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Post new topic   Reply to topic    Irish Gardeners Forum Home -> Shrubs in Ireland ... Hedging in Ireland

Photinia x fraseri "Red Robin" and "Camilvy"


 
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James Kilkelly
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Joined: 30 May 2006
Posts: 2142
Location: West of Ireland

PostPosted: Fri Aug 11, 2006 8:00 pm    Post subject: Photinia x fraseri "Red Robin" and "Camilvy" Reply with quote



What is it about red heads that attract such ridicule?
When I was in secondary school, my fellow students with red hair were the butt of many jokes and lots of name-calling, everything from the classic "Carrot-top" to the bang up to date "Duracell".
Now we gardeners on the other hand are much more civilised bunch, we would never hold a prejudice due to a plant having a red head.
This is highlighted by the amazing amounts of the red headed shrub Photinia x fraseri that have been planted throughout Ireland over the past few years.

Commonly called red robin Photinia, red tip or Fraser's Photinia, the striking red coloration of the new foliage is this plants claim to fame and main selling point.
However, this distinctive foliage that is bright red when young mellows with age. As it matures it passes through shades of reddish-copper eventually maturing to glossy dark green finely serrated leaves.
The glossy leaves helped form the plants name, with Photinia coming from the Greek for shining foliage.

Aside from the wonderful leaf colour, clusters of small, white flowers are produced from May until June, but somehow they do not have half the charm of the plants red tips.
A large healthy specimen of Photinia x fraseri in springtime when tipped in red is as impressive as many other shrubs in full bloom (and the colour lasts longer).
Even before the leaves unfurl, the preceding red buds are undeniably eye catching.

The most common way I have seen Photinia used is planted within a mixed shrub border, the plants red tips adding considerable interest against its contrasting green foliage.
It is an ideal focal point planting if used in this way, attracting attention almost year round.
Position some yellow leaved plants nearby and you will increase the contrast effect, Choisya ternata 'Aztec Pearl' goes especially well with Photinia.
Other gardeners have called upon the Photinia to act as a fabulous informal hedge bordering calm sunny sites.
But, by far the most unusual way I have seen Photinia x fraseri grown is as a small tree. Individual shrubs can be trained into small trees by pruning lower branches over successive years, culminating in a garden feature that draws plenty of glances and queries.

An extremely vigorous shrub Photinia x fraseri grows in almost any adequately drained soil, just insure you avoid constantly damp soggy spots.
It likes shelter from wind and is not tolerant of salty coastal air; both of these factors tend to brown the lush red new growth.
A location in sun to partial shade is ideal.
There are two varieties of Photinia freely available; Photinia x fraserii "Red Robin" is the older and larger of the two.
It will eventually stand 3 metres tall (9-10ft) with a similar spread. Photinia x fraserii "Camilvy" is slightly smaller and more manageable at 2 metres tall (6 ft) again with a similar spread.

Kingdom: Plantae
Division: Magnoliophyta
Class: Magnoliopsida
Order: Rosales
Family: Rosaceae
Subfamily: Maloideae
Genus: Photinia

Grows in zones 6 to 11

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needtoknowhow
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PostPosted: Sun Nov 16, 2008 11:42 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Planning on planting a hedge of red robin in front of the back ugly grey concrete wall of my garden. the wall is about 70ft long and stands at 6ft high so don't want to go over that height.

does the smaller Camilvy have the same red tips as the red robin - i think i read that it has a less vibrant red tipped colour? If so, is it possible to maintain the red robin at about 6ft?

Also, the garden has a south west aspect so gets lovely, not so warm, Irish sun but this means the back wall tends to be in shade most of the day - will the red robin tolerate these conditions?

Also, you say the soil should be adequately well drained, my soil seems to be a little heavy but doesn't hold a sausage like clay should and there are some damp patches in the area in question but i think this might be down to compaction more than anything (estate house) would the area benefit from being dug deeper than needed, a layer of gravel put in, back filled to proper depth with soil & compost and then planting red robin? or is this overkill?

And last question, did a soil test and the soil ph came in at about 7.5 - would i need to alter the soil in any way for red robin?

Many thanks is advance Confused
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James Kilkelly
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PostPosted: Tue Nov 18, 2008 1:41 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

needtoknowhow wrote:

does the smaller Camilvy have the same red tips as the red robin - i think i read that it has a less vibrant red tipped colour? If so, is it possible to maintain the red robin at about 6ft?


It is possible to keep red robin at about 6ft.

needtoknowhow wrote:

Also, the garden has a south west aspect so gets lovely, not so warm, Irish sun but this means the back wall tends to be in shade most of the day - will the red robin tolerate these conditions?


It will tolerate partial shade but not deep shade.
See here..... How many hours of light are Full sun, Part shade, Full Shade.
Bear in mind the less sunlight, the less growth the red robin will put on every year. This may result in fewer red tips as these are new growth.

needtoknowhow wrote:

Also, you say the soil should be adequately well drained, my soil seems to be a little heavy but doesn't hold a sausage like clay should and there are some damp patches in the area in question but i think this might be down to compaction more than anything (estate house) would the area benefit from being dug deeper than needed, a layer of gravel put in, back filled to proper depth with soil & compost and then planting red robin? or is this overkill?


It would do no harm.
As a general rule.......

Most new garden beds and borders benefit from additional organic material being added to it and dug in. So to begin, dig over the ground thoroughly and remove all traces of perennial weeds and large stones, leave the small stones as they aid drainage and help to regulate the soils temperature.

Dig or till in lots of organic matter to improve the soil for your perennials at this stage as well. If you have a good back and you feel up to it, this organic matter is most effective if dug in to a depth of 12 inches. Choose from the following source of organic matter... garden compost, leaf mould, well-rotted farmyard manure, spent mushroom compost, garden centre soil enricher. An ideal situation would be to have half you soil made up of organic matter, a great reserve of plant food.
I would advise adding grit at this stage as well, if your soil is very heavy, sticky or poorly drained. Digging in a good quantity of sand grit or gravel will open up your soil and allow channels for drainage.


needtoknowhow wrote:

And last question, did a soil test and the soil ph came in at about 7.5 - would i need to alter the soil in any way for red robin?


A touch on the alkaline side.
It would benefit your soil to add an acidic compost to the soil during preparation.

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needtoknowhow
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PostPosted: Tue Nov 18, 2008 12:10 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks you so much for the fantastic response! I had read a couple of those articles on soil prep etc but missed the one on sun/partial shade etc - I had been thinking that part shade meant that while it was in the shade it wasn't in the deepest darkest gloomiest shaded area - not that it needed a couple of hrs of sun too. Will have to watch the sun progression, number of hrs etc - part of the wall gets morning sun but I don't think the other half does as is blocked by the house and then the sun swings round and the fence, other houses etc shade it until the back wall itself eventually casts a shade of about 4/5ft. Its colour I'm after, as well as wanting to cover the concrete wall so maybe the red robin wont work. Need to get someone to draw a plan/design planting plan for me - I'm forever changing my mind and doing nothing!

Thanks again - you are a mine of info
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PostPosted: Mon Mar 19, 2012 5:50 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

At a shopping centre i have seen upright hornbeam under planted with- is that the right word?- red robin

I wondered if it would be OK to undeplant Betula pendula Youngii with a red robin as well. i saw the Betula pendula Youngii in a garden centre and it looksvery nice
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