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I am looking for suggestions for an evergreen shrub to go in an inhospitable location. It is a cold, shady corner formed by a west-facing wall and a north-facing wall. In addition, it is just next to the northern end of a narrow passageway between two properties and as such, is often windy.
A mature and very healthy Aucuba japonica variegata stood there until recently, but I had to remove it due to a neighbour's building work. I took cuttings, so could always do a straight replacement, but wouldn't mind ringing the changes if a suitable alternative exists.
The position is so shady that the Aucuba never showed much variegation, so presumably, similar variegated shrubs would suffer the same problem, but it would be nice to lighten the spot if possible.

How about a holly?  Ilex J C Van Toll is a free berrying sort.   Nice glossy foliage and nice shape.


I know a Mahonia japonica which revels in just such a spot - it looks glorious at the moment and the scent is wonderful. 


I have Mahonia japonica in a similar spot and it looks great. I really hate when it is planted in full sun as they go tall, lanky and red-yellow and jus tlook awful. Mine in full shade is dark, glossy and bushy.

As above Mahonia is the way to go. !!!



Thanks Verdun, Dovefromabove, blairs and mike w for your suggestions. Would Mahonia x media 'Charity' be suitable? I have one in my garden already and was planning to take some cuttings.


I don't know about the others, but I find Mahonia japonica more resilient in poor conditions than Mahonia x media - but if you're planning to take some cuttings anyway you've got nothing to lose - I'd try it 


I've lost  tops of both my mahonias at different times. I don't know if they were wind damaged or if a big fat pigeon landed on them. Everything that stays on looks fine, however bad the weather. One is bealei. The other was cheap because it lost its label.


I'd look at different Escallonia, very wind tolerant and some are okay in semi-shade.


Fatsia Japonica would make a good feature plant with large glossy leaves which reflect light and it's fairly quick growing once it becomes established.



In my experience Fatsia Japonica, a very handsome plant, isn't happy in cool windy spots - I've known leaves ripped and even blown off in gusty conditions.  

Well, I agree with the guy who suggested a holly.  Ahem!  

Jess is in the Garden

I've got skimmia in a shady, cold and quite exposed spot- it does very well, with lovely flowers and berries.

My new addition sarcococca is also settling in well to the same north side of my small garden- I'm aware it may not have as many flowers and berries aif one in a less shady spot though.


I've never been keen on Mahonia's but if I were to buy one I would go for the 2013 RHS plant of the year - Mahonia 'Soft Caress'... this is said to be suitable for shade and windy conditions yet it's leaves are entirely different being soft and ferny, not thorny....  hopefully will be more readily available this coming season.... it looks to have a great future I think....


Soft Caress has been on my radar for some time.  However, it seems vulnerable to pest amd disease whenever I have checked it out. Anyone successfully growing this variety?


I've seen Soft Caress in the local GC recently - it looks a pretty thing, but without the architectural qualities of M. japonica  as far as I can tell. 

My thinking too dove.  It's missing something

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