Garrya (Silk Tassel Bush)
Common name: Silk tassel bush
Only one species of this shrub is in general cultivation, and is grown for its display of catkins in late winter.
Garrya elliptica is a native of the west coast of America, particularly California and Oregon, growing to around 3m (10ft) in height, with thick, leathery leaves. The catkins are freely produced, at first grey-green, then changing to a dull cream as they age. ‘James Roof’ (AGM) is the one to look out for, as its catkins are thicker, and longer at 35cm (14in) in length.
Soil type Moist, humus-rich, well-drained soils.
Planting Plant in early spring. Choose a sheltered spot in sun or light shade where the plant will not be subjected to cold winds (ideally where it will have the protection of a south facing-wall). Garrya resents root disturbance, so choose a sturdy young plant and set it out in a place where it will remain.
Maintenance Regularis not required. Any dead or straggly branches can be removed in the spring.
Pests and diseases Usually unaffected. Blackening or blotches on leaves is a sign of frost damage.