Curator’s Corner – December Edition
December’s Plant of the Month – MAHONIA
by Michael White – Garden Curator
This genus has so many Irish connections as it was named to honour Irishman Bernard McMahon and some of the most widely grown cultivars in gardens were Irish-raised. Here at Mount Congreve, we grow almost sixty different forms and all can be located on or near the fragrant walk. With so many in the collection one or another is in flower from July to April. This month an Irish-raised cultivar Mahonia x media ‘Charity’ is at its best with upright panicles of bright yellow fragrant flowers held above spiky attractive foliage on vase-shaped plants.
Mahonia japonica that carries what I consider to be the best fragrance is also starting to flower . Others such as Mahonia russelii from Mexico with its soft creamy yellow flowers , Mahonia eurybracteata subsp. ganpinensis ‘Soft Caress’ and Mahonia fortunei can also be seen flowering. Mahonias raised and named at Mount Congreve such as Mahonia ‘Skybound’ , ‘Golightly’ , ‘Jimi Blake ‘ are also worth checking out and one of the best new cultivars Mahonia ‘Esme’ just about to flower.
Other plants to see
Camellia sasanqua ‘Narumi gata’ on drive above the house
Camellia sasanqua ‘Plantation Pink’ top of bluebell walk
Rhododendron ‘Nobleanum’ in Doyles wood