Flowering Now: Stachyurus praecox

The flowers of Stachyurus praecox are like rows of seed pearls dangling from a expensive earring. A deciduous shrub, Stachyurus hails from the mountains of the Eastern Himalaya and Japan, but is perfectly at home in the UK. I first came across this shapely shrub in the gardens of Caerhays Castle, Cornwall, standing out amongst the dark leaved camellias. Stachyurus praecox var. matsuzakii is a superior form, with larger leaves and longer flowers. Just treat it to a moist, neutral to acid soil in partial shade, or train against a sheltered wall.