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Itea ilicifolia is a ‘lax grower’ rather than a pure climber. It doesn’t ask for a prime South or West wall to lean against but lolls, happily, against a shady wall that has plenty of light. If you secure it occasionally to supporting wires it will quietly impress you with its glossy foliage and bronzy new growth. In August it takes centre stage and throws out long, scented green catkin flowers that carry on well into the autumn. It has all the attributes, without the gloom, of a Garrya elliptica.

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