Opinion

HELEN LANG: Spectacular shrubbery dazzles garden writer

Today I’d like to talk for a minute about shrubs. Yesterday, while out walking, I saw two beauties. We had both of them when living on Melissa Street. One was called Pieris mountain fire and the other was Senecio maritimus. Most gardeners are familiar with Pieris, which has become very popular. It produces brilliant orange-red new growth which over the summer turns dark green. There is another Pieris which has pale cream new leaves, which turn dark green. They both produce trusses of white blossom, but it’s the new leaves that are most spectacular. As for Senecio, it has furry grey-green leaves, but produces sprays of yellow daisy-like flowers during the summer.

We also had two Mexican orange shrubs (Choysia ternata), one beside the path to the front door. Its clusters of small white flowers were deliciously fragrant. Its leaves also, when crushed between your fingers, had a lovely aroma. Another plus was that it flowered most years in spring and again in fall. Wonderful.

If you are tempted to purchase a shrub or two, please, for Pete’s sake (who is this Pete, anyway?) ask the nursery man to tell you how tall and how wide it will be when fully grown. Because I loved its blue blossoms I put in a Ceanothus (California lilac) against the front of the house, facing west. It loved it there and immediately decided to grow – and grow it did. It spread across the front windows, tried to lift the roof and generally attempted to take over that part of the garden. Eventually, afraid it had become too domineering we took it out, replacing it with a camellia, which was lovely and much easier to control.

Many shrubs will grow quite happily in a large pot. I have a cotoneaster (small-growing one) that I brought from Melissa Street. It was the only shrub I took and this winter I nearly killed it. I didn’t realize that it was sitting in its smaller pot in a larger one which had no drainage hole. It very nearly drowned, but fortunately I discovered the flood and removed it in time.

Helen Lang has been the Peninsula News Review’s garden columnist for more than 25 years.

We encourage an open exchange of ideas on this story's topic, but we ask you to follow our guidelines for respecting community standards. Personal attacks, inappropriate language, and off-topic comments may be removed, and comment privileges revoked, per our Terms of Use. Please see our FAQ if you have questions or concerns about using Facebook to comment.

You might like ...

Police tackle, apprehend man in Campbell River
 
So much more than a betrayal online
 
NDP leader plays both sides of the fish farm fence
Local chef competes on Chopped Canada
 
Surfers in Parksville Qualicum Beach get up close and personal with sea lions
 
I spy with my little eye, a plethora of people
Editorial cartoon, Dec. 11
 
COLUMN: Ideas for a non-toy Christmas
 
COLUMN: ‘Everyone pays’ seems fair to me

Community Events, December 2014

Add an Event


Read the latest eEdition

Browse the print edition page by page, including stories and ads.

Dec 17 edition online now. Browse the archives.