At any rate there are a number of different types of Cotoneaster (and for those of you who don't know it is pronounced rather than coton-easter) which flourish in this part of London.
There's the flat kind that grows along the ground or up walls which has tiny leaves and flowers on very straight stiff twigs, Cotoneaster prostratus. It seems to grow in every second garden around here. It's happy growing up against walls or under hedges and this year has produced a bumper crop of berries and some gorgeous autumn colour.
Then there's the sort that makes a very handsome hedge. I think it's probably
Many Suburb roads still have the original hedges which were planted in the early years of the 20th century so Cotoneaster hedges can be spotted in Oakwood Road, Denman Drive, Blandford Close and Westholm. They are a welcome change from the now ubiquitous Privet and in fact make a good choice for a small front garden as you get a narrow hedge that doesn't bush out and take up too much room. Impatient modern gardeners want fast growing hedges of Laurel or Photinia or worse, Leylandii. Laurel and Photonia have large leaves which don't look good when you clip the hedge regularly, and as for Leylandii - there's no stopping it. Before you know where you are it's as tall as the house. But plant a little row of Cotoneaster and in a couple of years you'll have a well-mannered hedge that won't need cutting back every week, won't overwhelm your garden, and will benefit the local wildlife.
Also to be found in the Suburb are Tree Cotoneasters. This is simply a term for species of Cotoneaster
When the local Trees & Open Spaces Committee agreed a plan for street tree planting with Barnet Council, high on the list was replacing lost planting schemes so in the late 1990s first one, and then two or three Cotoneaster frigidus were planted in Asmuns Hill. I think C. cornubia was also planted. The planting is still mixed because you don't fell a perfectly healthy tree simply because it doesn't fit your planting scheme. One day perhaps the road will look as originally intended.
Tree Cotoneasters have narrow strap-like leaves (although essentially, er, leaf-shaped), perhaps 7cm long and quite leathery. The veins are quite pronounced giving a slightly quilted effect that doesn't really show in photographs. The white flowers come in clusters and are followed by bunches of pinkish red or bright red berries. The bark is a little like Cherry bark but it's not what you really look at. This is a handsome tree; its main attraction the mass of leaves and fruits although sometimes they seem too heavy for the slender trunk.
|Plenty of autumn colour this year|