Emerald 'n' Gold

'Emerald 'n' Gold'

"Your garden will reveal yourself."

-Henry Mitchell

"Show me your garden & I shall tell you what you are."

-Alfred Austin

The usual nursery's offering of golden variegated wintercreeper is Euonymus fortunei var radicans 'Emerald 'n' Gold.'

It's a colorfully attractive strongly evergreen low-maintenace shrub, without much of the vining qualities of the species, though if placed against a stone wall or trellis it will climb a bit. Because it has so little of the creeper left in it, it rather resembles a larger golden variegated evergreen, Euonymous japonica 'Aureo-marginata.'

The broadleaf evergreen leaves are bright green with brighter yellow edging. Now & then a leaf or limb of leaves will be entirely yellow.

Emerald 'n' GoldThe species can be very invasive but the variegated cultivars never are. The species is named for Scottish botanist & plant adventurer Robert Fortune (1812-1880). But by a whimsical little coincidence, the genus name means "Fortunate," so it's like it's named "Lucky Luck" or "Fortunate Fortune."

Generally 'Emerald 'n' Gold' forms a two-foot-tall shrub, occasionally to three feet in great old age, somewhat fountaining & rounded. Width is three to four feet for quite a mature specimen.

Sold as a groundcover, it really doesn't function well in that regard, & should be thought of in terms of a compact shrub. Conceivably it could self-root some of its lower branches that rest on the ground & spread into a groundcover after all, but the row I've been observing for years is kept neatly mulched with bark, & I've never seen any of its limbs root themselves in that.

Though I like this plant well enough it's a bit too common & I wouldn't plant it in my yard. But I get to enjoy it anyway as I've been watching it develop one block from my front door, where a neighbor planted it in a row alternating 'Emerald 'n' Gold' with 'Silver Queen' hoping these shrubs would develop into a very low hedge. Instead it has remained a row of compact shrubs.

I've observed it a full decade as I right this. For half that time it was so stunted as to be rather displeasing as the only thing in that long narrow garden. It would've looked nice in a mixed garden but year after year stunted in the misnomered "beauty bark," it wasn't much.

Though rarely watered & in full sun, it seemed healthy enough, but simply didn't grow. I must say, though, despite its neglected bright location, it never scorches, which most golden variegated shrubs would be apt to do.

Round about the eighth year this row of shrubs had at long last developed quite nicely, at about two feet by four feet per rounded mound. If it were up to me I'd plant flowering perennials or a real groundcover around them, but my neighbor prefers the beauty bark.

The row is always surprisingly tidy, though rarely if ever demanding the shears, so if the point were a colorfully leafed row of hardy evergreens that can be ignored, the wintercreepers were a good choice. Personally, my own taste runs toward rustic woodsiness, so I'd be annoyed by so tidy & tame a result. But it's not my yard.


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