One of my favourite trees at this time of year is Cotoneaster ‘Cornubia’ AGM, in fact, it’s one of my favourite trees full stop. Looking after the Winter Walk at RHS Garden Harlow Carr means that I’m always drawn to anything that has strong winter interest; whether it be structure, bark, flowers, scent, foliage or indeed berries like cotoneasters as a whole.
Not just for Christmas
But this tree isn’t only interesting in the winter months, it ticks many boxes and is perfect as a medium sized specimen to grow in almost any garden.
As many other cotoneasters do, ‘Cornubia’ has a gracefully arching habit. The foliage is a rich deep green, and in all but the coldest winters is mostly evergreen. Around June the branches are festooned in clusters of white flowers, which are a great source of nectar to bees, making the whole tree buzz.
As summer progresses the flowers begin to swell into tiny green berries, which as summer fades into autumn turn scarlet red. By late autumn when many other trees are almost naked, Cotoneaster ‘Cornubia’ steals the show, its branches dripping with beautiful berries contrasting perfectly with the foliage.
A great garden shrub
When considering a tree for a small to medium sized garden it’s hard to beat this one. Good form, year round interest, food for bees and other insects, and bountiful berries for hungry birds – a perfect choice.
We have a couple here at Harlow Carr, a relatively new one is just getting settled on the Winter Walk with other winter interest plants such as Cornus. However, the ones to see right now are a group of three just a few hundred yards into the arboretum, here they have been allowed to mature with little intervention and as a result are displaying everything that is good about this choice plant.
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