This week our Garrya eliptica seemed to suddenly turn a corner. Almost overnight its long silvery catkins started to lengthen and our eyes were suddenly drawn to the back of the border.
The silk tassel bush as it’s also known is diocious, that is, male and female catkins form on separate plants, but it’s the male catkins that are most spectacular. The variety ‘James Roof’ has exceptionally long tassels that have earned the plant an Award of Garden Merit from the RHS.
Ours is a free standing specimen but it is often seen grown as a wall shrub. Neglected specimens can be cut back hard to promote new growth to keep them tight to the wall and the dense evergreen foliage is a great draw for birds during the nesting season.