At Ashridge Trees HQ, we have a very advanced system for logging all the queries that come in from our customers. Her name is Catherine and we'd be in deep trouble without her, so please be nice to her or her staff when you give us a call!
One question that she's heard a few times is about which of the three types of laurel bushes to use in a particular site. Cherry or Common Laurel, Portugal Laurel and Bay Laurel will all do well in shady spots, although Bay Laurel won't be happy in very deep shade.
Cherry Laurel has the largest leaves and makes the best roadside hedge for blocking out the light of passing cars and muffling traffic noise. It won't grow on chalk or by the sea and can struggle in the coldest parts of the North and Scotland.
Portugal Laurel has a ruddy tinge to the new stems and leaves and is the only one that will succeed on chalky ground. It is also the hardiest, so if you live in the far North and Scotland, this is definitely the one to go for.
Bay Laurel is the same plant that provides bay leaves for the kitchen and is the tenderest of the three. It will be fine in the dappled shade of a deciduous tree, or in a spot that misses the sun during winter, but isn't recommended for a year round shady spot. There is quite a bit of varied opinion about how well it does in exposed sites - it may have a problem further North as the wind gets colder and more drying but down here in Somerset it looks great atop a blustery hill.
If you have any more questions, please drop us a comment!