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Aucuba Japonica Variegata — 50 Comments

  1. Loved your article about ‘having the green thing back then’ – you are so right, lol!

  2. Hi Alistair, I think I like aucuba, I just haven’t made my mind up about it yet. The main reason is because if I did have a such a plant, I couldn’t think of anywhere I could put it where it would “fit” well into its surroundings – a bit horticultural planning permission.

  3. Hi Alistair, unfortunately this month’s Gardens Illustrated is casting aspersions on our love of Aucuba Japonica! “The term ‘flower arranger’s garden is sadly evocative of spotted laurel and Lawson’s cypress, those staples of 1970s pew ends.”

    I nearly choked on my cornflakes when I read that one.


  4. Those Aucuba look great. They are very common here in Seattle & they almost always look awful! It’s no wonder people hate them. I think the problem is that folks plant them in sun.

  5. I loved this post! I am a fan of acuba. I have three and want more. Mine are still small. I have never seen any berries, and I have no idea what sex mine are! I think the reason some people dislike this plant is that acubas are too often misplaced, mispruned, or uncared for. They need to be in a woodland or garden setting where their colors can brighten a corner or complement other plants. Yours is gorgeous. I also really enjoyed the ‘green thing’ story. How true!

  6. Hi Kininvie. you really did make me laugh you old bugger. You may have been gone but I reckon not hiding your light under a bushel. A plain Aucuba, that’s like a leopard without spots. I will get a pot of dulux soft yellow and head down your way to sort things out. Good to hear from you again!

  7. Hi Alistair,I’ve emerged from hibernation, and the first thing I find on your blog is a horrible yellow-spotted thing which reminds me of the worst of gloomy Victorian shrubberies. That said, I seem to have acquired a laurel from somewhere (though thankfully it is a plain one) and it does a fair old job of hiding an ugly fence. But do these plants have virtue? Does your heart lift when you see them? In my case, no. But each to their own…:-)

  8. Goodness, Alistair, you made me feel nostalgic for the good old days of shopping on foot (and carrying all those shopping bags :)) and no plastic… Back then I wouldn’t use a telephone to take a picture or to write a letter. On the other hand, I wasn’t blogging either :).

  9. Hi Alistair
    I really like the look of the Aucuba and it’s good to know that it grows in dry shade, but alas! Basically Zones 6-10 and we are a zone 5. But I do like to push the envelope sometimes – maybe if I planted it in a very sheltered spot…..
    I enjoyed the “green” story. Lots of good points were made – I hope I remember some of them if I ever get caught in a discussion like that!

  10. Hi Alistair, loved the ‘green thing’ story, I must be old then, since I remember all these things!
    I planted an aucuba in the next door garden, when I did it up 2 years ago (wow, is it actually 2 years already!), it is doing well, has tripled in size. I have thought about putting one in my troubled corner under my conifer, nothing grows there! I think I have tried 7-8 plants there and at the moment I have a suffering hebe that looks awful. I am a bit reluctant to put an aucuba there as the space is not very big, tall put not more than max 60cm wide. When mature, can I prune it into shape?
    As always, thanks ever so much for all your great info.

  11. Carolyn,very true, and we needed and got even less when I was growing up. A stick and an old bicycle wheel and mother didn’t see us for most of the daylight hours.

  12. Two aucubas here, they were cuttings years back. They just sit, under a Live Oak. Yours look so healthy and vigorous.

  13. Alistair, I love aucubas and have three different kinds. My favorite is the narrow-leafed cultivar, maybe ‘Salicifolia’ which I grow in the dark. As you say they are such handy plants for areas where nothing else grows and the berries are huge and gorgeous. But when I included them in a shrub offer to my nursery customers I sold one. I have seen the green thing before. It always makes me think that there are two problems, consumption and the way things are produced. We do produce things in a more environmentally conscious way today but we more than make up for the environmental gains by what we consume. We “need” so much more than we did when I was growing up and that wasn’t all that long ago. How did we let “them” convince us to buy all this stuff?

  14. I grow Aucuba too and appreciate the fact that it will grow where little else will. I shared that nostalgic snippet a few weeks on my facebook page. Those were the pioneering days of recycling and I used to love getting money back on the mineral bottles.

  15. Hi Donna, I think it may just be since I changed my theme that this is happening as it doesn’t seem to matter whether you have this box. It still isn’t picking it up.

  16. I don’t like to think of myself as old but I do remember most of your memories. I would hate to be a child today defined by what mobile gadget or trainers my parents were able to afford.

    The only good thing about modern times is blogging …

  17. Hi Alistair, I am glad to find someone else that likes the Aucuba. I recently read an article implying they were common-old-garden and boring but I like mine. Like you say, they flourish in difficult spots and they have also been nice and easy for me as I haven’t been gardening for that long. I didn’t know about the top dressing of ericaceous compost so thanks for that one. I have two and tried to make some more with cuttings but they didn’t work. Cuttings is an area where I need to learn a bit more!

    Hope you get your blog hitch sorted soon, I sympathise because I hate having to fiddle around with computers when they don’t behave.


  18. I know many people think the Aucuba is ugly, I never used to like them very much but I have changed my opinion. I think it is an excellent plant to light up a shady spot in a garden. It will grow almost anywhere here in the Netherlands and responds so well to pruning too.
    Love the environment story. As a young person, I do feel the world has become increasingly fastidious and wasteful, even more then my childhood in the eighties. I try to do things different, but it’s hard. Products are not the quality they used to be so you get sucked whether you like it or not into this cycle of consuming and throwing out.

  19. Alistair, you made this comment to Janet, “When you were placing your comment can you tell me if the box for adding your blog address was missing as I have no linkbacks now.” Yes the box is missing, but on my blog YOU do not leave your link and I do have a box. I really like to use those links when visiting. I very much enjoyed the ‘old timers’ story. As with all generations, there is a case to be made for what each has contributed, both good and bad. It was a humorous story though!

  20. I tend to think like you Alistair, Aucuba japonica is useful! I have a vacant area in shade to the rear of my shed – nothing else seems to grow. I planted Aucuba to form a hedge and will leave it to it’s own devices to fill out the space. If nothing else, it will provide an area for the birds to shelter.
    My grandfather used to have a hedge of Aucuba japonica along the length of his garden. It was always very eyecatching and I took my inspiration from this.
    Loving the ‘Green Thing’ – just how true!!!! My pet hate is that some stores sell you plastic bags – money to charity and all that – but when you compare the amount of plastic that our goods are wrapped in, bottled in or moulded in, it really is a joke!
    Super blog!

  21. I have made bad changes in the past Donna, I am very pleased with my current set up but the missing option to place your blog urls is doing my head in.

  22. It’s a lovely plant Alistair. Another form worth keeping an eye on is the ‘Great Dixter’ form which is variegated but has narrow leaves. And your second post made me smile and yes, it was an irresponsible remark from that ‘young one’ on the check out….

  23. I did but you are further along than me and braver…I still am not sure of what changes I want…

  24. Hi Donna, I think the Aucuba does have an exotic look which makes me smile, considering our dreich weather. I have indeed been dabbling and as usual screwed some things up, did you notice that the box to add your own blog url was missing.

  25. Alistair, this plant is so exotic looking. I checked out its hardiness and unfortunately it is not hardy for me…I love the story as it reminds me to harken back to days of old and maybe capture some of those wonderful times I experienced. I see you have been dabbling with the look of your blog a bit…looks good!

  26. Hi Holley, the green thing probably is even funnier to folk of my age. Try one Aucuba only, I would hate to be wrong. Thanks for letting me know about the missing url box, now to think of how to resolve this.

  27. Loved the “green thing” rant! Made my day – and I read it to my husband, too. I hate those plastic bags. I try to get the paper ones – I use them in my garden. You asked Janet if the box to add her blog address was missing, and I will tell you that it is for me. As for the aucuba – it is very pretty. And if it is like you say – this is what you’re looking for where virtually nothing grows – then I need several of them! 🙂

  28. Hi Janet, thought I may be able to win you over. Edgeworthia, well if it was hardy enough for this area I think I would also swap it with one of our Aucubas. When you were placing your comment can you tell me if the box for adding your blog address was missing as I have no linkbacks now.

  29. Chortle… I think you know you are fighting a losing battle on the Aucuba front with me, though I do love the plain form, but you make a worthy case for anyone not allergic to variegation! My last one is going to make way for a Edgeworthia chrysantha ‘Grandiflora’, but vive la difference, I say! And I love the “we didn’t have the green thing” piece. Ouch…

  30. Hi Alistair, thank you for reminding me of the Aucuba. This plant brings back fond memories of my lovely Grandmother as she had one in her front garden and cherished the plant so much she told me as a 4 year old boisterous child that if I were to go near it I would catch the yellow spots off it. As I already had enough freckles of my own I stayed well clear :-). I had forgotten all about the Aucuba and how cheery it always looked through the year. I shall be looking around at the gardening sites and garden centers near me and find a male and female plant as I have the perfect spot for the plant. Once again you have given me a great idea and I shall use it in my garden. Oh and I loved the ‘green thing’ story

  31. Hi Alistair, that plant looks like a tropical plant in growth, although of course it is temperate. But it is looking so lovely to compliment the cold in your garden. I remember our Sanchezia here and the Dracaena surculosa, also with spotted variegations. Your photo processing added more wintery feelings to them, beautiful. That added article even if i read a few times before is really true, and depressing.

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