Barlow Nurseries

Growers of trees, shrubs and hardy herbaceous perennial garden plants near Newport, Shropshire

Mahonia media ‘Charity’ ?

Mahonia media Charity

More autumn fireworks!

Well we think it’s M. m. ‘Charity’ – the label’s long gone, and there are a few cultivars which look remarkably similar.    It could be M. m. ‘Winter Sun’ (which is dwarfer) but as this one still appears to be growing, and is already bigger than Winter Sun is supposed to get, our money’s on it being Charity!

Anyway…the photo was taken today, and it’s been in flower for a couple of weeks at least, so it’s a bit ahead of schedule.  The schedule appears to be late autumn to late winter however, so there’s plenty of latitude.

It’s pretty much a go-anywhere shrub, which is why it’s used so extensively in amenity plantings, but it’s none the worse for that.   Its spiky evergreen leaves give it year round interest, and as you can see from the picture, its winter flowering really adds a splash of colour when there isn’t much else happening in the garden.

It forms quite a dense thicket once it’s settled in, so it’s a “get it right first time ” plant – relocating anything other than a very young specimen would be a very fraught affair.

According to the encyclopedias its ideal location is semi-shade (good under trees) but it’ll grow pretty much anywhere – we have it on poor soil in a sunny west facing border, and it’s thriving.

Don’t be put off by its ubiquity – common plants are usually common for good reasons!

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