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A Gardener's Guide to Bushes
August 7, 2003
By Clara Dendron

Knowledge of how a plant grows is an important key to being a successful gardener. Today, I am covering the description, care and habit of the popular shrub known as the GW BUSH.

TYRANICUS imperialatum 'Fleecim'

TYRANICUS imperialatum 'Fleecim'


Emperor Plant, Lyin King, GW

Jebularia novoteus
Neilopsis S&L scandalus - (Sons of a Bush)

The GW Bush is native to the north-eastern United States. It tries to establish itself in all zones, but thrives best in arid and dry states such as Texas. It is not well suited to the west coast climate, so avoid planting in that locality. In European regions such as France and Germany, it has a bad reputation with most gardeners who shun its usage.

The growth buds of this bush lie dormant and do not easily come into maturity. This shrub is low-down and has never grown tall in stature. It tends to lie, instead of being upright in habit. In its early stages it is weak and needs ample support, protection and many Texas stakes to survive on its own. Once established, it can grow wild and out of control. Choose the site carefully. It has a well-earned reputation as a noxious weed by greedily spreading beyond its territory and encroaching on weaker plants. It may be outlawed in the future due to its invasive qualities. To maintain this shrub, prune heavily and fence in. Its dominating habit requires conservative gardeners to follow PNAC guidelines for maximum control.

This bush thrives in the spotlight so plant it on the south side. Avoid drafts at all costs! It can take drafts only if planted against AWOL. Keep it well watered since the GW is a heavy drinker. Gluttonous tendencies of the shallow-rooted shrub can deplete soils and use up precious resources. Being a heavy feeder demands a rich diet, oily soil and abundant bull manure. The GW is not fussy about global warming as it craves a high heat exposure. It grows well in pollution or acid rain.

Although it is a common bush, the GW is often sold by unethical salespeople as a "specimen shrub" and is very expensive to purchase and maintain. This evergreen bush is generally found in wealthy gardens where those who can afford it are rewarded with bountiful fruit that makes a good cash crop and can turn a hefty profit.

Once established, it has a certain appeal and charm. Beware, however, as the leaves conceal dangerously sharp thorns capable of inflicting a bloody sting. Do not get close and handle with great care. Although it is tough on the outside, the leaves bruise easily if rubbed the wrong way.

It has redeeming value when planted on corporate sites. This establishes a symbiotic relationship allowing both to flourish. For the average gardener, however, the pluses of this shrub do not outweigh its profound deficits. I would not elect to use it in my garden and have no vote of confidence in its performance or merit. Plant at your own risků it does not live up to its good name!

Happy Gardening,
Clara Dendron - Head Master Shrubologist

In the next edition: you will be shocked and awed to learn that I will be covering the deadly and acidic Rumsfeldia ataxia plant... a powerful balm used abundantly in the Mid East.

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