Laburnum was an absolute favourite in the Victorian garden, partly because of its splendid golden flowers, and partly because it was capable of surviving (even thriving) in the poor soils of the smoky, sooty polluted cities of Victorian Britain. It could be found in most squares and parks, but also in ‘dirty holes and corners that seem to be utterly unfit for any kind of tree-life’. In well-furbished country gardens the laburnum could rival any other tree.
There were several varieties of laburnum available to the Victorian gardener: the Scottish Cytisus Alpinum, the C. Adami (or Laburnum Adami) which tended to waver between purple and yellow flowers, the popular L. pendulum, the sweet-scented L. odora, and the white-flowered L. flore albo.
Hibberd warned that the laburnum should never be grown near children’s playing areas, nor overhanging fields, as the plant’s seed could prove deadly to both children and cattle.