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Winter Shrubs in the Pococke Garden

Written by John James, posted on Monday, March 19, 2018

Daphne laureolaIn the Pococke Garden a rarely grown small green flowered evergreen shrub can be found - Daphne laureola. This shrub is actually a native of the British Isles and much of Europe favouring limestone woodlands in southern and eastern England. This shrub has the common name Spurge Laurel, which nicely illustrates the problem with common names since it is neither a Spurge (Euphorbia) nor a Laurel (Prunus)! All parts of the plant are poisonous, but the black berries that form in late summer are not toxic to birds. The flowers, which vary from highly fragrant to completely unscented (sadly ours seem to be the latter), are highly attractive to bees at this time of year.



Edgeworthia chrysanthaGrowing in close proximity to the Daphne is another unusual and closely related highly fragrant winter flowering shrub, this time deciduous flowering on bare stems, Edgeworthia chrysantha or Paperbush since fibres from its bark can be used to make handmade Japanese paper and banknotes. This plant originates from China, Japan and Nepal and was brought to England in the mid 1800’s by Michael Edgeworth (hence the name) an amateur botanist working for the East India Company.





Cyclamen coumBringing some welcome colour to the Mediterranean Border in the Masters Garden during some very un-Mediterranean like weather, is the late winter/early spring flowering Cyclamen coum, a tuberous plant from areas of Turkey. Less frequently cultivated then its very close relative late summer/autumn flowering Cyclamen hederifolium this species had beautifully marbled leaves and flowers that can range from pure white to dark pink.



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