Tough cus­tomer is pop­u­lar

Kentish Express Ashford & District - - Countryfile -

STROLL in a church­yard, su­per­mar­ket car park, busi­ness park or some amenity area at the mo­ment and you could come across a land­scape gar­dener’s favourite plant – the Ore­gon grape or ma­ho­nia. This dis­tinc­tive shrub is loved as it is tough, does not mind dry shady places, it has a beau­ti­ful scent in the spring and it is ev­er­green, so some­thing to look at all year round. I am writ­ing about this plant at the mo­ment as it stands out be­fore the leaves of the trees ap­pear and it blends into the sur­round­ing fo­liage. I have come across a cou­ple of plants over the years dot­ted around the edges of wood­land in east Kent and it is a plant, as you guessed by the name, not na­tive to this coun­try. It orig­i­nates from west­ern North Amer­ica. It is a pop­u­lar shrub planted as pheas­ant cover and in gar­dens and has been spread by the birds eat­ing the berries in the sum­mer. Fur­ther afield, there are plenty in East Anglia where there are also plenty of pheas­ants! In some lit­er­a­ture it has been de­scribed as an in­va­sive plant, al­though in this part of Kent, it is still scat­tered in its dis­tri­bu­tion. The yel­low flow­ers are beau­ti­fully scented and ap­pear in late win­ter. The leaves turn a vivid pur­ple/red colour through the win­ter months, but the down­side is that the leaves are ex­tremely prickly and sharp. 01797 367934

The yel­low, scented flow­ers of the glossy leafed Ore­gon grape

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