..."What's one of them?" I hear you ask.
No, you probably all already knew about this shrub, but for some reason I have never encountered it before last week.
Well, I know the reason why - it's not a fully hardy shrub, and as such I would not expect to find it in any of my gardens, where phrases like "value for money" and "doesn't require faffing" are frequently aired.
But I haven't even seen it in garden centres, and I do like to wander round the plant sections... I can't imagine how I'd missed it.
Anyway, I was recently out walking around Buckland, which is a village just north of the A420 - pretty, but somewhat blighted by the noise of the road, and having to always plan your journeys so that you don't have to risk death by turning right out of the village across the A420......
...and on the front of one of the cottages, right on the road, I was intrigued by an espaliered shrub that I simply didn't recognise. It had tiny, pretty, leaves, not so much oak-shaped as shaped like those of Hydrangea quercifolia: very downy underneath, and it was still flowering, even in December!
Here is the main body of the plant... and yes, it's a south-facing wall, but it's right onto the road, no sheltering garden or wall, just the main stem going straight down into the tarmac. Heaven knows where it finds water and nourishment!
And here is one of the flowers:
Aren't they lovely?
If you google for it and look at images, you can see that in a good year, it is completely smothered with these large, saucer-shaped yellow flowers, and it's an absolute picture!
As I said, I didn't recognise it, so I took a leaf home and identified it.
And then, just one week later, I was working for the second time in a new garden that I have take on over the winter, and blow me, there was another one! Freeform this time, rather than espaliered, and again, grown against a south-facing wall but not in a particularly sheltered position, and again, not into good garden soil, but right on the edge of a concrete path.
So beware, clients, I am going to be singing the praises of this plant, and will be trying to find sheltered nooks for it...