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Monthly Archives: March 2014

  • Varieties of native ornamental cherries

    March is the time when early ornamental cherries start coming out in blossom (in  previous blogs we’ve highlighted some of the earliest of these varieties). While there are an abundance of lovely ornamental cherry trees to choose from, we’d like to introduce you to two particularly pleasing cherry trees that you may not be so familiar with:

    Prunus avium Plena – the double white flowering variety of wild cherry

    Prunus avium Plena Prunus avium Plena

    This is a medium-sized tree that eventually reaches a height of 8-12m. It has a 4-6m spread with a rounded and regularly branched crown. While it has glossy bark and leaves turn orange-yellow in the autumn, it is arguably more attractive in the spring, with pendulous bundles of double snow-white flowers in April to early May.

    The flowers are sterile, and hence do not produce fruit. Generally undemanding of soil type as long as it is well drained, this ornamental cherry is chalk tolerant and an ideal park and avenue tree that also suits medium to large gardens.

    While not as flamboyant as some of the Japanese ornamental cherries, we recommend Prunus avium Plena as a stunning, graceful tree which will fit neatly into a naturalistic garden or a woodland setting.

    Prunus padus Watereri bird cherry

    Prunus padus Watereri Prunus padus Watereri

    A fast growing cherry tree, Prunus padus Watereri ultimately reaches a 10m height and spread. One of its most distinct characteristics are its unusual, fragrant white flowers, which appear in May and hang in long pendulous racemes. This tree’s blue-ish green coloured matt leaves also transform into a fine shade of yellow in autumn.

    Managing to be very hardy and tolerant of a wide range of soil types, Prunus can also tolerate temporary drought as well as wetter soils, this tree can cope where other cherry trees may not thrive.

    The tree produces pea sized cherries in late summer that, while edible, tend to have a bitter taste, hence the cherries are usually reserved for use in preserves in some parts of Europe.

    Nevertheless, as a long-lasting medium to large ornamental cherry tree, Prunus padus Watereri can ultimately be used to great effect in amenity plantings, large gardens and in open naturalistic settings.

    As ever, if these native ornamental cherries are of interest, please feel free to contact us for more information and advice!

  • On promotion this month - Pyrus Chanticleer

    Pyrus Chanticleer – or the ornamental callery pear – is now on promotion online at English Woodlands. An early flowering ornamental pear, Pyrus Chanticleer is a hardy, wind tolerant plant, which even manages to be resilient in exposed, coastal winds. Furthermore, it is tolerant of atmosphere pollution.

    Functional throughout the year, its lovely cream spring flowers and glossy green leaves are stunning in the summer and are followed by a good yellow red colour in the autumn, that lasts as long as late November.

    Ultimately reaching heights of 12m in maturity, Pyrus Chanticleer is fully prunable too.

    For all these reasons, Pyrus Chanticleer just happens to be among our favourite trees.

    To take advantage of a 20 per cent discount on these trees during March, simply enter the code ‘MARCH14’ at the checkout when order.

    Visit our promotions page to see all the pear trees on promotion this month.

    pyrus chanticleer

  • Focus on Salix – Willows

    With some areas of the country having been affected by wet ground and flooded landscapes over the course of this winter, we have been thinking about trees and shrubs that are resilient enough to withstand waterlogged or wet conditions.

    One such species that can be effective in these conditions are Willows (Salix species), which can be used for a variety of purposes in soil that tends to be wet.

    Ornamental, yet functional trees

    When established, specimen trees that can withstand wet sites actually help to reduce water in the area. Their roots are notable for their durability: they can absorb water through the roots, which are then carried through the tree and transpired out through its leaves.

    Willows can be used as specimen trees – such as the iconic Salix alba chrysocoma (famously known as the weeping willow) and are often seen beautifying river banks and ponds, but they also have many uses as shrubs.

     

    Salix

    Basket making

    Traditionally willows have been used in basket making, with the common osier or Salix viminalis commonly used for this purpose; other varieties such as white willow and scarlet willow (Salix vitellina and Salix alba britzensis) can be used for basketry too.

     

    While plants are usually kept coppiced (i.e. cut close to the ground to encourage further growth) to provide stems suitable for basket making, they can also be left to grow as a single stem and pollarded (cut higher up) to avoid damage from any curious, passing animals.

    Stabilising river banks

    Planting willow by rivers or streams is thought to help reduce bank erosion and prevent flooding. While native shrubs and taller plants are useful, willow trees are an ideal choice for this purpose, as they root easily and are quick growing.

    Design

    Willows are an ideal specimen shrub to feature in a winter garden. To be planted in broad drifts and pruned in the spring to encourage the brightly coloured new growth, Willows can be used to startling effect alongside bulbs such as snow drops, and with trees such as the white stemmed Himalayan birch (Betula utilis jaquemontii)

    English Woodlands supply Salix willow bare root trees and shrubs from November to March in varieties suitable for coppicing, hedging, river side planting and ornamental use in the garden as well as specimen trees in containers all year round - it is a genus well worth discovering!

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