Gardening: Adam and Eve it

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'.

IN THE PINK: Viburnum tinus Eve Price is now a mainstay of many British gardens.

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.

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‘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.