Paul’s Plant of the Week

Pittosporum Tenuifolium “Tandara Gold”

Something a little different this week.  I’m not going for one of my beloved Perennials, I’m going for a shrub.

This little beauty has got to be one of my standout shrubs in the garden.  We have a few of the standards that you would expect to see, but this one is a little bit different.

I say little, they can grow to around the 3 metre mark, but ours is still young.  We bought it in the summer of 2016 but moved it in the spring of this year as it was getting overcrowded by other plants, and I really didn’t want this to get lost.

Currently standing at around 1metre in height at it’s tallest, but is busy up to about 60-70cm.  All the recent rains and sunshine and have given it a real growth boost over the last month.

T20170829_090454he tiny variegated leaves positively shine in the flower bed.  A vivid green in the centre of the leaf surrounded by a darker green at the edges, they are set off against the black stems which really makes them stand out and sing.  The leaves themselves are quite small, around 1-2cm in length at their largest.

Looking at the plant this morning I am amazed how much it’s grown this year.  When I moved it in the spring it stood at about 60cm, which means it’s added about another 40cm to it’s height in the past few months, and most of that seems to have been in July and August.

They do flower in early spring/summer (May & June I believe), however ours didn’t flower this year and it was obviously past flowering season when we purchased it last year.

I don’t know if this is a maturity thing as this is obviously relatively young as a shrub, or whether it’s just wasn’t happy when we moved it, but I’m hoping if we leave it alone for a season we might get to see it flower next year.20170829_090444

I’ve seen other shrubs in this family, but have to admit I haven’t seen this one around often.  I think we were lucky that our local plantery had a few in when we visited last year.  They certainly did have them again this year as I was tempted to get another one to plant alongside to make it more of a feature but it wasn’t in stock.

It wasn’t an expensive shrub either, you easily get used to paying over the odds in some garden centres, but at our local plantery this was under the £10 mark.  Yes it was small when we got it, and it didn’t really do much in it’s first year.  But this year it’s beginning to come in to its own, and hopefully will continue to grow and succeed.

Surrounded with purple Salvia and the long petals of the yellow Rudbeckia, I think this shrub looks stunning and rightly deserves a place in the flower bed.

I grew up in a garden that was full of shrubs, and they seem to have gone out of fashion a little bit in favour of perennials, but Shrubs can bring a magic of their own to the garden, in when winter hits and the perennials have gone, you can always (or nearly always) rely on the hardier shrubs to give you form and interest through the winter months.

In a garden like ours where the wind blows straight down it, you will always be grateful for the protection of shrubs as they help diffuse the gusts and give the less sturdy plants a chance of surviving.

Other than the green beetle in the photo (which I didn’t spot until I posted it!), I’ve not seen any bugs on this plant.  It has remained undamaged by garden pests and wildlife.

I’ll let you know next year if we see any flowers appear.  Who know’s, maybe going in to it’s 3rd year we might be lucky.

Pittosporum Tenuifolium “Tandara Gold”

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