x-Garrya elliptica 'James Roof'
Garryas have to be one of the most wonderful ways to clothe a wall and Garrya elliptica 'James Roof' is the very best of all.
An evergreen shrub it has wavy, leathery leaves with a soft, wooly down on their undersides and in winter is dripping in pendant, silky-green catkins.
All garryas have catkins but male plants, such as 'James Roof' have the most impressive and can often be 20cm long. It is quite a sight and particularly lovely, early on a frosty morning when the graceful, silver catkins contrast beautifully with the deep green leaves.
Thriving in well-drained, reasonably fertile soil, garrya is best grown in full sun against a wall or at the back of a border.
It is frost hardy and will need protection through the winter in colder areas, so the warmer the wall the better. Otherwise, it is a tough plant, tolerant of city pollution and coastal conditions but is not happy being transplanted, so choose its spot carefully rather than moving it later. Once planted it needs very little, just prune to keep in shape in mid spring.
'James Roof' is an elegant, architectural plant and makes a striking statement on a feature wall. It shines at the back of mixed borders through the winter months – plant with spring bulbs, hellebores and dark leaved evergreen shrubs like viburnum, camellia or myrtle or surround with bright herbaceous perennials and silver leaved plants, such as eryngiums and echinops as a foil, when the catkins have gone in the spring and summer.