This erect winter-flowering shrub is coming in to bloom alongside the West Walk.
A member of the Berberidaceae (berberis family), the genus Mahonia contains approximately 70 species which are found in rocky terrain and woodlands of the Himalaya, east Asia, and North and Central America. All are shrubby species, and have alternate pinnate, or tri-palmate, spiny leaves, and terminal panicles of cup-shaped, yellow flowers. Generally, they prefer to be grown in humus-rich soil in partial or full shade. Mahonia x media is the name applied to hybrids between the Chinese species M. japonica and M. lomariifolia, and these are erect in habit, and have pinnate leaves to 45 cm. ‘Charity’ was selected by Sir Eric Savill from hybrids raised at the Slieve Donard nursery in County Down. It is a widely admired selection, whose densely clustered lemon-yellow racemes of flower bring welcome colour and fragrance to the garden in November and December.