This section is from the book "The Gardener V2", 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.
In this group we have a large number of grand evergreen shrubs and trees, some of them very lofty - natives of Asia, Africa, and America, many of them producing excellent and durable timber. Though botanically distinct, they are closely allied to, and resemble both in foliage and habit of growth, the various forms of our Yews, to which tribe some of the species are sometimes, though improperly, referred. Out of some forty or fifty species and varieties known to botanists, only two or three are sufficiently hardy for outdoor cultivation in Britain, and even these for the most part require to be planted in well-sheltered localities. All the sorts thrive best in shady situations and in peaty soils, or loams rich in vegetable matter, and when well grown form distinct and interesting ornamental shrubs. The following can be recommended as among the most desirable and worthy of a trial where suitable conditions for their culture are available.
Podocarpus Andina (the Andes Podocarpus), also known as Podocarpus spicata, is a native of high mountain-ranges in South Chili, where it is described as forming a thickly-branched broadly-conical shrub or small tree, varying in height according to altitude or exposure from 10 to 25 feet.
It is here a fine ornamental shrub of a sharply-conical form, abundantly branched, with linear leaves from a half to one and a half inch long, of a rich shiny green colour.
Podocarpus Koraiana (the Corean Podocarpus), sometimes called "Taxus Japonica," is found wild in mountainous districts in Japan and on the Peninsula of Corea in China, growing to heights of from 10 to 20 feet, it is also frequently met with in cultivation in town gardens in both these countries as an ornamental shrub.
Though of remarkably slow growth even under the most favourable circumstances in this country, it is quite hardy, and forms a neat bushy shrub, with a habit of growth similar to the Irish Yew. The long upright branches are much divided into small branchlets, abundantly clothed with linear-shaped leaves from 1 to 2 inches long, of a bright glossy green colour above and slightly glaucous below. It is a superb plant for small gardens, and cannot be too highly recommended for geometric beds or other arrangements where neat-growing dwarf shrubs only are admissible.
Podocarpus Nubigsena (the Nubigean Podocarpus), is found widely distributed on mountains in the colder parts of Chili, on the Andes of Patagonia, in Valdivia, and on the island of Chiloe, and is described as a lofty and beautiful tree. It is here a very slow-growing plant, and extremely fastidious as to soil and situation; where it does succeed, however, it is very ornamental, and should be tried in all collections of select shrubs. It will only thrive in rich cool soil, and in a mild sheltered situation. The habit of growth is bushy and conical, the branches thickly covered with thick leathery leaves about 1 inch long, of a bright green colour above and with a glaucous line on each side of the mid-rib beneath. Hugh Fraser.