Garrya elliptica ‘James Roof’ - the silk tassel plant
Whilst we sunned ourselves in Madeira, it was minus ten centigrade for four nights at home and not much more during the day! We came home to a somewhat scorched plant. The books say garrya is ‘hardy down to minus ten’ but I think it will normally stand more cold than that. As far as I remember, in the much colder double winter of 2010, mine did not turn a hair. The significant thing this year, was that the cold was preceded by a warm spell. This is not a happy combination.
I recall over the years, when I used to have clients in various parts of Yorkshire, this brown scorch happened on only two occasions in ten years; once in November and once in March. In both years it was the same combination of weather, a sharp change of warm weather to cold. I found it interesting that the same thing had happened in every garden I worked.
What shall I do now? Nothing for several weeks. It is best for any die-back to take its course and then prune it away. The level of damage is actually quite small. By May there will be no evidence of my present problem.
|Starting to cover oil tank
Garrya elliptica is one of those shrubs that is best grown and trained on a wall. Wall shrubs need pruning to stay on a wall. Some gardeners seem to think wall shrubs will grow as elegant wall hugging plants without help! Dream on. Although garrya will grow on a wall of any aspect, they are one of those special plants that thrive on a north wall. My own plant faces north-east and I was retraining it to cover an oil tank that we had to replace last year!
Interestingly, the lovely catkins are male (well, he is called James!). As long as you do not prune back after early summer, they will flower well from November to March each year.
A setback to covering my tank!
The most exposed garrya shoot sustained the worse damage. Hydrangea petiolaris is covering from the other side. It seems the plants themselves will decide how to camouflage the tank!
up date on my Garrya which now in May is starting to sprout on this post on sudden shrub death