This section is from the book "The Gardener V1", by William Thomson. Also available from Amazon: The New Organic Grower: A Master's Manual of Tools and Techniques for the Home and Market Gardener.
The genus Cotoneaster is composed of a goodly number of hardy evergreen, sub-evergreen, and deciduous low-growing trees and shrubs very diverse in general appearance. They are found distributed over Europe, Asia, and America; and several of the species have been long cultivated in this country, and are still extensively used in the adornment of our gardens and pleasure-grounds. Few shrubs or trees adapt themselves with greater facility to almost every variety of soil, if dry; and they are found to thrive in poor, gravelly, or sandy ground where it would be difficult to induce other plants of their character to grow. Though most of the sorts are perfectly hardy, they should always be planted in situations sheltered from the full force of violent winds.
This is a sub-evergreen, or in mild winters and in sheltered localities an evergreen, tree of about 20 feet in height, indigenous to high mountains in Northern Nepal, from whence it was first introduced into this country in 1824. The leaves are of an elliptic form, tipped with a small spine, crenulated, of a dark shiny-green on the upper surface, and lighter below. The branchlets and under sides of the leaves are covered with a minute wool while young. The flowers are pure white, small individually, but being produced very abundantly in terminal panicles, they produce a fine effect when in full perfection, which is usually early in May. The small bright-crimson berries are ripe in September, and hang on the tree till winter, and sometimes till spring. It is here a vigorous - growing, very hardy tree, and from its fine foliage and showy flowers and fruit, very desirable for planting either in groups or singly in parks, shrubberies, or the margins of woods.
So named from its close affinity to G. frigida, of which species some writers regard it as merely a variety. It is a sub-evergreen or evergreen tree of from 15 to 20 feet in height, introduced from Chittaong, Nepal, in 1S28. The leaves are ovate, tipped with a small spine, bright green above, and woolly beneath. The flowers and fruit are almost identical with the preceding species, appearing about the same time, the berries hanging on the tree, and being very ornamental many months after ripening. It is an exceedingly interesting tree, well worthy of attention on the part of those engaged in decorative planting, its distinct appearance giving quite a character to groups of low-growing trees or tall shrubs.
This is a sub-evergreen shrub of from 5 to 8 feet in height, introduced from Khasya, in Nepal, in 1850. The leaves are oblong acute, dark green above, lighter beneath. The flowers are white, appearing in May. They are followed by a plentiful crop of bright-scarlet berries, which ripen in September, and remain on the branches during the greater part of the winter. It is a remarkably hardy, ornamental shrub, certainly one of the most attractive of the genus, in most seasons truly evergreen; and not only effective in the open shrubbery, but very suitable for covering walls or house fronts - its beautiful scarlet berries rivalling in beauty those of the well-known Pyracantha. It is also found to make a neat, close garden-hedge, standing the knife well - a purpose for which it might be, with advantage, more extensively used.
This is a prostrate evergreen shrub, with long wiry stems, spreading over many feet when allowed full scope, but seldom rising above 2 or 3 feet. It is a native of Nepal, where it is found on the rocky slopes of mountains. It was introduced in 1824. The leaves are small, oblong, of a thick leathery texture, dark green above, and slightly pubescent beneath. The flowers are white, similar in appearance to those of the Hawthorn; they appear in May or June, and are succeeded with scarlet berries, which ripen in August, and remain on all the winter. Apart from its value for planting as a single specimen on a lawn, where it soon forms a compact, cushion-like specimen, it is one of the most useful of plants for a low wall, the dense, full foliage, twiggy branches, and bright berries in winter rendering it a very pleasing object. It is, moreover, a valuable rockery plant, and may be introduced with the best effect into any situation where a trailing evergreen shrub is desirable.
Another prostrate evergreen species from Nepal, from whence it was first sent home by Dr Royle in 1850. The leaves are much smaller than those of micro-phylla, about 1/4 of an inch long, obovate-oblong in form, shining dark green above, and silvery white beneath. The flowers are small, pinkish, appearing in May, and followed by bright-crimson berries, ripe in August. This is a very beautiful little shrub, perfectly hardy, and admirably suited for planting on rockeries. It might be utilised as an edging in the flower-garden, as it has all the closeness of habit which renders the dwarf box so useful, with an appearance quite distinct from, and equally handsome with, that well-known plant.