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18 messages
08/01/2014 at 15:43

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.

08/01/2014 at 18:12

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

08/01/2014 at 19:49

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

09/01/2014 at 10:44

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.

09/01/2014 at 18:38

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

10/01/2014 at 17:58

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.

10/01/2014 at 18:25

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 

10/01/2014 at 18:34

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.

10/01/2014 at 18:39

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

10/01/2014 at 18:47

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.


10/01/2014 at 18:50

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.  

10/01/2014 at 19:03

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

10/01/2014 at 19:42

You know me Verdun, I love hollies, and there's lots of lovely varieties available 

10/01/2014 at 19:47

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.

10/01/2014 at 23:52

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....

11/01/2014 at 00:01

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?

11/01/2014 at 07:26

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. 

11/01/2014 at 19:56

My thinking too dove.  It's missing something

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