Rubus cockurnianus is a beautiful shrub within its own right. It’s delicate fernlike leaves are bourne on stunning white and purple stems up to 3m in height, in the winter light, glow stunnningly and light up the borders like a ray of moonlight beaming up from them. Their growth is best described as a slight tangled mess, but it does add to its beauty. The flowers can look quite nice and followed by inedible black blackberry like fruits ( they indeed belong to the same family) but only happens on wood older than 1yrs old. The name Rubus comes from the Latin for red, from the colour of the berries. It is a native of North and Central China and discovered by the great plant hunter Earnest Wilson in 1907. In China it’s natural habitat is river valleys, woodlands and thickets. In the U.K.
It will take most sites from light shade to full sun, light sandy soils to pretty heavy clay, From acid soil to a chalky alkaline soil. So they are tough plants indeed. It suffers from very few pests and diseases. Pruning is the best way to encourage the very best coloured stems and is indeed very easy to carry out, Either every year to every two years if you would like flowers (I prefer every year), prune all the growth down to the ground towards the end of February or early March and then mulch with so well rotted manure to encourage more growth next year. If you would like to propagate it, again that’s easy, either get the tip of a new growth and peg into a shallow trench and cover with topsoil, or take hardwood cuttings in October/November and they will take pretty well
The form that’s the plant of the week is ‘Goldenvale’ this form differs with a bright golden yellow foliage with striking white stems in the winter. This form is also slightly smaller at about 1.5m and better for the smaller gardens. It is a total stunning plant that works so well in a small group or planted in a much bigger group, works with so many other plants as well.
It is certainly one of those 12 month a year value plant!