Gardening: Adam and Eve it

IN THE PINK: Viburnum tinus 'Eve Price' is now a mainstay of many British gardens.
IN THE PINK: Viburnum tinus 'Eve Price' is now a mainstay of many British gardens.
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This is all about Eve; not about the film starring Bette Davis, nor even about the British goth band with Yorkshire connections, famed for their hit Martha’s Harbour, but all about the evergreen shrub ‘Eve Price’.

Viburnum tinus ‘Eve Price’ is now a mainstay of many British gardens where it thrives despite being a native of warmer climes such as the Mediterranean and North Africa.

Even in really bad winters and cold springs, when frost can lay low many a shrub, ‘Eve Price’ always seems to be able to take the weather in its stride; the evergreen leaves may be a bit scorched and one or two branches may die back, but within weeks everything is back to normal.

‘Eve Price’s’ glossy green leaves remain that way all year round, which is one of the reasons the shrub has become so popular – it has become a permanent part of mixed borders where it can be kept within bounds by regular pruning. It can even be seen cultivated as a hedge, usually informal rather than clipped to perfection.

The flowers appear over a long period from late winter to spring. The pink flower buds open to tiny, star-shaped white flowers, carried in flattened heads and these are followed by small dark blue-black fruits.

Give the plant a fertile, moist soil and it should thrive. It doesn’t demand a site in full sun, so it’s also valued as a shrub for shady spots.

And patio gardeners have discovered that ‘Eve Price’ is ideal for a large container where it can be left to form an elegant little shrub or else be miniaturised by precise pruning.

Another popular form of Viburnum tinus is ‘Spirit’, a dense, rounded, bushy, evergreen shrub which boasts clusters of pink buds which open to lightly scented white flowers from November right up until May.

And then there’s ‘Lisarose’, a valuable garden staple to provide year-round interest with red buds and creamy white flowers, which appear in flattened clusters from midwinter onwards.

Tough and tolerant of shade, this is another low-maintenance shrub that works equally well in the shrub border or in a large pot. Like ‘Eve Price’, it can also be used to make an informal flowering hedge.

And if that isn’t enough, there is a variegated variety, Viburnum tinus ‘Variegatum’, which is pale pink in bud and white in flower.