which is sometimes semi-evergreen. Of the two, C. capitata, I think, is the finer. It is also a native of Northern India and China. There it is a bushy shrub 40 feet high and often twice as much in width.

The best places for it in these islands are the warm gardens of Cornwall and those on the Atlantic seaboard of south-west Ireland. There in June large specimens will be seen covered with glorious pale yellow flowers (really bracts, 2 inches long and an inch wide, which surround the tiny, genuine flowers). The leaves, evergreen in warm districts, are leathery, ovalish, the largest 5 inches long, and of an attractive dull grey-green colour.

Many of the evergreens described in this section are natives of New Zealand. Corokia belong there and are moderately-tall shrubs suitable only for our warm south-western counties -with the possible exception of C. virgata, which catalogues describe as ‘hardy’. Marchant says: ‘This very hardy shrub has twiggy branches, and is of graceful habit . . . ‘ It was given an A.M. In 1934; it is not very hardy in gardens near London; for it mostly disappears during a severe winter, its slender twigs being cut to the ground. They shoot up again in the following spring, however; but the shrub is really safer against a warm south wall in this district and certainly in gardens farther north. It is the most floriferous and the freest berrying of the few species known. The flowers are yellow, small and star-shaped (in May); and the berries bright orange in autumn.

The best known is C. cotoneaster, called the ‘Wire-netting Bush’: the branches, thin and rigid, are tortuous and interlaced, forming almost a net-work of white downy growths, which later, as they age, turn blackish. The roundish, curious, spoon-shaped leaves are small, dark green above and white beneath; the flowers, star-shaped (1 inch across) and bright yellow (May and June blooming); the fruits, red and cherrylike in autumn. The shrub reaches a height of 8 feet in warm districts and is suitable only for a wall in our inland gardens.

Correa are known as the Australian Fuchsias; the flowers are tubular, pendent, about an inch long and scarlet, white, or pale yellow. The shrubs are often grown in a cool greenhouse, where they make charming ornamental plants for the winter.

Correa harrisii succeeds only in warm, sheltered gardens, and grows better and more strongly against a wall. The flowers are a beautiful dark crimson colour.

C. speciosa has roundish leaves and tubular primrose-yellow flowers with green reverse; they bloom for best part of the year, and come more freey when the shrub grows near a south or a west wall; in such a spot it will reach a height of 8 feet or more. Var. pulchella, with palest yellow flowers, is particularly useful in the south, blooming practically all the winter. Correa need a peaty, loamy soil with an admixture of sand.

Cortaderia argentea, the Pampas Grass, is usually classed as an evergreen shrub. It is known to every gardener; but not grown much nowadays. For one thing, it takes up too much room; and during the winter it is often untidy-looking -shabby and something of an eyesore before the new feathery plumes start to grow again. The Pampas Grass likes a lightish ordinary garden loam.

Cyathodes colensoi is another New Zealand evergreen and is apparently quite hardy in most of our gardens. It is rarely seen, however; its blue-green foliage covering the prostrate stems which carry attractive white fruits in autumn make it a fine spreading shrublet for planting with Heathers, Rhododendrons and other peat-loving plants. (A.M. 1962).

C. robusta, a native of the Chatham Islands (New Zealand) is rarer and tender. It is a small erect shrub rather resembling a miniature Pine-tree.

Dacrydium (closely akin to the Yews) occur mostly in Australasia; but some species are found in Chile, Borneo and the Malay Peninsular. They need peaty, loamy soils. Three or four species may be grown in our warmest seaside gardens, where they will make fine evergreen tallish shrubs or small trees. None is hardy enough for inland gardens in this country.

D. bidwillii, from New Zealand, makes a fine evergreen shrub, closely branched, up to 8 feet tall, sometimes taller; depending on the place where it is grown. The leaves on young plants are linear (1 inch long); on old plants scale-like, and closely pressed to the stems, like those of the Cupressus.

The seeds are like those of the Yew – set in a fleshy fruit (but white in colour: not red).

D. franklinii is the Huon Pine of Tasmania, a fine conifer in its natural habitat, where it reaches a height of 100 feet. It has graceful arching branches and attractive Cypress-like foliage.

Danae racemosa (the Alexandrian Laurel) is a native of North Persia and Asia Minor. An excellent shrub for a shady place. The bright green foliage is attractive all through the year; sprays are ideal for cutting and setting among other flowers. It is an elegant small shrub, 2 to 4 feet high, rather Bamboo-like. The flowers are small and greenish-yellow; the berries red and most attractive when borne in quantity. The shrub doesn’t fruit freely in many gardens, however. It needs a moist loamy soil, and a shady spot.

The genus Daphne is represented in the vast majority of our gardens by the deciduous Mezereum or Mezereon, long known and valued in Britain for its richly scented purplish flowers in February. The evergreen kinds are rare and fairly difficult to establish in the average garden. D. cneorum is said to do best in seaside gardens, within reach of the salt air. But if small plants are grown, and put in a permanently moist-leafy loam (they don’t mind lime), they will thrive and flower profusely. The leaves are small, narrow and dark green; and the flowers, rose-red (in terminal clusters or heads), are wonderfully fragrant. They bloom in April and May. This shrub is never more than 12 inches high and is a fine trailing evergreen for the rock-garden. Its habitat is Central and Southern Europe.

D. laureola, the Spurge Laurel, has the same habitat and is also occasionally found in Britain. It makes a bushy shrub up to 4 feet high, and prospers in moist soils on the heavy side, in semi-shade. Its dark green, shining leaves, thick and firm, are its great attraction; the flowers, sometimes fragrant, sometimes scentless, are small and yellowish-green and come in March.

D. odor a is the most fragrant of all the Daphnes and probably for that reason often grown in a pot. The flowers are red-purple and are carried in terminal heads; they bloom in mid-winter. The shrub (4 to 6 feet high) is frequently grown near a window so that the rich scent can be enjoyed at all times. Unfortunately the plant is too tender for most inland gardens.

D. retusa, a native of Western China, is seldom grown. Marchant says of it: ‘This rarity of a difficult genus is one of the easiest to grow.5 It reaches a height of about 18 inches and has stifnsh branches, with small ovalish dark glossy green leaves, and terminal clusters of fragrant rose-purple flowers. (A.M. 1927.) It is hardy but very rare.

Daphniphyllum macropodum is an evergreen shrub 8 to 12 feet high with ovalish, Laurel-like leaves, dark green above and glaucous beneath. Often the leaf-stalks, mid-ribs, and young wood and red, which adds to the beauty of the plant. The flowers, greenish are small and unattractive. It is quite hardy and succeeds in loamy soils; but is rarely seen – possibly because its flowers are so inconspicuous (many shrubs have foliage just as handsome – Rhododendrons, for example -and also masses of lovely flowers). The shrub, a native of Japan, was introduced into Britain as long ago as 1879.

Drimys are akin to the Magnolia and were at one time included in that family. They are hardy near the sea and in sheltered inland gardens; but more difficult to establish than the Magnolia. Drimys winteri and the variety latifolia are the best known and natives of South America. In the southwest of England D. winteri makes a free-growing shrub up to about 20 feet tall, with longish leaves (5 to 10 inches in length), aromatic; and loose clusters of smallish flowers (1 inch wide), ivory-white and fragrant. The shrub resembles a tall evergreen Magnolia.

Var. latifolia has larger leaves and flowers and is a taller-growing shrub – in favourable districts it reaches tree-size. Unfortunately neither is suitable for our gardens inland. Drimys need warm loamy soils and are lime-tolerant.

Embothrium coccineum is the Fire Bush. It has been described by growers as the most gorgeously coloured of all evergreens that flower in Britain. The flattish clusters of Honeysucklelike flowers are a fiery scarlet and come in great profusion during May; the foliage, dark glossy green, is a perfect foil to the brilliant scarlet colour. In places where it will grow, the shrub reaches a height of 30 feet and measures as much across. It is very doubtful whether the plant (a native of Chile) will live anywhere outside the warmest regions of these islands -the finest specimens will be found in south Cornwall and south-west Ireland. It needs deep loamy, lime-free soils.

This gorgeous evergreen unfortunately seldom lives more than 20 years; cuttings are therefore always taken or suckers preserved and rooted in pots to provide new stock.

Empetrum nigrum is a dwarf-growing Heather-like shrub, with spreading, procumbent stems, and small pinkish flowers, which are lovely in March against the dark green foliage. It needs a lime-free soil and is quite hardy but rarely seen in our gardens. The plant is known as the ‘Crowberry.’

Eucryphia flourish best in districts where the finest of our Rhododendrons grow. They like cool, lime-free peaty soils (though one or two species do well on limy ground) and ample moisture. The flowers are white, and in shape rather resemble those of some beautiful white Rose of Sharon (Hypericum). Eucryphia are all very lovely, but too tender for most gardens. The one I know best (of the half a dozen kinds obtainable) is the hybrid E. X nymansay, I have seen it only bush-size; but in warm gardens in the south it grows tall and tree-like. The flowers, pure white, 2 inches wide, open in August and have lovely, conspicuous yellow stamens. The leaves, compound, are a dark glossy green and beautiful all through the year. It is quite hardy and apparently thrives in ordinary loamy soils. It deserves to be more widely grown.

Fabiana imbricata, a Heather-like shrub, from Chile, is a fine evergreen (usually 4 feet or more tall) for a warm seaside garden; but is hardly worth growing in low valley districts, especially near London. It needs winter protection there, and seldom then gives much of a show. The branches are crowded with small twigs which are covered with tiny white tubular flowers in June. The plant does best in a light, leafy, well-drained soil.

Fatsia japonica is often grown in pots for indoor decoration and erroneously called the Castor Oil Plant. It is well known and valued for its large palmate leaves, deeply lobed at the base. Dark shining green above and paler beneath. It seldom survives a winter outside in this part of Bucks., and is best housed from November to April. In the warm south it attains the height of a large shrub (often 10 to 12 feet), and makes a handsome specimen shrub for a semi-shady place. I have not seen the plant in flower; but in some gardens it gives a good show in early autumn; the panicles of creamy-white flowers are from 12 to 18 inches long. This Fatsia is a native of Japan and will thrive in ordinary loamy soils.

Garry a are evergreen shrubs (a few tree-like) which are too tender and scarcely decorative enough for the garden. The only exception is Garrya elliptica, a native of California and Oregon, which however does better in the south than near London. Here it needs a warm sheltered spot, if it is to produce abundantly its clusters of remarkably fine silvery-grey catkins. These are the plant’s chief attraction; they come in late autumn and winter and are doubly welcome at this time of the year. In Cornwall and South Devon the shrub reaches a height of 16 feet and is as much through; the evergreen leaves, ovalish (1 ½ to 3 inches long), are dark shining green above and grey and woolly beneath. The male plant, with finer, longer catkins, is generally considered a better ornamental shrub than the female. Both need a loamy soil on the fight side and full sun. In inland gardens it is best grown near a south wall.

The difficulty of growing Gaultheria is finding a cool semi-shady situation for them. If you have a woodland, you can grow most of those offered by nurseries – unless your garden is in the midlands or farther north, then it will be too cold for these plants. Furthermore they must have a lime-free peaty, loamy soil, such as Rhododendrons and many Heathers need. Gaultheria are not found in many gardens. The best known is G. shallon, a native of western North America, one of the habitats of the genus (other species come from China, the Himalaya, and Australasia). In cultivation it usually forms a dense thicket of stems (2 to 6 feet high – a low shrub) covered with leathery, ovalish leaves; and in May with tiny pink flowers in racemes; the dark purple fruits come in the autumn and are much relished by game -particularly pheasants.

The shrub does best in thin woodland and is used on large estates as a cover for game. It spreads by means of underground stems.

G. procumbens is a favourite dwarf species and, like the above, a native of North America where it is known as the ‘Partridge Berry.’ It is a creeping evergreen, 2 to 6 inches high, with dark green leaves, pinkish-white flowers in July and August, and bright red berries in autumn. A useful plant for massing among tall-growing Rhododendrons and Azaleas.

Gordonia axillaris was first named Camellia axillaris {Gordonia and Camellia are related), and the flower does resemble a single white Camellia. It is creamy-white, 3 to 6 inches wide, with 5 or 6 petals and a centre of numerous stamens and bright yellow anthers. The dark green leathery leaves (the largest about 7 inches long and 3 inches wide) are very handsome and make the plant a valuable evergreen for gardens where it can be grown. Cornwall and south-west Ireland are the best places for it. The flowers come intermittently from November to May. It is a favourite shrub for growing in a cold greenhouse.

Grevillea alpina, like the Gordonia, is frequently grown in a pot; it is only a success in southern maritime districts. The plant is a native of south Australia, where it is a dwarf bushy rounded shrub. The flowers rather resemble tiny clusters of Honeysuckle and are red at the base, yellow at the top. A charming and most useful little shrub for a rock-garden in the south of England. It is in bloom for best part of the year.

Griselinia littoralis, another tender New Zealand plant, is soon destroyed by cold in gardens in the Home Counties and anywhere farther north. In warm Cornish gardens, however, it makes a fine, densely-leafy evergreen shrub (sometimes tree-like, up to 25 feet tall), with small yellowish flowers in May. The leaves, leathery and ovalish (the largest 3 inches long), are a refreshing green colour. Many gardeners who can grow it, use it for a hedge.

Guevina avellana has been grown in some of our inland gardens, but has always to be covered up during the winter to protect it from cold and frosts. This is a difficult job and sometimes useless, since the cold penetrates the protective material and kills the plant. It is a native of Chile and in warm seaside gardens makes a fine evergreen tree 30 feet tall. The leaflets (of the large leaves) are sharply toothed, ovalish and of a rich, shining green colour. The flowers, with very narrow recurved sepals, are usually whitish in colour and come in long racemes. The plant does best in a semi-shady place.

Hoheria lyallii is one of the most handsome of evergreens to come to us from New Zealand. It needs a rich loamy soil in good heart and can only be grown successfully in the warm south. There it soon grows into a fine shrub or small tree, with attractive glaucous leaves, and clusters of fragrant, Cherry-blossom-like flowers in late July. (A.M. 1955.)

Kalmiopsis leachiana is very rare in Nature and in danger of becoming extinct. A little evergreen Kalmia-like shrub (6 to 12 inches high) with sugar-pink-coloured Kalmia-blossoms against glossy, light green foliage. It makes an admirable shrublet for a pocket of well-drained peaty soil in the rockery. It is quite hardy but must have the right kind of soil. At the moment the plant is difficult to get and is not priced in any catalogues I possess.

Laurelia serrata is known as the ‘Chilean Laurel’ (it is a native of Chile) and is a fine evergreen shrub or small tree for the warmest parts of Britain. It thrives in and around Winchester, Hampshire. The leaves, leathery and narrow (the largest 5 inches long and 2 inches wide) are a dark, glossy green, and have an aroma reminiscent of the Bay-leaf when crushed or rubbed between the fingers. The plant will reach a height of 15 feet when grown near a wall.

Ledum, inhabitants of swampy peat moors of the northern latitudes, are difficult to establish in many gardens. L. groen-landicum from North America and Greenland, 2 to 3 feet tall, with narrow leaves and small clusters of white flowers, is the best known and most useful for gardens. It needs a semi-shady spot and blooms from April to June.

Leptospermum are evergreen shrubs from New Zealand and not difficult to grow in our warm counties. In cold districts they are scarcely worth troubling with, for they will need protection all through the winter. They have been grown successfully, however, at the foot of south or west walls; though in most gardens walls will no doubt be kept for some more beautiful tender plants.

The best for the average warm, sheltered garden is Leptospermum scoparium, a tallish shrub (up to 15 feet in some places), with linear-oblong leaves, 1 inch long, and small white flowers. The varieties are better known perhaps. I single out Var. bosgawenh, with pink and white flowers; Var. nanum, a dwarf (about 1 foot tall) with rose-pink flowers – a lovely plant for the alpine-house; and Var. prostratum, a creeping shrublet for the rock-garden. Leptospermum need well drained peaty soils.

The Myrtle has a strange fascination for people – everybody, it seems, wants to grow it. Maybe it is its association with weddings that appeals to them. The common sort, Myrtus communis and more especially the variety tarentina are often used in bridal bouquets; the small white flowers are delightfully fragrant, and the leaves small and attractive. In a warm district, near the sea, the flowers come in July in great profusion. The shrub is well worth trying in a sheltered garden (grown on a warm south wall) in inland districts. I have never seen any very healthy specimens, however, in this district, South Bucks.

Nerium oleander is far too tender for the vast majority of our gardens. Even in the warmest southern districts of the British Isles, it needs a sheltered spot during the winter months. It is best grown in a pot or a tub and brought indoors about November. It is the ‘Oleander’ of the East – a mysterious plant, it is said. An eccentric gardener I know grows it, he tells me, because the flowers will poison anybody who eats them! The leaves are leathery in texture, lance-shaped, average length 6 inches (about 1 inch wide) and of a lovely deep green colour. The flowers come in clusters at the tips of the shoots; they are tubular at the base but open out at the top; and are single, semi-double, or double. Var. album is single, white. Var. luteum plenum, sulphur-yellow, double. Var. splendens, scarlet – a sinister-looking plant when in full bloom!

Olearia are the evergreen ‘Daisy Bushes’ of Australasia; about two dozen species are listed in nurserymen’s catalogues; and of these only one, namely Olearia haastii, is considered to be generally hardy. It is a native of New Zealand and makes a rounded bushy shrub from 4 to 9 feet tall. It prospers in gardens around London but does not grow so tall there as it does in, say, Devon and Cornwall. Very line specimens grow in the Orkneys, and in some maritime districts the shrub measures 9 feet tall and 15 feet across. The leaves, dark green above and white-felted beneath, are small, ovalish, the largest about 1 inch long. The flowers, small and Daisy-like, are white with yellow centres and come in flattish clusters; they bloom during July and August and have a delightful sweet Hawthorn scent. Like the rest of the family, the plant needs a lime-free, peaty soil, well drained, and a sunny situation.

Pernettya are closely akin to Gaultheria and like a cool, peaty soil as do the latter plants; but should be given a sunny spot. Pernettya mucronata and its varieties are the best known and the showiest of all the dwarf berrying evergreen shrubs we grow in this country. The leaves are very small, as are the white flowers. It is often impossible to see the foliage when the spreading branches are laden with berries – white, pink, crimson, red, purple or black – from autumn all through the winter months. There are many beautiful named varieties to choose from, and any nurseryman will supply a list. The plants are most effective when massed and give a magnificent show when associated with some of the autumn Crocuses and the taller, bigger Colchicums. (Male and female forms of the shrubs should be planted to ensure a good crop of berries.)

Phlomis fruticosa is the Jerusalem Sage which seems better known in some districts than in others. I’ve grown it in my garden for many years and lost it several times through frost. It is one of the grey-silver evergreens and needs a sheltered place in the London district. The plant makes a shrub about 3 feet tall here in South Bucks., with Sage-like, furry silvery leaves (the largest about 5 inches long and 2 inches wide), and clusters of bright yellow upright, hooded flowers. The plant is easily raised from cuttings; I always keep rooted cuttings in pots so that I can plant them out in spring. The plant is particularly charming when massed and also when grown with the purple-red flowered Rock-Rose, Cistus X purpureas.

Pittosporum are not seen in many inland gardens. When they are grown there, they are usually planted against a warm wall; but most people prefer to use what wall space they have for more valuable plants – those, say, that bear choice fruits, or beautiful flowers, The hardiest species is the New Zealand one called P. tenuifolium, yet it is nearly always grown near a wall in the London area. The plant has little floral beauty, and it is for its attractive evergreen foliage that it is grown. Indeed, sprays of it are much in demand by florists. In Cornwall and Southern Ireland it makes a tall bush or small tree 20 or 30 feet tall. The light green foliage makes the plant well worth growing. The flowers are small and of a purplish colour. Their chief attraction is their delightful honey-like fragrance. The shrub needs a good ordinary loamy soil.

Skimmia are low-growing shrubs which thrive in moist, loamy soils, where there is some shade. They are useful for a limited space, and Skimmia japonica is the one I have come across most frequently. It does well in town gardens – where there is but little shade, however; if the soil is moist, it will tolerate the sun on it apparently. The plant is grown solely for the bright red berries which follow the fragrant flowers. This shrub is not more than 3 or 4 feet tall and has yellowish-green leaves, usually 3 inches long and about 1 inch wide. The flowers, dull white and fragrant, come in terminal panicles in April. As male and female flowers are produced on different plants, it is necessary to grow both sexes together to ensure a good crop of berries.

Vaccinium are hardy shrubs but not commonly seen in gardens. They don’t settle down well in ordinary soils and need moist leafmould or peat; they are useless in heavy soils containing lime.

The evergreen kinds are grown chiefly for their foliage or their fruits which come in autumn. Some have attractive flowers – V. fioribunda {mortinia), for instance, with racemes of pink flowers in June (though these are partly hidden by the dark green foliage); moreover, this species is hardy only in the south and south-west of England.

The best of the genus for the average garden (in the Home Counties – not farther north, though) is V. nummularia, which makes a compact shrub, 9 inches high, with bright green leaves 1 inch to 1 inch long. The flowers in May are rose-red; the berries black and apparently edible.

V. ovatum is a tallish shrub, up to 10 feet high, with small, dark glossy green leaves, and white, bell-shaped flowers in May. The berries are black.

V. vitis-idaea (the native ‘Cowberry’ or ‘Mountain Cranberry’), a low, creeping shrub, 6 to 10 inches high, with dark, lustrous green leaves like those of the Box, makes an excellent ground cover. The flowers, whitish-pink, come in early summer, and the bright red fruits in late autumn.

V. myrtillus is the Bilberry, which bears the small, bluish fruits used to make delicious tarts, especially in Yorkshire. It is common on the moors there, but doesn’t settle down in gardens in the London district.

Another well-known species is the North-American V. macrocarpum, selected forms of which are grown for their fruits (the popular Cranberry we have at Christmas); vast acres in Canada and North America are specially cultivated for the production of the fruit. (The plant is often listed as Oxycoccus macrocarpus.) Both these fruiting species are extremely difficult, if not impossible, to establish in our gardens.

Viburnum on the whole are well known to gardeners; and the Laurustinus is a favourite evergreen for screens and hedges. The deciduous species are the kinds mostly grown however; and these are the ones the majority of us have found easy to grow. The precocious V. fragrans which carries its richly scented flowers in winter is in my opinion the finest of all the species. The hybrid V. X burkwoodii (V. carlesii – deciduous, and V. utile – evergreen) has been neglected unfortunately, the reason being probably that it is considered to be rather tender. In the London district it does best against a wall; and in the south it seems to flower more freely in partial shade. A point in its favour is that it thrives well in town and city gardens, not minding at all a smoky, polluted atmosphere. The flowers, white, are deliciously fragrant and come in clusters about 4 inches across. They bloom early in the year, often opening in January. People who live in towns should certainly give this evergreen shrub a trial. Good specimens can be bought from any shrub nursery.

There are many more evergreen shrubs as lovely as those I have described here, and many as rare. They are useless, however, grown outside in our inland gardens; and some even in the warm south need protection through severe weather. They might be termed connoisseur’s plants; gardeners like to experiment with them, though they might regret the cost when the plants live only a year or two and regret more the loss of such lovely things.

Hardy evergreen climbing plants are extremely rare. The Common Ivy is probably the only truly reliable one. It grows practically anywhere – it would be difficult to find a plant that wasn’t in a flourishing state. In places exposed to hot sun, it grows normally but usually becomes infested with pests such as the mealy-bug and caterpillars. Ivy climbs trees and buildings by means of aerial roots which form on the woody stems; and it also creeps over the ground and makes an excellent evergreen undergrowth. But it can be a nuisance when it is left uncontrolled. It should never be allowed to climb on a pergola (which it would soon cover and at the same time smother climbers more attractive), nor on valuable old buildings, the stone-work of which it would soon hide and eventually damage. Nothing could be more heinous than to plant it deliberately against the wall of some historic building famous for its beautifully-carved and intricate stone-work. Yet it can be used on some buildings with splendid effect. If it is kept carefully pruned back and not allowed to encroach on any fine architectural detail, it adds to the beauty of the stone-work and gives richness and colour to the structure. One never associates Ivy with any of our more rebarbative modern architecture. No one perhaps would think of planting it against a wall of cement, glass and steel.

The common species, Hedera helix, is a native of Europe and found in most parts of the British Isles. It grows to the top of trees ioo feet tall, and on mature specimens does no harm, though many gardeners believe it kills any tree once it reaches the top and the leafy growths and covers the bark completely; for it apparently stops the breathing functions of the tree. On the young trees it is nearly always a killer when it encircles the trunks and prevents normal growth. (a) When Ivy reaches the top of its support and ceases to climb, it changes its character and becomes productive, bearing flowers and berries, and larger, unlobed leaves. (b) The adult Ivy is known as the Bush or Tree Ivy, and is often cultivated as a shrub; it is quite an ornament in the garden with its clusters of greenish-yellow flowers during the autumn and later with its bunches of purple-black berries, which are the size of small peas.

The common plant has sported into an astonishing number of varieties, some with large leaves, some with smaller; others are beautifully variegated; yet others have differently and curiously shaped leaves.

The only one I grow in my garden is the common sort, which is planted as a ground cover in a shady place. It has the usual thick, leathery leaves, dark glossy green, with paler veins, and 3 or 5 deep lobes. When crushed the leaves give off an unpleasant smell.

I find that an occasional drastic clipping back of the leaves is beneficial (March is best), the new foliage that comes in May being naturally fresh-looking and clean. Ivies growing on buildings should always be clipped in this way: it keeps the plants free from pests and enables one to control the plant more easily.

The so-called Tree-Ivies are described under Var. arborescens. They are produced by cuttings of the flowering shoots of the common plant; and there are both silver and golden variegated kinds.

Var. aureo-variegata is blotched with pale yellow, but is liable to revert. (aurea-variegata arborescens is the Bush form).

Var. deltoidea has curiously-shaped leaves, the two basal lobes being rounded and overlapping.

Var. marginata (a favourite variety, though I don’t grow it) has its leaves broadly margined with creamy-white and tinged with pink during the winter. A lovely leaf. But like so many of the variegated kinds, it is liable to revert to the common green type after some years. It is wise therefore to renew them every so often, and it is easily done by cuttings or by layering.

Of the other species, Helix hibernica, is probably the best known; it is called the Irish Ivy and is said to be found wild in Ireland and the west of Scotland. The leaves are larger, and the plant makes a fine bush if it is kept well trimmed. It is not so hardy as the common sort but it grows and climbs more rapidly than that plant when given a wall as a support.

Although Ivy grows practically anywhere, in any ordinary soil, a new plant – especially one of the coloured varieties -should be started off in some good loam.

Honeysuckles (Lonicera) are favourite climbing or twining plants with most people. But probably only one evergreen species is hardy. This is Lonicera japonica which is grown in many gardens in the south and around London. I doubt, however, whether it would survive a very severe winter in this district if it were not planted against, and trained on, a wall. It is an excellent twiner for covering an old tree or some deciduous shrub which is not much valued – I’ve seen it twining round the rather brittle branches of the common Buddleia davidii. It would be better on an old apple tree, whose branches are stronger and better able to support the weight of the Honeysuckle after some years’ growth, and it has made a dense tangle of stems. It has an extraordinarily long flowering season: it usually beings in early summer and during a mild spell will go on till late autumn. The flowers have a rich scent but they are not so striking as those of the leaf-shedding Honeysuckles we grow. They are creamy-white at first and change to yellow with age. The leaves are ovalish, the largest 3 inches long and a bright cheerful shade of green. Of the several forms of Lonicera japonica in cultivation, the best, certainly the most fragrant, is Var. halliana.

The other evergreen climbers on the whole are more tender and something of a risk in many of our gardens. They require not only a warm wall but additional protection through the winter months.

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