Best of the bunch: Mahonia

These evergreen flowering shrubs bring a burst of sunshine to the border in winter, with their pretty spikes of fragrant yellow flowers above rich, glossy leaves, followed by purple or black berries.

Saturday, 4th January 2014, 6:00 am
Mahonia. PA Photo/Thinkstockphotos.

They are tough and sucker freely, so keep them in check if you don’t want them invading the space of others.

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There are many varieties of mahonia, which range in height from 90cm-2.4m (3ft-8ft), so choose carefully. Recommended hybrid groups include M. media ‘Charity’, which bears lovely yellow spikes in winter, while glossy, wavy-edged foliage is produced by M. wagneri ‘Undulata’. For a real contrast, try M. aquifolium ‘Atropurpurea’, which has purple leaves in winter.

Most mahonias grow in any reasonable soil and will even survive in shady spots.