Nothing says ‘Spring’ quite like clouds of white and delicate pink blossom, etched against a darkened April shower sky or the confetti of petals blowing in the spring breeze, than the many varieties of ornamental cherries. They are not just a few week wonder in spring either, many have attractive early foliage and dramatic autumn colour, but of course it is the billowing clouds of spring blooms that are their undoubtable star turn.
There are quite literately hundreds to choice from, so here is a selection of a few that I think are worth a space in your garden.
Small Garden Varieties: Prunus pensica ‘Pink Shell’, this long established variety produces a robust elegant small tree with graceful drooping branches with an abundance of delicate shell-pink flowers in dainty clusters. Flowering mid-season.
Prunus serrula, this mop headed tree has the added interest of shiny mahogany coloured bark which adds an attractive element to the winter garden. This cherry has small clusters of white flowers in clusters in late April.
Special interest flowering cherries: You don’t have to wait all the way to spring to get your ‘blossom’ fix, Prunus subhivtella ‘Autumnalis’ will produce small neat light pink flowers along it’s stems from November through to March, and has great autumn colour as well. I would recommend planting a multi-stemed plant which will grow into a large shrub, that way it is at a perfect height to fully admire the ‘out of season’ blooms but also very handy for snipping the odd stem for a Christmas day centre piece on the dinning room table, it never fails to have that wow factor. Also think hard about the planting position, due to the low light levels to truly get the best out of the flowering, plant this Prunus with an evergreen backing shrub so the flowers really show up.
Prunus subhirtella ‘Pendula Rosea’, This is a stunning variety with a graceful weeping habit crying out to be planted near water where the blossom can be reflected. Clusters of rich pink buds open to blush pink flowers in late March-early April.
Prunus ‘Amanogawa’, a small fastigiate habit tree, ideal for a very small garden or for the gardening ‘fastigiate fan’. Upright branches hug the tree trunk and produce clusters of fragrant semi-double soft pink flowers mid to late season.
Cherries for larger spaces: For those of you lucky enough to have the room then cherries really do come in large sizes with a majestic habit. Prunus sargentii, one of the loveliest of all garden varieties this hansom tree has a strong mop-headed habit with an abundance of single pink flowers produced in clusters late March to early April. The new leaves are a deep bronze fading to mid green. The tree has gorgeous autumn colours.
Prunus ‘Tai haku’ one of the most dramatic of the Japanese cherries the ‘Great white cherry’ has a wide spreading habit producing it’s branches almost in terries giving it a wonderful shape for the winter garden. Great clusters of very large single white flowers are produced along the branches giving a mass of flowers in mid season.
So now is the time to get out there and admire the flowering cherries, the earlys have gone the mid-season are still with us due to the cold snap and the lates are still to come. Take photos and names of the varieties you would like to give house room to. So you will be ready to order then in the late summer early autumn already for planting in the bare root season over the winter, ready for that marvellous spring display next April/May. If you need help with ordering and planting then give me a ring.