Phillyrea angustifolia

A fabulous small leaved evergreen hedging plant often mistaken for a variety of olive or Bay, that really does deserve better recognition. Six centimetere long narrow evergreen leaves, pale green when young then darkening to a very deep lustrous green (in the photo opposite which is from the 2014 Telegraph Chelsea Flower Show garden, Phillyrea angustifolia are the two gorgeous dark green topiary domes at the front and back of the picture). The small leaves seem to catch and reflect the light and they clip beautifully, keep them as a hedge of 50-250cm in height, or as you can see – very nice topiary speciems and as they have the ability to grow taller if desired  making excellent cloud topiary subjects too. This is also a nice shrub to grow on its own, anywhere that could use a little screening or evergreen height that looks neat and tidy all year.

Older shrubs that arent tightly clipped will carry many fragrant creamy yellow flowers along the branches in small clusters during May and June.

Phillyrea angustifolia is hardy (-15C for sure) and not a difficult plant to grow, any reasonable garden soil is good as long as its not boggy in winter, and they do prefer full sun. Hedges and topiary are best trimmed during the summer months and the young shrubs have the advantage of developing satifyiingly quickly at 20-40cm per year (Faster than Box, on a par/slightly faster than with Yew!). This is an excellent seaside plant too, seemingly immune to the salty winds.

New Phillyrea angustifolia hedges should be planted using 3-5 plants per metre, with the higher number reserved for the lower hedges at 50cm to ensure there are no low level gaps.