Rhaphiolepis is a low-growing, rounded evergreen with glossy leaves and simple blossom. It belongs to the same family as apples, pears and hawthorn and in America is regarded as a tough shrub with class. Its common name is Indian hawthorn but rhaphiolepis actually comes from southern China. My favourite is R. indica, which has scented pinky-white apple blossom in spring. It likes a hot dry spot.
When you have decided where you want to put it - preferably in the sunniest spot you can spare in your garden - plant it then leave well alone. They are not fussy about soil as long as it is well drained. Think of rhaphiolepis as a useful standby, as florists and designers do, and you will find it looks good with most plants, from the sword leaves of iris to frilly ferns and the woolly leaves of silvery stachys. In fact, it is hard to think of anything that it can't partner.