Good grief Garrya, you’re gorgeous!

The star of the garden at the moment is Garrya elliptica, looking really gorgeous with hundreds of tassel like flowers. I can’t take any credit for planting it, it was already here when we came 22 yrs ago, the same as some of the planting around it.

Garrya elliptica

As you can see the bush is absolutely dripping with flowers, I  can’t detect any perfume so am wondering how it attracts any bees or is it wind pollinated?    To the left is a rhododendron and to the right, another rhodo, behind is a large yew tree and to the right behind the rhodo is a Choisya ternata. These other shrubs give colour and interest in the spring in this corner but after that nothing happens until the choisya usually flowers again in the autumn along with some japanese  anemones.

Garrya elliptica

I usually trim the bush as soon as flowering is over as the flowers are formed on new wood, so I am thinking maybe a viticella clematis could be grown through the bush to brighten up this corner during the summer months. The clematis could be cut back as soon as flowering is over which would then free up the garrya to form its flower buds over the winter months, then that would be cut back before the clematis started to send out its new shoots. Please let me know what you think, will it work or will it impede the flowering of the garrya? I wouldn’t want that to happen as I really do think Garrya is gorgeous at the moment!



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22 Responses to Good grief Garrya, you’re gorgeous!

  1. Kate says:

    That is truly stunning – I want one exactly like it, now. Pity about it having to take so long to reach that size…

    • Pauline says:

      Hi Kate, maybe it would have grown a bit quicker without all the other shrubs being so near, I think it is a bit crowded where it is. Even so, it certainly doesn’t stop it flowering!

  2. Cathy says:

    Certainly is gorgeous! I think they are pretty tough as there used to be one growing against the wall of the last school I taught at – not only was it in rock solid dry soil but it was regularly swung in by unruly children so I don’t think a clematis would do it any harm! It always amazed me how it survived 🙂

    • Pauline says:

      Well Cathy, your Garrya certainly had a lot to put up with, a clematis should be easy compared to children playing! I’ll have to get busy preparing soil at the base to give the clematis a good start.

  3. Christina says:

    The Garrya is perfect, the clematis might be difficult to prune back, you wouldn’t want to cut off the flowering stems of the Garrya by mistake. Christina

    • Pauline says:

      Thanks Christina, maybe it would be best if I trained it up the large yew instead, that would still bring colour to the shady corner.

  4. I had to research this beautiful shrub immediately to see if I could grow it. It is a California native and hardy to 10 degrees F, which is borderline for me.

    • Pauline says:

      It has survived quite a lot of frost here Carolyn, 2 yrs ago it went down to -10 C for quite a few nights, we regularly have winter temperatures of -5C, I think it just needs a sheltered corner.

  5. wellywoman says:

    there’s a beautiful garrya in a garden just around the corner from me. It’s probably about the same size as yours. It is an impressive plant in full bloom but it can look a bit dull at other times so I can understand you wanting to possibly grow something through it. Are there an earlier flowering clematis that can be left unpruned that you could maybe try?

    • Pauline says:

      Glad that you agree WW that garrya is an impressive plant at this time of year. I think the only problem with an earlier unpruned clematis is that the tangle of dead looking stems would be in place now while the garrya is flowering, that’s why I was considering one that could be pruned away in the autumn. I will have to have a long hard think about this but thanks for your suggestion. I once grew a clematis through a conifer and it managed to kill the conifer branches where they couldn’t see the light, would hate that to happen to the garrya!

  6. What a stunning shrub, never heard of it before. I share your dislike of seeing dead climber stems threaded through the bare branches of shrubs and trees, I think personally I would be inclined to accept that it has one, glorious, season of interest and rely on the plants around it to add interest the rest of the time. Could you plant some interesting late flowering perennials in front of it that would use it as a backdrop?

    • Pauline says:

      Glad you like it Janet, we look stright at it from our sitting room, so are enjoying it every day at the moment. I know the ground in front looks rather bare at the moment, but from August/ September there are Japanese anemones flowering there. I will keep thinking to try and find something to bridge the gap from rhododendron time to anemone time, maybe some tall summer bulbs to go in between but they must like shade!

  7. Anna says:

    Wow! What a winter star Pauline. The individual florets are fascinating – reminiscent of foxgloves.

  8. Lyn says:

    It does look wonderful, Pauline! I think the clematis idea is lovely. If you used a viticella type that wasn’t too vigorous, it shouldn’t harm the Garrya, and it would be cut to the ground each year anyway, as you say, so it would stay tidy.

    • Pauline says:

      Great minds think alike Lyn!! I think as long as I remember to cut the clematis down in the autumn, everything should be ok.
      Have been trying to leave a comment on your blog re your Alice party, but am having problems, will keep trying. You might like a look at my post ” Happy Christmas little Dormice” !

  9. pbmgarden says:

    This is an interesting and lovely plant. Had to look it up as its name was unfamiliar to me but I saw something similar on a recent trip to a nearby arboretum. Unfortunately the specimen was unmarked but perhaps it was Garrya elliptica. Will have to check it out. The clematis growing up through it sounds so beautiful. Have a good day Pauline.

    • Pauline says:

      Pbm, Garrya is a super plant for shade as long as you don’t have it too cold in the winter. It has coped with frost -7C most years, we don’t usually get it colder than that and it seems fine each time. This time of year is its moment of glory but I have never known so many flowers before, probably a plus side of all the rain we had last year!

  10. That is beautiful! And a new plant to me as well. Thanks for sharing, Pauline!

    • Pauline says:

      Its a super plant for a shady corner at this time of year Wmg, I’m assuming all the flowers are a bonus from last years rain, whatever it is, it looks lovely at the moment when there is so little to brighten up our days in the garden.

  11. Alberto says:

    Wow, that garrya is superb! You always says your garden has neutral soil but you grow a lot of acidic soil lover plants that I cant even imagine to plant in a pot in my garden… (like this garrya indeed and the choisia, God only knows how many of those I’ve lost!)
    I vote absolutely yes for the clematis, maybe choose a not too invasive one, I love cl. x Durandii for example, but maybe it’s too dark blue for that corner. I had a very light pearl pink clematis growing through a bush in my previous garden and it was “comtesse de bouchaud”, a very reliable and nice one.

    • Pauline says:

      I’m lucky Alberto, with having soil just the acid side of neutral, it means I can grow a good variety of plants that like either acid or alkaline conditions. If I had looked them up before buying them, I probably wouldn’t have bought half of them, ignorance was bliss when I planted them!
      Thanks for the help with the clematis, I already have 2 Durandii, such a lovely blue, so maybe a different colour would be better and of course it would have to like shade, like the sound of your pink one, will have to get my clematis book out and do a bit of research!

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