If you are gardening in the weld of Sussex and Kent and other neutral to acid soils, you may feel that gardening is a strenuous contact sport. Battling waterlogged and heavy soils in the winter which can set concrete like in the summer months, this gardening is only for the most hardy, but there are many small trees and shrubs that thrive in such conditions and make all the hard work worth while. Here are just a few to consider.
Hamamellis x intermedia ‘Allgold’: ‘Which Hazels’ are superb shrubs and this is one of the very best. It has an attractive habit growing to a vase like shape with spreading branches. It has round mid green leaves similar to a hazel, hence it’s common name. With good copper hues in the autumn. The main attraction are the very fragrant deep golden spider like flower held on bare twigs in mid-January to mid-February. Grows well in any neutral to acid soil that is water retentive and humus rich, but not water logged. In dappled shade.
Pieris ‘Forset Flame’: This hansom large shrub is well worth a place in any garden. With glossy dark green foliage, which has striking bright red new growth every spring held as vertical candles above the older green foliage. This new foliage, turns through pink, to white and finally to green as it matures. In April- May it is smothered in pinnacles of dropping waxy white flowers which are almost lilly of the valley like. It makes quite a sight. Grows well in Dappled shade it will tolerate full sun. in acid soil which is moisture retentive but not water logged, with a good humus content.
Fothergilla major: Is a medium sized shrub which is moderately slow growing but worth the wait. It is a deciduous shrub with round curse toothed leaves that turn a brilliant blood red in Autumn. It has smallish white bottle brush flowers in the summer. It loves a rich acid soil with good moisture and needs full sun.
Magnolia liliiflora ‘Nigra’: One bit of very good news about gardening on acid soils, is the whole of the Magnolia family is now at your disposal. A beautiful, multi-stem shrub or small tree, this magnolia is a show stopper, with an elegant wine goblet like habit. Mid green foliage that goes a beautiful butter yellow in autumn. In Mid -April to May, tulip shaped, dark rich purple flowers, pale white with in, held upright on the stems. It may even flower on and off right up till August. Likes full sun to a little dappled shade, humus rich neutral to acid soil.
Kalmia latifolia ‘Freckles’: A medium sized evergreen shrub with glossy green leaves. With clusters of white to pale pink flowers with delicate spots of burgundy, flowers are borne on mass in June. It is a striking display. Grows well in moisture acid soils in full sun. Caution all part of this plant are poisonous.
Cornus kousa chinensis; This specimen shrub requires an open situation where is can be the focal point. It is a slow grower but will reward your patience ten fold.. A large shrub or small tree, it has a striking tiered like habit, with foliage held in pairs along the branches. It has rich red autumn colour. Mid summer papery white flowers are produced followed by pimply red round fruit which hang from the branches. Grows in full sun to dappled shade, and in humus rich neutral to acid soils. dramatic addition to any garden.
So if you feel gardening on heavy acid soils has little to no rewards hopefully this will inspire you to think again about your garden.
If you need help with a planting scheme, either new or resorting an existing area, I know just the woman who can help you. Give me, Emily a call on 01273 470753. I will be delighted to talk to you about your garden project.