Hardy Ornamental Flowering Trees and Shrubs – B

BACCHARIS.

BACCHARIS HALIMIFOLIA.—Groundsel Tree or Sea Purslane.
North America. For seaside planting this is an invaluable shrub, as
it succeeds well down even to high water mark, and where it is
almost lashed by the salt spray. The flowers are not very
ornamental, resembling somewhat those of the Groundsel, but white
with a tint of purple. Leaves obovate in shape, notched, and
thickly covered with a whitish powder, which imparts to them a
pleasing glaucous hue. Any light soil that is tolerably dry suits
well the wants of this shrub, but it is always seen in best
condition by the seaside. Under favourable conditions it attains to
a height of 12 feet, with a branch spread nearly as much in
diameter. A native of the North American coast from Maryland to
Florida.

B. PATAGONICA.—Megallan. This is a very distinct and quite
hardy species, with small deep green leaves and white flowers. It
succeeds under the same conditions as the latter.

BERBERIDOPSIS.

BERBERIDOPSIS CORALLINA.—Coral Barberry. Chili, 1862. This
handsome evergreen, half-climbing shrub is certainly not so well
known as its merits entitle it to be. Unfortunately it is not hardy
in every part of the country, though in the southern and western
English counties, but especially within the influence of the sea,
it succeeds well as a wall plant, and charms us with its globular,
waxy, crimson or coral-red flowers. The spiny-toothed leaves
approach very near those of some of the Barberries, and with which
the plant is nearly allied. It seems to do best in a partially
shady situation, and in rich light loam.

BERBERIS.

BERBERIS AQUIFOLIUM (syn Mahonia
Aquifolium
).—Holly-leaved Barberry. North America, 1823.
This justly ranks as one of the handsomest, most useful, and
easily-cultivated of all hardy shrubs. It will grow almost any
where, and in any class of soil, though preferring a fairly rich
loam. Growing under favourable conditions to a height of 6 feet,
this North American shrub forms a dense mass of almost impenetrable
foliage. The leaves are large, dark shining green, thickly beset
with spines, while the deliciously-scented yellow flowers, which
are produced at each branch tip, render the plant particularly
attractive in spring. It is still further valuable both on account
of the rich autumnal tint of the foliage, and pretty plum colour of
the plentifully produced fruit.

B. AQUIFOLIUM REPENS (syn Mahonia repens).—Creeping
Barberry. This is of altogether smaller growth than the preceding,
but otherwise they seem nearly allied. From its dense, dwarf
growth, rising as it rarely does more than a foot from the ground,
and neat foliage, this Barberry is particularly suitable for edging
beds, or forming a low evergreen covering for rocky ground or
mounds.

B. ARISTATA, a native of Nepaul, is a vigorous-growing species,
resembling somewhat our native plant, with deeply serrated leaves,
brightly tinted bark, and yellow flowers. It is of erect habit,
branchy, and in winter is rendered very conspicuous by reason of
the bright reddish colour of the leafless branches.

B. BEALEI (syn Mahonia Bealli).—Japan. This species
is one of the first to appear in bloom, often by the end of January
the plant being thickly studded with flowers. It is a handsome
shrub, of erect habit, the leaves of a yellowish-green tint, and
furnished with long, spiny teeth. The clusters of racemes of
deliciously fragrant yellow flowers are of particular value, being
produced so early in the season.

B. BUXIFOLIA (syn B. dulcis and B.
microphylla
).—Straits of Magellan, 1827. A neat and
erect-growing shrub of somewhat stiff and upright habit, and
bearing tiny yellow flowers. This is a good rockwork plant, and
being of neat habit, with small purplish leaves, is well worthy of
cultivation.

B. CONGESTIFLORA, from Chili, is not yet well-known, but
promises to become a general favourite with lovers of hardy shrubs.
It is of unusual appearance for a Barberry, with long, decumbent
branches, which are thickly covered with masses of orange-yellow
flowers. The branch-tips, being almost leafless and smothered with
flowers, impart to the plant a striking, but distinctly ornamental
appearance.

B. DARWINII.—Chili, 1849. This is, perhaps, the best known
and most ornamental of the family. It forms a dense bush, sometimes
10 feet high, with dark glossy leaves, and dense racemes of
orange-yellow flowers, produced in April and May, and often again
in the autumn.

B. EMPETRIFOLIA.—Straits of Magellan, 1827. This is a
neat-habited and dwarf evergreen species, that even under the best
cultivation rarely exceeds 2 feet in height. It is one of the
hardiest species, and bears, though rather sparsely, terminal
golden-yellow flowers, which are frequently produced both in spring
and autumn. For its compact growth and neat foliage it is alone
worthy of culture.

B. FORTUNEI (syn Mahonia Fortunei).—China, 1846.
This is rather a rare species in cultivation, with finely toothed
leaves, composed of about seven leaflets, and bearing in abundance
clustered racemes of individually small yellow flowers. A native of
China, and requiring a warm, sunny spot to do it justice.

B. GRACILIS (syn Mahonia gracilis).—Mexico. A
pretty, half-hardy species, growing about 6 feet high, with slender
branches, and shining-green leaves with bright red stalks. Flowers
small, in 3-inch long racemes, deep yellow with bright red
pedicels. Fruit globular, deep purple.

B. ILICIFOLIA (syn B. Neumanii).—South America,
1791. This is another handsome evergreen species from South
America, and requires protection in this country. The thick,
glossy-green leaves, beset with spines, and large orange-red
flowers, combine to make this species one of great interest and
beauty.

B. JAPONICA (syn Mahonia japonica).—Japan. This is
not a very satisfactory shrub in these isles, although in warm
seaside districts, and when planted in rich loam, on a gravelly
subsoil, it forms a handsome plant with noble foliage, and
deliciously fragrant yellow flowers.

B. NEPALENSIS (syn Mahonia nepalensis).—Nepaul
Barberry. This is a noble Himalayan species that one rarely sees in
good condition in this country, unless when protected by glass. The
long, chalky-white stems, often rising to 8 feet in height, are
surmounted by dense clusters of lemon-yellow flowers. Planted
outdoors, this handsome and partly evergreen Barberry must have the
protection of a wall.

B. NERVOSA (syn Mahonia glumacea).—North America,
1804. This, with its terminal clusters of reddish-yellow flowers
produced in spring, is a highly attractive North-west American
species. It is of neat and compact growth, perfectly hardy, but as
yet it is rare in cultivation. The autumnal leafage-tint is very
attractive.

B. PINNATA (syn Mahonia facicularis).—A native of
Mexico, this species is of stout growth, with long leaves, that are
thickly furnished with sharp spines. The yellow flowers are
produced abundantly, and being in large bunches render the plant
very conspicuous. It is, unfortunately, not very hardy, and
requires wall protection to do it justice.

B. SINENSIS.—China, 1815. This is a really handsome and
distinct species, with twiggy, deciduous branches, from the
undersides of the arching shoots of which the flowers hang in great
profusion. They are greenish-yellow inside, but of a dark
brownish-crimson without, while the leaves are small and round, and
die off crimson in autumn.

B. STENOPHYLLA, a hybrid between B. Darwinii and B.
empetrifolia, is one of the handsomest forms in cultivation, the
wealth of golden-yellow flowers being remarkable, as is also the
dark purple berries. It is very hardy, and of the freest
growth.

B. TRIFOLIOLATA (syn Mahonia trifoliolata).—Mexico,
1839. This is a very distinct and beautiful Mexican species that
will only succeed around London as a wall plant. It grows about a
yard high, with leaves fully 3 inches long, having three terminal
sessile leaflets, and slender leaf stalks often 2 inches long. The
ternate leaflets are of a glaucous blue colour, marbled with dull
green, and very delicately veined. Flowers small, bright yellow,
and produced in few-flowered axillary racemes on short peduncles.
The berries are small, globular, and light red.

B. TRIFURCA (syn Mahonia trifurca).—China, 1852.
This is a shrub of neat low growth, but it does not appear to be at
all plentiful.

B. VULGARIS.—Common Barberry. This is a native species,
with oblong leaves, and terminal, drooping racemes of yellow
flowers. It is chiefly valued for the great wealth of
orange-scarlet fruit. There are two very distinct forms, one
bearing silvery and the other black fruit, and named respectively
B. vulgaris fructo-albo and B. vulgaris fructo-nigro.

B. WALLICHIANA (syn B. Hookeri).—Nepaul, 1820. This
is exceedingly ornamental, whether as regards the foliage, flowers,
or fruit. It is of dense, bushy growth, with large, dark green
spiny leaves, and an abundance of clusters of clear yellow flowers.
The berries are deep violet-purple, and fully half-an-inch long.
Being perfectly hardy and of free growth it is well suited for
extensive planting.

BERCHEMIA.

BERCHEMIA VOLUBILIS.—Climbing Berchemia. Carolina, 1714. A
rarely seen, deciduous climber, bearing rather inconspicuous
greenish-yellow flowers, succeeded by attractive, violet-tinted
berries. The foliage is neat and pretty, the individual leaves
being ovate in shape and slightly undulated or wavy. It is a
twining shrub that in this country, even under favourable
circumstances, one rarely sees ascending to a greater height than
about 12 feet. Sandy peat and a shady site suits it best, and so
placed it will soon cover a low-growing tree or bush much in the
way that our common Honeysuckle does. It is propagated from layers
or cuttings.

BIGNONIA.

BIGNONIA CAPREOLATA—Virginia and other parts of America,
1710. This is not so hardy as to be depended upon throughout the
country generally, though in the milder parts of England and
Ireland it succeeds well as a wall plant. It is a handsome climbing
shrub, with long, heart-shaped leaves, usually terminating in
branched tendrils, and large orange flowers produced singly.

BILLARDIERA.

BILLARDIERA LONGIFLORA.—Blue Apple Berry. Van Diemen’s
Land, 1810. If only for its rich, blue berries, as large as those
of a cherry, this otherwise elegant climbing shrub is well worthy
of a far greater share of attention than it has yet received, for
it must be admitted that it is far from common. The greenish
bell-shaped blossoms produced in May are, perhaps, not very
attractive, but this is more than compensated for by the highly
ornamental fruit, which renders the plant an object of great beauty
about mid-September. Leaves small and narrow, on slender, twining
stems, that clothe well the lower half of a garden wall in some
sunny favoured spot. Cuttings root freely if inserted in sharp sand
and placed in slight heat, while seeds germinate quickly.

BRYANTHUS.

BRYANTHUS ERECTUS.—Siberia. This is a pretty little
Ericaceous plant, nearly allied to Menziesia, and with a plentiful
supply of dark-green leaves. The flowers, which are borne in
crowded clusters at the points of the shoots, are bell-shaped, and
of a pleasing reddish-lilac colour. It wants a cool, moist peaty
soil, and is perfectly hardy. When in a flowering stage the
Bryanthus is one of the brightest occupants of the peat bed, and is
a very suitable companion for such dwarf plants as the Heaths,
Menziesias, and smaller growing Kalmias.

B. EMPETRIFORMIS (syn Menziesia
empetrifolia
).—North America, 1829. This is a compact,
neat species, and well suited for alpine gardening. The flowers are
rosy-purple, and produced abundantly.

BUDDLEIA.

BUDDLEIA GLOBOSA.—Orange Ball Tree. Chili, 1774. A shrubby
species, ranging in height from 12 feet to 20 feet, and the only
one at all common in gardens. Favoured spots in Southern England
would seem to suit the plant fairly well, but to see it at its best
one must visit some of the maritime gardens of North Wales, where
it grows stout and strong, and flowers with amazing luxuriance.
Where it thrives it must be ranked amongst the most beautiful of
wall plants, for few, indeed, are the standard specimens that are
to be met with, the protection afforded by a wall being almost a
necessity in its cultivation. The leaves are linear-lanceolate, and
covered with a dense silvery tomentum on the under side, somewhat
rugose above, and partially deciduous. Flowers in small globular
heads, bright orange or yellow, and being plentifully produced are
very showy in early summer. It succeeds well in rich moist loam on
gravel.

B. LINDLEYANA.—China, 1844. This has purplish-red flowers
and angular twigs, but it cannot be relied upon unless in very
sheltered and mild parts of the country.

B. PANICULATA (syn B. crispa).—Nepaul, 1823. This
may at once be distinguished by its curly, woolly leaves, and
fragrant lilac flowers. It is a desirable species, but suffers from
our climate.

BUPLEURUM.

BUPLEURUM FRUTICOSUM.—Hare’s Ear. South Europe, 1596. A
small-growing, branching shrub, with obovate-lanceolate leaves, and
compound umbels of yellowish flowers. It is more curious than
beautiful.