The Gardeners Almanac

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My Back Garden


Common name: Silk Tassel Bush

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Week Numbers


Frost Pockets

Heel cuttings



Planting out


Soil pH


A view of the catkins

Garrya catkins

Garrya is a flowering evergreen shrub that can grow to a height and spread of 4-5metres (12-16ft).

Although classified as hardy it is perhaps prudent to give the shrub some sort of protection in the colder exposed areas of the UK.

When purchasing the plant check to see which sex you are buying.

Both the male and female varieties flower and produce pendulous catkins, however, the female flowers and catkins are much smaller than the males.

To produce fruit, plants of both sexes are required.

Although shade tolerant, plants will perform at their best in full sun.

Generally no pruning is required, however to keep the plant a decent size and shape remove any crossing, rubbing or badly placed shoots,and dead,diseased, or damaged shoots as the catkins begin to fade, but before new growth starts.

Catkins appear on previous year’s wood so be careful not to cut too much away.

If grown against a wall plants can be trained into a fan shape by selecting the the strongest, best-placed shoots and tying them in to a trellis or wires that is fixed to the wall.


Circa Week 14:

Check over plant/s and remove any winter damage to established plants and remove any old discoloured leaves or catkin remains.

Week 16:

Plant out plants in a well drained acid soil in a spot that is protected from the worst of the winter weather, against a south or west facing wall is ideal.

Garrya resent root disturbance so only buy containerised plants to minimise this potential problem.

Protect the root system with mulch, and cover the shrub with fleece or polythene in its first winter.

Week 18:

Pot up the rooted cuttings (taken the previous year) into 100mm pots and grow them on in a coldframe for another year.

Week 32:

Take heel cuttings and place them in a cold frame to root.

Week 36:

Layer low growing side shoots and allow them to root over a period of one or two years before severing from the parent plant.