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Living lattice ... it's a very well-trained cotoneaster.

Living lattice ... it's a very well-trained cotoneaster "If I wre stuck on a desert island and could have just one plant, it would be cotoneaster. You can do so much with it." Just what does gardener Edyth Henderson like about it, and what has she done with it?

Cotoneaster makes a fine display because it always gives you something to look at: flowers in the spring, leaves in the summer, and bright red berries in the fall and winter. It also thrives in poor soil and with little water--traits as useful in drought-stricken suburbs as on desert islands.

The photograph above shows rock cotoneaster (C. horizontalis) trained on a fence in Mrs. Henderson's garden. Starrting with plants in gallon cans, you could achieve the same effect after about five years of training.

As Mrs. Henderson's plants grew, she tied the stems loosely to U-shaped staples nailed into the wooden fence. To maintain the lattice-like pattern and keep the five plants from blanketing the fence, she prunes them once in spring after flowers (and bees) have gone, and once more at summer's end.

Besides the rock cotoneaster in the picture, there are other good, trainable cotoneasters to consider for espaliers.

Creeping cotoneaster (C. adpressus) is good for smaller spaces. After five years, it grows to perhaps 6 feet. Try it as a horizontal espalier over rocks> it molds to the shape it covers.

C. congestus is even smaller: growing to about 3 feet, it can be potted up and trained against a wooden lattice to make a tabletop espalier for a patio.

C. 'Hybridus Pendulus' has densely packed leaves, as well as strong vertical branches that can be fanned out over a wall. A single plant can grow 6 feet vertically or horizontally.

Parney cotoneaster (C. lacteus) leaves are deep green above, white below, and cover branches right down to the base of the plant. Branches grow to 8 feet> fruit hangs in persistent, tennis-ball-size clusters.
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Date:Mar 1, 1991
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