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Monthly Archives: May 2013

  • Spring Flowerers - Rhododendrons

    Rhododendrons have a lot to offer, and this applies to both their quality and quantity. They’re widely recognised as one of the showiest groups of spring flowering shrubs, with April through June often hosting colourful displays of lilac, pink, yellow, red and purple. There’s also an immense range of options to pick from, with over 1,000 species held within the genus.

    They’re not too picky, preferring partial shade and a sheltered site. In sufficiently moist (though well drained and aerated) soil, these evergreen shrubs will bring life to your garden throughout the year. It bears to be said that they cannot tolerate alkaline or chalk soils, however. We’re currently stocking a selection of Rhododendron hybrids species in a variety of sizes, available in 7.5 to 40 litre pots. There’s a lot to choose from, so it’s worth taking the time to outline a few options which might be right for your planting goals.

    If you’ve got the space to support them, a vigorous variety could grow as high as 1.8-2m. Roseum Elegans produces large, delicate, pink and purple flowers in the spring, whereas Albert Schweitzer yields light red tubular flowers contrasted with deep green foliage.

    Where space is at a premium we often recommend more compact varieties, particularly Yakushimanum hybrids (or Yaks!). They only reach an ultimate height of 0.9-1.2m, with plump giving way to a wide variety of coloured flowers (depending on the species), along with downy new growth on the leaves. Their convenience and colour has made them a favourite of compact gardeners since their initial introduction to the Chelsea flower show in 1947.

    Finding a use for them isn’t difficult. They prosper in generally shady corners where other shrubs might struggle, offering spring interest and an evergreen backdrop to the rest of your yearly display. Rhododendrons are ideal for filling out a mixed border, and function well as evergreen screening. They can be grouped for varied colour, and the more compact varieties (such as Yaks) are great for placement in pots and rockeries.

    As ever, don’t hesitate to contact us if you have any questions or queries about buying and planting. Rhododendrons can bring a lot to your garden, and as one of the UK’s leading tree suppliers, we’re more than happy to help out.

  • Don’t Kill your Trees! – Planting Depth

    It’s a sad fact of life, but not all bought trees will make it to maturity. Unfortunately, this is usually the fault of poor planting technique, rather than the tree itself, and as one of the country’s leading tree suppliers we know only too well where people can slip up. Successful tree planting isn’t that difficult, but the instructions are there for a reason! Planting too deeply, or in wet clay, can often lead to major complications. Read on for some tips to help set you on the right path.

    Firstly, your tree will likely be provided in a pot. Planting depth needs to be of an equal level. The top of the root ball should be level with the surface of the soil. Keep aware of this, if you’ve done landscaping work in the garden you should check if the soil level has risen.

    One hurdle many overlook is mulching. Of course you should mulch, but do it carefully. Use bark or mulch mats, not soil, and only start a few inches away from the trunk. Mulching too tightly is as bad as planting too deeply! Feel free to mulch around two inches deep, but keep your distance and leave some exposed earth by the trunk.

    It’s always important to bear these things in mind, but that goes double for wet clay soils, which tend to retain water. Having the collar of the root ball submerged under damp earth or water represents a death knell for any immature tree, and should be avoided at all costs.

    Don’t be afraid to firm out the soil if you’ve dug too deep, which reduces settling. Most roots will branch out horizontally from the root ball, so this won’t interfere with root growth, and reduces the possibility of the tree sinking. Be sure to check back in the next few weeks, when we’ll be talking more about the best ways to keep from killing your trees. If you need any of the things in this post be sure to check out our range of planting accessories, and get fully prepared for any planting scheme.

  • Jams, Jellies and Crab Apples

    We’ve already discussed two varieties of Crab Apple, so if you’re interested in a couple more Ornamental Crab Apple Trees you can check them out just beyond the link. Crab apples, or Malus, are excellent species to invest in. They’re adaptable and tolerant, with long life spans and lengthy interest from Spring and Summer flowers to Autumn fruits. It’s the fruits we’re interested in today, however, and we’ve picked out three species which stand out based on this factor.

    Golden Hornet is perhaps the most striking, with populous, bright yellow fruits offering a surprisingly dense splash of colour in the autumn and winter. IT’s manageable, hardy, and not too large for smaller gardens. We’d particularly recommend it if you enjoy local wildlife, blackbirds in particular are attracted to the fruits.

    One of the main benefits of owning a fruit bearing tree is the ability to source your own meals and condiments. Crab apple jelly is simple enough to make, and you’ll see great results from Malus Pink Glow. It features large, white scented flowers in late May, followed by sizeable plum-like fruits in the autumn. It’s disease resistant for the hands-off gardener who doesn’t want to keep close watch on things, though you may also wish to consider Malus John Downie. This has long been one of the most popular choices among jam makers, though be warned the species is prone to disease. We’re happy to offer advice if you’re wondering whether the tree is right for you.

    Any of these species will find a good home in your garden, though you shouldn’t overlook Evereste and Sun Rival, covered in our previous post. If you want to know anything more feel free to get in contact with us, and we’ll be happy to help.

  • Climbers for Spring Flowering

    clematis montana rubens 400

    There’s a lot to be said for introducing climbing plants to your garden. Climbers offer vertical interest which enhances tree and shrub planting. They’re great for use alongside built structures to maintain a natural feel, suitable for training over fences, arbors, pergolas and archways. When planting there’s even the opportunity to mix and match with other species. Many climbers will happily grow alongside one another for a more varied display, and they can be trained up larger trees for interest along the trunk.

    There’s every reason to consider branching out into climbing plants, so we’re going to take a little time to talk about two species from the ever-popular Clematis genus, being Clematis Montana Rubens and Clematis armandii.

    Clematis Montana Rubens boasts a range of colours, with bronze purple shoots and leaves followed by anemone like single flowers borne on the previous year’s wood, rose pink and as large as six centimetres across. It’s suitable for pruning immediately after flowering, though you should refrain unless it’s absolutely necessary. C. montana Rubens is perfect for all the uses listed above, though bear in mind that it’s a deciduous specimen.

    If you’re looking instead for an evergreen climber, you might be interested in Clematis armandii. It has a similar height and soil requirements to C. montana Rubens, needing moist, humus and nutrient rich soil, in moderately acid to alkaline conditions. Though where C. montana Rubens will thrive in any aspect, Armandii will need a sunny sheltered site with protection from winds and shade around the roots. Manage this, and you’ll be rewarded with large, creamy, white flowers from mid to late spring, and glossy, leathered leaves the entire year through.

    They’re both available on our site, sold as 1.75m canes, though we also offer an extended range of Clematis on trellises. There’s a wide selection of climbing plants for your sheds, fences and trees, so don’t hesitate to look around, or even visit the nursery for a closer view. If you can’t make it, feel free to call us any time, and a member of the team will be more than happy to help.

  • Amelanchier

    Tree Suppliers

    We see a lot of amazing plants come through our nursery, and take pride in helping you make the right decision for your own garden and planting goals. Some species see a little more exposure than others, so today we’ll be taking the time to recommend Amelanchier, a brilliant genus with year-round interest.

    Amelanchier is one of the lesser known genera of spring flowering trees, especially when held up against ever-popular options like ornamental cherries. But Amelanchier has long been highly valued in horticulture, with pink buds opening to star-shaped white flowers appearing throughout April and May, followed by small, blue-black fruits which serve wildlife well, particularly winter birds. While the different species vary in their appearance, each and every one is renowned for strong autumn colouring (as long as on neutral to acid soil), making them well worth a look on your part.

    The genus features a wide variety of species, ranging from small, multi-stemmed clumped shrubs to more substantive trees, though we’re offering a selection of small standards, sized 175-200cm in height.

    Amelanchier lamarkii comes as a small tree or shrub with an ultimate height of 6-9 metres, particularly appreciated for beautiful autumn colouring as the leaves take on orange / red hues. While the species is very hardy, be aware that it’s unsuitable for shallow soils based over chalk.

    You may wish to compare Amelanchier ‘Robin Hill’. Though offering similar seasonal interest, this species will tolerate most soils, and features a similar ultimate height of 5-10 meters, though boasting a far more compact habit for stricter gardens than the wildly spreading Lamarkii.

    There are plenty more varieties to explore through our online catalogue, such as Amelanchier ‘Snowflakes’ or ‘Ballerina’. Browse our selection of Common trees for a wider look through, and never hesitate to contact us if you have any questions or queries you’d like a team member to help you with.

  • Ornamental Crab Apple Trees for Spring Interest

    Tree suppliers

    Crab apple trees remain one of our long-standing favourites around the nursery, with hundreds of varieties offering good ornamental value to any garden. They’re generally adaptable to site and soils (though prefer a moist, neutral to acid soil), highly tolerant of frost and live longer than ornamental cherries, with 50 year old trees still standing in fine health.

    Malus always piques our long-term interest, with flowers from early May to late June (depending on the weather) and the potential for jellies and jams in the autumn. Alternatively, just leave the fruit to fall to entice native animals and birds into the garden.

    English Woodlands are offering a selection of reliable, attractive trees, containerised in 175cm and 300-350cm sizes. At the top of our list is May’s ‘Plant of the Month’, Malus ‘Sun Rival’. It’s a manageably small, semi-weeping / umbrella-shaped tree, with pink buds giving way to white flowers during mid to late spring, followed by glossy red fruits. It’s extremely resistant to disease, an added bonus for any of you seeking lower maintenance investments.

    Spring may be a little delayed this year, but it’s already worth thinking about the winter ahead, in which case we strongly recommend Malus Evereste. A small, conical tree producing white flowers from red buds, though the apples are where Evereste really shines. Red-flushed orange fruit arrive during autumn, persisting well into winter. They’re especially resistant to apple scab, the flowers will serve as a good pollinator for your other apple trees. If apples are a large part of your garden, Malus Evereste is a great option.

    You can find our entire crab apple collection among our Common trees, so be sure to take the time and browse through. In the next few days we’ll also be talking about a few more varieties for those of you interested in jams, jellies and bird feeding. As ever, contact us with any questions you might have and we’d be happy to help.

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