I started to write this post back in early summer of this year, saved it in the draft section and then forgot all about it. I was going to leave posting it until next year when it is flowering again but thought no, so here’s a right little beauty that not everyone know’s about.

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Tucked in a corner in our most famous of courts, sits a little unknown beauty (no, not me) and that is the….. Xanthoceras sorbifolium (Shinyleaf Yellowhorn).

Great Court, is our largest of all our courts (in fact, supposedly the largest enclosed college court in europe), most famous for the ‘Chariots of Fire’ race, something I will blog about in the future. For me, it’s the Xanthoceras that stills the show especially when it is in flower in May, it is the out right beauty of the court.

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It sits in the corner of what we call our Chapel beds, on a south facing wall. It does have some stiff competition in that area of the court to hold the beauty crown and these are……..

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Rosa ‘The Garland’

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Ceanothus ‘Cynthia Postan’

In the summer it bakes in the sun, which is just as well, as they like the full sun but it is very well protected by those damaging winter winds.

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Xanthoceras is a small to medium deciduous shrub/tree that grows to approximately 3 – 4  in height and has a 2.5 metre spread, it has star shaped white flowers with yellow/red centres in late spring. It likes a fertile well drained soil, where this one sits the soil is very poor, though very well drained but it does seems very happy.

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Now when it comes to propagation, this one is very easy. It grows well from seed and root cuttings, we often pull the seedlings out of the cobbles, whack in a pot and off they go….. simple! Oh by the way, the seeds are meant to be edible but I have yet to try them.

So, if you have space for one of these beauties in a garden or in a small courtyard (or large one) that is protected by the winter winds, this is a must have plant. Easy to keep and too propagate, that will give you beautiful flowers and wonderful shiny pinnate leaves.

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