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Yorkshire Roots Featured

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Spot the new bush ! Spot the new bush !

Gardening Diary 23rd November 2013

Coming from Yorkshire I'm blessed or cursed with those genes that control needless over-expenditure. Thus I'm inclined to shop around looking for the “best” deal – not always the wisest thing to do. Today we went to buy a shrub to replace one that gave up the ghost in a short run of hedge.

Back in 2007 I planted out eight common or cherry laurel (prunus laurocerasus caucasica) to form a short dividing hedge at the top of the garden. Three years later, only five had survived so I replaced the dead ones with new bushes. These were rather cheap at €4.50 each from the local supermarket, but unfortunately the leaves were a lighter colour than the originals. One of the replacement plants subsequently died so I needed to plug that gap, and now is a good time to be planting (St Catherine's day).

We are fortunate to have an excellent pépinière in Corme Royal,about five minutes from home. Although it's not the cheapest source of plants, it is excellently maintained and well-stocked with a huge range of plants. There I found lots of potted laurel bushes, in a range of sizes. Unfortunately the smallest was priced at € 11.90, which I was genetically programmed to consider too expensive. Thus a trip to “Secrets du Jardin” was called for. That pépinière is the opposite of our first port of call, and much further away. The enthusiastic owner has loads of plants but they are displayed in a rather “relaxed” fashion on a higgledy-piggledy site. We asked for a “laurier caucase” and were lead up a windy hillside until the gentleman eventually found a few. Selecting the largest (none were very big) we made our way back to the entrance, and found that we were being charged € 12. By now it was too late to back out, but I muttered all the way home that we should have bought the bush that we had seen two hours earlier and saved a 50 km round trip.

I've now planted this new arrival, and find that this too has lighter coloured leaves. I'm not best pleased with a hedge that apparently has two types of laurel since it will always look as if the more yellow leaves are a sign of a stressed plant. It will however still form a screen, and in years to come I might be able to replace the lighter bushes using hardwood cuttings that I've now taken.

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