Cotoneaster microphyllus thymifolius is hard, ground hugging and rather like wire netting with leaves on. Planted in the rock garden it will follow and emphasise every rock and contour in a splendidly affectionate way.
One of the earliest to flower in April is C. x praecox, a lovely ghost of a plant when covered in pale cream flowers and excellent in association with the hybrid heaths. Cytisus purpureus atropurpureus is a fine prostrate dark purple broom for covering slopes in a rock garden. It is lovely on the sloping bank by a rock garden as is also the creamy-white C. x kewensis which flowers in May.
Crataegus oxyacantha has sported to give a wider choice. Standards should be avoided on exposed sites with poorly drained soil. The trees get top heavy and the root development, restricted by soil condition, is incapable of supporting them and the wind plays havoc. C. o. coccinea plena, the widely planted Double Crimson Thorn or Paul’s Double Scarlet has a lot to commend it.
C. salicifolius fructu-luteo berries furiously in my garden with big luscious fruits which are wax like in their creamy opaqueness – a gift to those who delight in the unusual. Last then to the queen, C. salicifoliusflocossus, narrowly columnar, the branches sweep the ground clothed in slender leaves which are hidden in October by masses of small red berries. If you grow floccosus then you must partner it with a cluster of Silver Queen pampas grass. Self-sown seedlings abound from cotoneaster, all are saved, then if found wanting, discarded.
I like to grow cytisus frorn seed as they flower when two or three years old and there is the joy of anticipation, not knowing what the colours are likely to be. The White Spanish Broom, Cytisus albus, has been a source of pleasure to me for years. It flowers profusely, has a graceful habit, and can be relied on to suffer most soils unless they are waterlogged. The ultimate height is about 8 ft. and, as with all brooms, the young shoots should be clipped over after flowering to keep the stems furnished to ground level.
Crataegus monogyna turns the hedgerows and coppices all over the Yorkshire Dales into billowing waves of white blossom in May and is equally lovely in October when covered in a multitude of crimson berries.
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