Because of the proximity of our neighbours’ gardens we have grown our hedge pretty high though I trim it neatly each year. Indeed it’s due for its winter crop, no small matter considering the height and extent. The problem, funnily enough with this much maligned tree, is not the height but the bottom. Because I do not want to gaze at a fairly bland green backdrop all the time I plant all sorts of things in front. Sometimes these compete for height and I do have problems with dead leylandii foliage but mainly it’s at the bottom where, unless I’m careful, brown patches develop. Leylandii is a bully but doesn’t like you to fight back. Touch it and it turns brown. Box hedging plants were my first line of attack, or is it defence, and these do grow where other plants are fearful of treading. Gradually where I’ve had dieback the box have covered the defects without the accelerated growth of the ‘host’. But neither do I want to dwell on the green of the box. I want colour and this chance seedling has delivered.
I am unable to name the plant though I have seen it at Harlow Carr underneath the restaurant and without a label. (The plant is no longer there!) I keep it from encroaching too much on the green hedging behind, cutting out any non-flowering, and therefore berrying shoots, and am rewarded for a couple of months before they ripen and become bird food, with a glorious crop of orange-red berries. Tucked away at the centre of this magnified segment one can clearly see the dead leylandii. But you have to look closely. This unnamed cotoneaster-like shrub serves a useful purpose and looks great. I do, by the way, have a low growing cotoneaster in another section of the hedge but forgot to take a picture of it for this post. It too is laden with berries.