Plant of the Month by Martin Fish
Martin Fish is a gardening columnist, broadcaster, speaker, RHS judge and all-round horticulture expert. He writes for publications including Garden Answers, Kitchen Garden and Which? Gardening.
We have worked with Martin closely over a number of years and each month he will be choosing a favourite Plant of the Month for us, with tips and advice for planting and growing in the garden.
If you want to try something a little unusual in your garden I can recommend Edgeworthia chrysantha, also known as the “Paper bush”. It is a lovely spring-flowering shrub that grows to around 1.5m (5ft) and originally comes from woodland areas of the Himalayas and China. The flower buds develop over winter on the tips of the bare stems and open as clusters of small, fragrant yellow flowers in spring. In mild areas it can start to flower in early spring, but this year with the cold weather it’s going to be a little later and certainly in my North Yorkshire garden. After flowering, the large ovate, green foliage develops which is very decorative and, as the shrub matures, it develops a papery bark, hence it’s common name.
The books say that edgeworthia is frost hardy and will withstand temperatures down to -5°C, but my plant has survived -10°C. However, it’s always best grown in a sheltered sunny position or in a large container that can be moved against a sunny wall for protection.
I like it because it’s a bit different, has beautiful flowers and a delicate scent. It’s also guaranteed to be a talking point when people see it in the garden!