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Prunus Lusitanica: a handsome specimen tree.

What do you do if you want to disguise or block off the view down the side of your property, but not restrict the view out to the rest of the garden? That was exactly the problem faced by garden designer, Paul Anderson. Paul, Managing Partner at Ladybrook Nursery, was approached by a client and asked to suggest ways of screening the view down the side of a large property without restricting the view out towards the rest of the large garden.

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The client had initially wanted a hedge planting to screen the view, but the problem was that would have closed the garden off too much. So Paul suggested planting a specimen tree, a large Prunus Lusitanica. The client wasn’t initially convinced about the idea of planting a Portuguese Laurel, but once it was in the ground, the client was both amazed and delighted by the result.

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Prunus Lusitanica, or Portuguese Laurel is a handsome and lustrous evergreen laurel and is a great alternative to the classic common or cherry Laurel.  Prunus Lusitanica is more formal in appearance with its dark green, medium-sized pointed foliage set against red stems. The Portuguese laurel is slower growing than the cherry laurel; growing approximately 6 inches per year, and eventually reaching a height of between 10 and 20 feet. It is also far more resilient.  Despite Prunus Lusitanica being a native of Portugal and Spain, it is none the less surprisingly hardy and will grow happily on exposed sites. 

The Portuguese laurel produces small, fragrant white flowers in racemes up to 10 inches in length in early summer: these are then followed by small, dark purple fruits. Prunus Lusitanica is easy to grow in any moist but well-drained moderately fertile soil in sun or partial shade, although it will grow best in light shade.

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