Golden dew drop
Duranta ‘Sheena’s Gold’
Extremely versatile and strikingly conspicuous in the garden ‘Sheena’s Gold’ is planted throughout the warmer regions of the land in a wide and diverse range of garden applications. Initially thought to be a low growing shrub, it soon became apparent that in suitable conditions and left un-pruned the plants can become sizeable shrubs up to 4m tall. They are however still used as low hedges in formal gardens, feature shrubs, pot specimens, trained as standards and as filler plants in large landscapes. They do require regular trimming and pruning to keep them in good shape. In colder climates the foliage turns purple to black in winter, quite a natural phenomenon and nothing to panic about.
‘Sheena’s Gold’ (Golden dewdrop)
This is a very versatile and reliable plant, in so many diverse garden roles. Regular clipping maintains a neat, tidy and compact head on what can sometimes be a slightly brittle and vulnerable stem. Strong, stout support stakes are necessary to compensate for this apparent weakness, especially when the head matures and becomes almost top heavy. Use ‘Sheena’s Gold’ in full sun positions where the rich golden foliage shines and sparkles to optimum effect. The suggested stem heights for ‘Sheena’s Gold’ standards are 50 cm to 100 cm. It withstands light frosts only, so is best grown in warm, frost free gardens. It copes with seaside conditions and is suitable both for containers and out in the garden.
Formal, clipped standards – often referred to as ‘lollipops’ – have made a dramatic impact on the local garden scene during the last couple of decades and there are clear indications that the trend has not yet reached its peak in terms of garden fashions. Their neat, clean-cut and distinctive shape and form, along with their varying heights, ensure that they have a unique and important function in the modern landscape. Standards are used for framing, accentuating, highlighting, defining and creating impact in both formal and informal garden designs. One of the major benefits of using standards is that they lend height to the garden without the bulk of an ordinary tree or shrub. This allows views and vistas to be maintained while adding the extra dimension of vertical height to the garden. The key success factor is to maintain the plants on an on going basis in order to retain the desirable balance and proportion of the overall design.
Here are a few practical hints and tips to help you achieve this:
* Select the correct plant for the position at the outset, taking into consideration the sun or shade factor, whether the plant is going into a pot or directly into the ground, climatic conditions, soil types and long-term availability of water.
* Ensure that the balance and proportion is correct in terms of size and height of the plant relative to the scale of the garden and the background. Remember that the length of the stem of any standard cannot be changed or altered; only the outer growth tips are clipped to maintain the shape. Standards in pots will always appear to be taller than the same plant in the ground.
* Evergreen plants with tiny to small leaves make the neatest clipped standards by virtue of the minimal visible damage caused to the foliage during the clipping procedure. Sharp, well-maintained clipping tools are essential.
* Plant standards at the correct depth into well prepared planting holes or containers. A sturdy stake that supports the stem, keeping it straight and upright, and which protrudes beyond the stem into the head of the standard, is vital. Keep the stake securely fastened in place all the time without damaging the bark of the stem.
* Regular pruning and clipping is perhaps the most important part of the on going maintenance programme. The shorter the length of growth that is removed with each successive clipping, the better.
* Regular, on going fertilising and watering goes without saying. The mark of a good ‘lollipop’ specimen is one that is densely clothed with lush, healthy foliage all the time and yet maintains a neat, tidy shape with clearly defined outlines.