Aucuba Japonica Variegata also known as the spotted Laurel will just about grow in any position in the garden.
We have always been a fan of the Aucuba. The fondness for this one started many years ago when we had our first house with a garden. Directly underneath the kitchen window was a fully north facing border, virtually couldn’t get a thing to grow in this spot. That was until we tried the Aucuba and hey presto that’s where it remained until we moved sixteen years later, well you never know its maybe still there.
If in your garden there is a position where you find virtually nothing grows, perhaps it may be in full shade, or the soil may be very poor and dry. Whatever the reason don’t despair, the spotted Laurel is just what you are looking for.
The large leaves of this evergreen shrub are splashed with pale yellow. The purple flowers in April/May are rather insignificant, however once established clusters of large red berries can appear from mid Summer right through till late Winter , if the plant happens to be in the mood that is and of course as long as you have a male and female plant, ask at the nursery for guidance regarding this.
We had one particular year when the largest one in the round garden was smothered with berries, never been quite so abundant again. I suspect that the reason for this urge to berry was due to the fact that several months before, I set fire to a wasps nest (byke) that had formed very near to this Aucuba and did indeed cause considerable damage to it.
It can take a couple of years for the growth to really get going, encourage this by pruning back straggly stems, the one above looks like its in need of a little attention..
The one position where Aucuba may start to look a bit sickly is where drainage may be poor and suffering from being waterlogged. An annual dressing of ericaceous compost will be beneficial. Aucuba is fully hardy in the Aberdeen area, the Winter of 2011 the most severe that I can recall left one of the Aucubas with quite a bit of blackening of the leaves, recovered fully in Spring. In forty years I have never seen this happen before, Winter conditions may have been nearer that of Canada where I hear from time to time Aucuba is not so very hardy
This one below in the woodland garden would take over if left to its own devices.
I may well be flogging a dead horse with this one. Since I started blogging I have heard a lot of folks say how they are not so very fond of Aucuba, in fact it is much hated by some. Ah well there you are, I like it.
• Hardiness – Fully hardy
• Position – Full sun/Full shade
• Height – Keep it any height you wish
*** Aucuba ***
Most gardeners these days tend to be very considerate regarding the care of the environment. However I feel sure that this little tale below sent to me by my brother would appeal to your sense of humour.
When at a store checkout the young cashier suggested to the older woman that she should bring her own shopping bags in future because plastic bags weren’t good for the environment. The woman apologised and explained, “We didn’t have this green thing back in my earlier days.” The cashier responded, “That’s our problem today. Your generation did not care enough to save our environment for future generations.”
She was right; our generation didn’t have the green thing in its day. Back then, we returned milk bottles to the farm, pop bottles and beer bottles to the shop. They sent them back to the plant to be washed, sterilized and refilled, so the same bottles could be used over and over again. So they really were recycled. We refilled writing pens with ink instead of buying a new pen and we replaced the razor blades in a razor instead of throwing away the whole razor just because the blade got blunt. But we didn’t have the green thing back in our day.
We walked up stairs, because we didn’t have an escalator in every shop and office building. We walked to the shop and didn’t climb into a 300-horsepower machine every time we had to go two streets. But she was right. We didn’t have the green thing in our day.
Back then, we washed the baby’s nappies because we didn’t have the throw-away kind. We dried clothes on a line, not in an energy gobbling machine burning up 2200 watts; wind and solar power really did dry our clothes back in our early days. Kids got hand-me–down clothes from their brothers or sisters, not always brand-new clothing. But that young lady is right. We didn’t have the green thing back in our day.
Back then we had one TV, or radio, in the house not a TV in every room. The TV had a small screen the size of a handkerchief (remember them?), not a screen the size of the county of Yorkshire. In the kitchen we blended and stirred by hand because we didn’t have electric machines to do everything for us. When we packaged a fragile item to send in the post, we used wadded up old newspapers to cushion it, not polystyrene or plastic bubble wrap. Back then we didn’t fire up an engine and burn petrol just to cut the lawn. We used a push mower that ran on human power. We exercised by working so we didn’t need to go to a health club to run on treadmills that operate on electricity. But she’s right. We didn’t have the green thing back then.
We drank water from a fountain or a tap when we were thirsty instead of demanding a plastic bottle flown in from another country. We accepted that a lot of food was seasonal and didn’t expect to have out of season products flown thousands of air miles around the world. We actually cooked food that didn’t come out of a packet, tin or plastic wrapping and we could even wash our own vegetables and chop our own salad. But we didn’t have the green thing back then.
Back then, people caught a train or a bus, and kids rode their bikes to school or walked instead of turning their mothers into a 24-hour taxi service. We had one electrical socket in a room, not an entire bank of sockets to power a dozen appliances. We didn’t need a computerised gadget to receive a signal beamed from satellites 2,000 miles out in space in order to find the nearest pizza place. But isn’t it sad the current generation laments how wasteful we oldies were just because we didn’t have the green thing back then?
Please forward this on to another selfish person who needs a lesson in conservation from a smart-ass young person. Remember: Don’t make old people mad. We don’t like being old in the first place, so it doesn’t take much to **** us off……..