Tag Archive: cotoneaster


PicPost: Cotoneastersaurus

Seen somewhere in Yorkshire….

Old School Gardener

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A rose trained along a rope 'swag' between posts provides a permeable divider in the garden

A rose trained along a rope ‘swag’ between posts provides a permeable divider in the garden

Regular readers may recall that I recently mentioned my plans to run a second Garden Design course at Reepham, here in Norfolk. I’m pleased to say that this has now begun and I’m looking forward to working with the 8 enthusiastic participants over the next few weeks to come up with designs and ideas for their gardens.

Coincidentally, I was also contacted recently by one of the students on the first course, Angela, who lives in a village nearby. She updated me on what she’s done in her garden since the course and was trying to arrange a meeting with her fellow students to share progress and ideas. She also asked for some advice. As this raised an interesting issue, I thought I’d share it with you as this week’s ‘GQT’. Her question is:

‘We took out a hedge last year between our vegetable garden and the lawn.  Most of the hedge area plus a bit of lawn is now a border, and we’d like to put in some sort of screen where the hedge was.  We don’t want a solid screen and were thinking of espalier fruit trees.  However, we do not need any more fruit trees and I think something of winter interest would be better.  Thoughts so far include Pyracantha or maybe Cotoneaster.  Do you think Pyracantha would work?’

A Pyracantha hedge

A Pyracantha hedge

Well Angela, Pyracantha makes a lovely informal hedge, with spring flowers and autumn berries as well as evergreen foliage (see the picture above).

However the ones suitable for hedging can grow to 2 – 3 metres high (and can also be quite wide), so unless you keep it cut back it will provide a pretty dense and high screen, perhaps not what you were looking for? The Cotoneasters suitable for a hedge (e.g C. lacteus) have similar range of interest to Pyracantha and are also pretty dense and tall, unless kept in trim. But doing this rather defeats the object of an ‘informal’ hedge, unless you keep trimming to a minimal tidy up of loose ends!

If a more permeable screen is what you’re after, you could go for a backdrop of grasses that would add a lovely golden colour to a border at this time of year.

If they are in a sheltered spot they will stand tall and provide some winter interest (cut them to ground level in the spring); an example is Calamagrostis x acutiflora ‘Karl Foerster’. You could of course mix these along the line of the old hedge with evergreen shrubs (themselves with a variety of interest through the seasons). This would once again define the back of the border in an informal way, leaving ‘peep holes’ through the grasses into the garden beyond.

If you’re looking for something to provide a strong linear backdrop to your border but still give views through to the next garden, another idea might be to go for some sort of post and rail/rope structure (the latter is known as a ‘swag’- see the picture at the top of the article), or even a series of wide – opening trellis panels.

This then gives you the option of climbers to train up and along the wood/rope, but gives you views/glimpses through to what lies beyond. You could go for a mixture of climbers to give you a range of seasonal interest. Clematis of different varieties will give you flowers throughout the year, including winter flowers (e.g C. cirrhosa and its cultivars have winter flowers in creamy/ freckled shades and evergreen leaves). And some varieites give you other sorts of Autumn/winter interest. For example C. tangutica and it’s cultivars have some lovely ‘hairy’ seed heads that last into winter. Rambling/ climbing roses would also provide summer/early autumn flowers, followed by hips on some varieties. However, some of the Clematis (e.g cirrhosa) can get quite bushy so will need to be kept in check if you want to have views through – and the roses will also need pruning. Another option is to train a Pyracantha along a post and rail barrier to give you that ‘espalier’ effect you mentioned (see picture below).

Pyracantha coccinea trained along post and rails

Pyracantha coccinea trained along post and rails

Alternatively try one of the above options, but additionally introduce some winter interest directly into your border – e.g colourful stems from the various Cornus (Dogwoods), or foliage, flower and fragrance from any number of shrubs; e.g Daphne, Winter Jasmine, Eleagnus, Euonymus, various Viburnums etc.

Further information:

Hedge selector

10 AGM variegated evergreen shrubs- RHS

Hedge planting- RHS

All about Pyracantha

Related article:

GQT: Climbers as clothing… and as heighteners and dividers

Old School Gardener

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Cotoneaster frigidus leaves and fruit

Cotoneaster frigidus – leaves and fruit

Cotoneaster  is a genus of flowering plants in the rose family, native to temperate Asia, Europe and north Africa. It has  a strong concentration of different species in the mountains of southwestern China and the Himalayas. They are related to Hawthorns, Firethorns, Photinias and Rowans. Depending on the definition used, there are between 70 and 300 different species.

The majority of Cotoneaster species are shrubs from 0.5–5 metres tall, varying from ground-hugging prostrate plants to erect shrubs. A few, notably C. frigidus, are small trees up to 15 metres tall and 75 centimetres trunk diameter. The prostrate species are mostly alpine plants growing at high altitude (e.g. C. integrifolius, which grows at 3,000–4,000 metres in the Himalayas), while the larger species occur in scrub and woodland gaps at lower altitudes. Cotoneasters are very popular garden shrubs, grown for their attractive habit and decorative fruit. Many are cultivars, some of  hybrid origin; of these, some are of known parentage.

Cotoneaster franchetii

Cotoneaster franchetii

Cotoneaster horizontalis

Cotoneaster horizontalis

The name Cotoneaster derives from the old Latin cotoneus meaning Quince and aster probably a corruption of ad instar meaning ‘a likeness’ – so ‘Quince like’.

Other species names are:

C. adpressa = close, pressed-down growth or fruits closely pressed against the branch

C. applanata = the branches lie flat or in a plane

C. bullata = wrinkled, referring to the leaves

C. buxifolia = box (buxus) -leaved

C. congesta = crowded, the plant’s habit

C. divaricata =spread-out, forking , referring to the branches

C. franchettii = after Franchet, a French botanist

C.  frigida = cold,frosty, probably referring to its native habitat

C. harroviana = after G. Harrow, a nurseryman once of Coombe Wood Nursery

C. henryana = after Dr. Augustine Henry, a 19th century Chinese customs official and ‘plant hunter’

C. horiziontalis = horizontal, its growth habit

C. humifusa = spread on the ground

C. lacteus =  milky, probably referring to the milky white flowers (the ‘Late Cotoneaster’)

C. lucida = shining, referring to the leaves

C. microphylla = small – leaved

C. multiflora = many flowered

C. pannosa = woolly, the foliage

C. rotundifoilia = round leaved

C. salicifolia = willow (salix) leaved

C. simonsii = after Simons, (The ‘Himalayan Cotoneaster’ or ‘Simon’s Cotoneaster’)

Cotoneaster adpressus

Cotoneaster adpressus

Cotoneaster lacteus - flowers

Cotoneaster lacteus – flowers

Cotoneaster simonsii

Cotoneaster simonsii

Sources and further information:

Wikipedia

Encyclopedia Britannica

Growing Cotoneasters

Cotoneaster horizontalis

Cotoneaster lacteus

Cotoneaster simonsii

Quizzicals: answers to the two in Plantax 7…

  • Bird swearing – Crocus
  • Vasectomy for Dad – Parsnip

..and 2 more cryptic clues to the names of plants, fruit or veg…

  • Irish singer is growing worse
  • Tease Mr Disney

(thanks to Les Palmer, answers in the next Plantax!)

Old School Gardener

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