…or "that damned invasive shrub", if you’re along the eastern seaboard of the United States. Here in Blighty it seems fairly well behaved, and I do like to have it about for its colour changing foliage behaviour – pink to green to red over the year. It’s not a bamboo at all, but in the same family as my favourite bloody bastard berberis and its spiny cousins, the mahonias. Nandina’s a much more smooth operator, though, and works particularly well in Japanese-inspired plantings (think palmate acers, azaleas, japanese forest grass, a pine tree and some low growing evergreens like Pachysandra and that chameleon variety of Houttuynia that smells strongly, either of coriander, which is ok, or of fish, which is less so.) In this garden, where the grasses and daisies are doing their winter corpse thing (attractive, but quite monochromatic), I’ve snuck it in to bring a bit of evergreen interest, and its not letting me down.