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English Woodlands Burrow Nursery Blog

  • Attract Bees to your Garden with Ornamental trees

    Whether you like them or not, bees are of critical importance to our environment: they are pollinators for fruit and vegetable crops, and they are producers of honey and other medicinal foods.

    Unfortunately, with the global bee population in decline due to habitat and disease problems, the pollination of fruit trees and cultivation of fruit and vegetables is in jeopardy. Yet garden owners can do something small to counter this, by planting a number of ornamental/fruit trees in their back garden to attract bees, helping them on their way to provide vital food sources and to keep our fruit-bearing trees pollinated.

    Firstly, you may want to be aware that certain flowers are more accommodating to bees than others. Single flowers tend to be your best bet, as they are larger, and therefore more accessible for insects to find the nectar and pollen. In contrast, many double flowered plants do not produce nectar at all.

    It also may be worth maintaining a varied seasonal plan, in which your flowering season stretches from early spring to the very last days of summer. If you plant too early, there is a large chance the pollen will be all used up in a short space of time. Aiming for what we might call ‘staggered interest’, with a variety of perennial plants, will see the flowering season extend from early spring right up until the end of summer, giving the bees a great deal of support over the longest period of time.

    In terms of suitable species for attracting bees to your garden, English Woodlands has a number of suggestions:

    • Spring – ornamental crab apples and pears, such as Malus and Pyrus species
    • Early flowering Cherries such as Prunus cerasifera Nigra
    • Hawthorns such as Crataegus prunifolia and Crataegus Monogyna

    As for summer flowering trees, Tilia lime trees are certainly attractive to bees (although some species are more so than others, for instance, some have a soporific, almost narcotic effect).

    In late spring and early summer, shrubs such as Elder and Cotoneaster cornubia are valuable sources of nectar, while climbers such as Honeysuckle will all variety before the autumn.

    Finally, as late summer gives way to autumn, Arbutus unedo, a strawberry tree, has both flowers used as a pollen source for bees and fruits for birds, while the shrub Elaeagnus ebbingei has small white fragrant flowers, making it a bee-friendly option as a hedge plant.

    arbutus enedo

    For any more tips on which trees are best for attracting bees to your garden, or for any general inquiries, please get in touch with us. The knowledgeable English Woodlands team are available Monday-Friday on 01435 862992, or you can leave an inquiry on our contact page and our team will gladly get back to you.

  • Read Our Selection of the Best Trees For Screening to Protect your Privacy….

    One of the most common problems we hear about our customers’ gardens are their  ‘next door nightmares’ – a term some apply to the likes of unsightly extensions, overlooking windows from other houses, and even trampolines (and trampolining children!)

    The summertime is the time when many of you will have the chance to enjoy your garden in peace and seclusion. Ensuring you have the background you want during the summer season is something well worth planning in advance for.

    Although Autumn to Spring is the traditional tree-planting season, here at the nursery we receive enquiries all year round about screening – and summer is certainly an ideal time to plan for autumn planting.

    We have plenty of screening solutions that will suit your garden preferences, whether you simply want a bit of privacy, if you want to create a haven for wildlife or even if you want to create your own artistic paradise.

     

    Evergreen Trees and Hedge Plants

    When our customers come seeking screening solutions, evergreen plants tend to be a popular choice, due to their year-round endurance.

    Evergreen conifers such as Cupresssocyparis x leylandii (Leyland) are great fast growing plant with thick foliage, that can work well if pruned regularly.

    Thuja plicata (Western Red Cedar) is a great alternative that you can trim back hard if necessary and it will still regrow.

     

    Alternative Evergreen Options

    Photinia Red Robin and Prunus Lusitanica (Portuguese laurel) are non-conifer evergreens that can achieve a total 5-6m in height, they are hardy and popular hedge plants that many of our customers also grow as standard trees.

    Other non-conifer evergreens include:

    Laurus nobilis (Bay) - great in a sunny well-drained site, and very pruneable

    Ilex (Holly) – a hardy and wind tolerant tree

    Arbutus unedo (Strawberry Tree)

    Cotoneaster cornubia (Semi-evergreen)

     

    Deciduous trees

    The advantage of using deciduous trees for screening is that there is a lot more variety available. Many of these trees grow quickly, and add foliage, flower and fruit interest.

    Although they lose their leaves, some deciduous trees and hedges have screening advantages. For example, trees that keep their leaves well into autumn such as Crataegus lavallei and Pyrus Chanticleer still give screening in the garden during sunny autumn days; other trees with large leaves such as Acer platanoides varieties provide good foliage cover during summer months when you are most likely to be in the garden; and trees with well branches crowns such as Crataegus – hawthorns - give some filtered screening even without leaves and let light in during darker months.

    Finally, pleached trees are another popular screening choice: normally planted in a line on a bamboo framework, and having the effect of a hedge on stilts, these are perfect for above-fence screening in restricted spaces. Tilia species, Carpinus and Pyrus Chanticleer are popular and functional options for pleached trees; you can browse our full range of pleached trees here.

     

    Advice

    Of course, all of this depends on your garden or site and the suitability of trees or hedges for the location – we aim to give the right advice to find a solution for your garden. If you want to talk to any of our friendly team about planning your options give us a call on 01435 862992.

    Or, you can leave us a message on our contact page, and we’ll endeavour to promptly get back to you.

    Thuja Occidentalis Brabant Thuja Occidentalis Brabant
    Pyrus calleryana Chanticleer Pyrus calleryana Chanticleer
  • Summer time tips from English Woodlands

    July and August is not an ideal time for tree planting. However, the summer months are great for simply enjoying a garden in full bloom, complemented by glorious sunshine; the summer time is also a good time to start planning for autumn!

    Summer trees for shade

    Prominent trees featured in towns and cities are particularly welcome as the temperatures start to soar. Adding much needed shade to the streets and softening the outline of buildings, trees add a certain beauty with their foliage and form. Parks form ‘green lungs’ in built-up areas and transform high streets into attractive avenues. So enjoy the feel good factor of trees wherever they are this summer!

    Some of our favourites trees for shade include:

    Other plants to enjoy

    Moreover, there are many plants to enjoy around a patio or pool in summer include olives, figs, palms and bamboos. Have a good look around the garden to see what foliage colours and shapes you could add. Green is restful, gold and burgundy foliage can be added as a highlight, and variegated plants love the sun!

    Top tips

    If you are going on holiday this time of year, remember newly planted trees and shrubs need watering so do make arrangements for this with your neighbours or friends if you are going away!

    Some more top tips for what to do during summer include:

    • Tie in and train new growth on climbers such as Wisteria and Clematis
    • Prune new growth on apple and pear trees to retain shape and encourage fruiting side shoots next year.
    • Trim all topiary plants, such as bay, to keep them in a neat shape – and feed them if they are in containers.
    • Make sure you keep watering all your newly planted trees and shrubs!

     

    Looking good in the nursery just now:

    hydrangea Hydrangea
    imperata cylindrica Imperata Cylindrica
    phyllostachys vivax aureocaulis Phyllostachys vivax aureocaulis

    If you want to find out more about the products listed above, then just let us know. Visit our contact page to find out how to get in touch.

  • Evergreen Flowering Plants for the Summer

    Evergreen trees, shrubs and climbers add structure and foliage interest all year round, and if they flower too they are really earning their keep! If you have a wall to cover or a statement to make there are some great plants in flower just now.

    We thought we’d share with you some of the cream of the crop, available at either the English Woodlands nursery or online.

    Firstly, Evergreen Magnolia – Magnolia grandiflora, we also sell the variety ‘Goliath’ which flowers when younger than the species.

    Retaining its deep, glossy leaves throughout the year, evergreen Magnolia can flower from July throughout the summer, and if mild into the autumn too. It has large creamy flowers, which are delicately fragrant.

    Magnolia grandiflora was traditionally grown in sheltered walled gardens or against a house and enjoys a sunny site protected from cold wind. It makes a stunning stand alone specimen and is prunable, but at the expense of some flowers.

    Magnolia grandiflora Goliath Flower

    Our Trachelospermum jasminoides – know as the ‘Star Jasmine’ – is not, in fact, a jasmine, as you might expect.

    This climber has very fragrant white flowers reminiscent of jasmine and given some support will climb and screen walls and fences.

    It does best in well-drained soil and a sunny site, the star jasmine can reach an ultimate height of 7 metres. If this is too high for your liking, don’t worry: you can keep it contained in a smaller space, while the plant can be pruned, if need be. If you do need to prune however, be careful, as the stems and leaves exude a milky juice when cut.

    Trachelospermum jasminoides

    Finally, another impressive container plant currently in season is Nandina domestica, also called heavenly bamboo although it is definitely not a bamboo!

    These are erect, evergreen shrubs with elegant green foliage, which colour well throughout the entirety of summer and autumn. With panicles of white flowers appearing in mid-summer, nandina domestica eventually sports bright red berries, growing to an ultimate height of 2 metres, with a 1.5 metre spread. Nandina is slow growing and is an attractive plant for a pot on a patio – ideal in courtyard gardens too.

    Nandina flowering

    As ever, if you wish to discuss the plants featured here, or any that we have available in stock, don’t hesitate to get in touch!

  • What to do with fruit trees during the ‘June Drop’

    Now we’re halfway through June, owners of fruit trees may have noticed the fruit starting to drop off from the trees.

    Commonly known as the ‘June Drop’, the early summer sees fruit trees flowering to the extent that they naturally shed some of their produce.

    english woodlands fruit trees

    This is usually caused by either an excessive fruit load, whereby there is a surplus amount of fruit that becomes too heavy for a tree to carry.

    Other causes tend to be that a tree has limited carbohydrate resources and needs to lose fruit to respire properly, or even turbulent weather conditions. Another major cause of damaged fruit, unsuitable for a crop, is inadequate cultivation, and this is something that you can rectify yourself.

    Pruning to allow the tree’s branches, in order for it to access more light, is one method that gardeners may want to try.

    Another useful method is to thin your fruit (i.e. manually removing any surplus) in order to help immature trees to conserve energy. Instead this energy will be spent on developing roots, foliage and branches, meaning the tree will have a better foundation to harvest in future years. Certainly, it is important that a specimen does not expend too much energy in a year’s crop, lest it affect the next year’s produce.

    Pruning and thinning benefits the remaining fruits, allowing them to develop to the right size, and allowing them good access to sunlight and oxygen.

    When it comes to apple or pear trees, you will want to remove any fruit that has an odd shape, position, or that are damaged in any way. Within any given cluster, there will often be a ‘king’ fruit that has all of these attributes, and will definitely need removing right away. Make sure you use secateurs or long scissors for the job, or you can twist them off by hand if that’s easier.

    Plums have a habit of over-cropping too, but are easy to thin out with a thumb and forefinger; leave out one pair every 15cm.

    If your fruit has already started dropping, you will want to get started thinning and pruning, maintaining the trees as you see fit until mid-July.

    If you have any questions or queries on best pruning and thinning practices, don’t hesitate to contact us. If you’re hoping to buy fruit trees then we have pear, apple, cherry, plum trees and more available online, in our fruit trees category.

    Furthermore, if you would like to purchase any of our hedges, shrubs, accessories, or trees for gardens, then feel free to browse the site to view our comprehensive selection.

  • June Promotion: Save 20% on Box Topiary and 10% on Box Hedge Plants

    During June, we are running a promotion on selected Buxus sempervirens, or Box as it is more commonly known - a classic and deservedly popular plant.

    Although June is not traditionally the planting season for trees or shrubs, container grown plants can be planted at any time of year as long as the soil is still moist, and you can water them during the summer after planting. Box is very popular as topiary as well as hedge plants, they are evergreen, slow growing and are easily maintained by pruning – traditionally during June.

    Box has traditionally been used as a low hedge around vegetable and rose gardens and formal herbaceous borders – all usually at their best in June. Topiary box balls and cones can also be used effectively in containers by entrances, on patios and balconies. Box is tolerant of shade and most well-drained soils. Like any plants if you keep box in containers do feed them during the growing season!

    At English Woodlands we stock a range of container grown hedge plants and topiary, and we are offering two promotions this month.

    To activate this discount, you will want to activate the following codes when at the checkout:

    10% off all Box hedging code: BOXHEDGE10

    AND

    20% off all Box topiary code: BOXTOP20

    To view all of the Box plants on offer this month, you can visit our promotions page now. For any further information, please call us on 01435 862882

    box topiary plantsbox plants

  • 15% off Rite-Edge Aluminium Edging Products

    Now May’s here, there’s a wonderful abundance of new growth and fabulous blooms, and in most soil types conditions are ideal for planting

    With all the warm weather and eye-catching blooms though, it is easy to ignore the edge of borders. Of course, this means that grass can soon encroach in areas where it shouldn’t be encroaching.

    In order to help you demarcate borders between the edges of lawns, our Rite-Edge aluminium edging products can be used to smarten up grass and shrub borders. Alternatively, these products can be used for delineating gravel or paved areas. Easy to install as either straight or curved edging systems, these are available in silver, brown or green colours.

    During the month of May, we are offering 15% off our Rite Edge products. To view the products included in the promotion, please visit our promotions page. You can activate the 15% discount at the checkout by using voucher code MAY14. This discount code is available until 31st May 2014, so make the most of it while you can!

    Happy Gardening and enjoy the warm weather!

  • Tree Planting Accessories – Aftercare Products

    When it comes to planting, you will always want to ensure that new trees and shrubs have the best possible start to life, in order for them to reach full maturity.

    Therefore, any newly planted tree, regardless of environment, will require careful attention and maintenance. The planting itself is only part of the process, and it should be stressed that the aftercare of your plant is of equal importance.

    Items such as fertilisers are ideal for feeding flowering plants, trees and shrubs to establish plant growth and to guarantee good nutrition. The Growmore 3kg Fertiliser Tub is just one of the value for money fertilisers available at English Woodlands for £9.60 per tub (inc. VAT).

    Compost available in convenient size bags ensure soil improvement at time of planting. John Innes Compost available in 20L bags is particularly good in a heavy clay soil, while 80l bags of decorative ornamental pine bark are handy in order to suppress weed development around the base of your plant and to add an attractive finish.

    Items such as tree stakes or rootball anchors (if you want a more unobtrusive method of firmly securing a semi mature tree) offer substantial support, and are important to consider for ensuring healthy roots, soil and plant growth during the first few seasons of a plant’s life.

    Finally, products such as Rootgrow (applied at the time of planting) enable superior root establishment, and allow plants to develop better root systems in order to cope with drought, while tree irrigation kits can facilitate efficient, regular watering of your newly planted trees.

    Rootgrow

    To view the full selection of Aftercare products available on the English Woodlands website, visit the Planting Accessories category. If you are looking for any further, specific advice about any aspect of planting you can take a look at the ‘Tree Planting Methods’ section of our blog.

    However if you want to talk to someone about aftercare, we would be happy to help with any other queries; just give us a call on 01435 862992 to talk to one of our friendly, informative team.

  • Offer on Amelanchier spring flowering trees – 20% off throughout April

    After a mild winter and some remarkably sunny and dry days throughout March, spring is well and truly under way!

    To celebrate, we have 20% off all Amelanchier as this month’s promotion.

    Available from English Woodlands in sizes as small as 175-200cm to large sizes such as 300-350cm, Amelanchier is an attractive genus with year-round interest.  As one of the lesser-known types of spring flowering trees, Amelanchier has pink buds which open to star-shaped white flowers throughout April and May, followed by blue black berries. Strong colouring follows in the autumn. Generally, Amelanchiers thrive in moist well-drained lime-free soils and in sun or light shade.

    As an example, Amelanchier arborea Robin Hill (available as a 12-14cm girth tree) initially has leaves that have a coppery green color which gradually harden to green during summer. An ideal garden tree as it requires very little maintenance, this tree is large enough to provide light screening above a fence line, and is a lovely addition to a seating area.

    Among the small standards (175-200cm), tree varieties include Amelanchier Snowflakes, which has large white flowers and Amelanchier asiatica Ballerina, both varieties are smaller than Robin Hill ultimately reaching 6m in height

    In order to activate the 20% discount, make sure you use the code ‘APRIL14’ when at the basket.

    Visit our promotions page to find out more.

    Amelanchier English Woodlands' Amelanchier Robin Hill
  • 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!

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