Tag Archives: Trees

Essential Evergreens

Evergreens take centre stage.

Evergreens take centre stage.

As February looms and the glitter of Christmas is a fading memory the depths of winter are feeling long in the garden. This is where evergreens finally come into their own. All year they have been the back drop to the vibrant blooms of summer and autumn. Now they take centre stage.


Eucryphia x nymansensis 'Nymansay'

Eucryphia x nymansensis ‘Nymansay’

Eucryphia x nymansensis ‘Nymansensis’ : A small elegant tree of slender columnar habit, with dark glossy green leaves, and saucer shaped white flowers up to 6mm across with a cluster of bright yellow stamens in August. Grows well in a loamy soils but this variety will tolerate chalky conditions.

Chamecyparis lawsoniana ‘Columnaris’: This delightful small conifer is an ideal focal point for a small garden. It has a dense, narrow habit with ascending branches and flattened sprays of glaucous foliage, with attractive bunches of small round cones. It grows well on neutral soils but will tolerate poor conditions.


Pieris japonica ‘Variegata’: This attractive medium sized shrub, gives a lot of ‘bang’ for it’s ‘buck’. It has glossy dark green leaves with a creamy yellow edged margin and the new growth in spring is held upright in rich red tufts of leaves giving a good contrasted with the mature foliage. Delicate racemes of ‘lilly of the valley’ type flowers in clear white are produced in April/May. Pieris are members of the Ericaceae family and so need acid soil, they will however grow just as well in a large tub or container.

Pittosporum tenifolium 'Tom Thumb'

Pittosporum tenifolium ‘Tom Thumb’

Pittosporum tenuifolium ‘Tom Thumb’: This wonderful mound forming small shrub can be used as a statement at the front of a boarder or as an informal low hedge. It has dark glossy burgundy foliage with the new growth being a vibrant lime green before it becomes speckled purple and finally becomes a mature wine colour. It responses well to gentle clipping after the last of the frosts. Like all Pittosperums it is only fully hardy in the south of England. It will grow in all well drained soils and will tolerate a variety of soil types, except waterlogging.


Pittosporum tenifolium 'Tom Thumb'

‘Ajuga retans ‘Catlin’s Gaint’

Ajuga reptans ‘Catlin’s Gaint’: This vigorous spreading ground cover plant adds a splash of colour to the lower boarder and acts as a great foil for dwarf spring bulbs. Shiny rounded dark purple leaves on long creeping stems make a dense purple matt. In early spring, 75mm tall dark blue/purple flower spikes are produced which form an attractive combination between flower and leaf colour.

Berginia rotblum

Berginia rotblum

Bergina ‘Rotblum’: This striking low growing herbaceous perennial has large glossy emerald green leaves which turn a deep claret red when the temperatures drop in the autumn and winter, making it a striking addition to the lower boarder. It has magenta flower held on red stems rising 200mm above the bold dark red leaves in March and flowering till early May. It does well in humus rich soil in semi-shade, it does not like waterlogging.

Evergreens are versatile in their use from clipped topery as a statement piece to one off specimen trees, to the dominant focal points at entrances and exits, to screening hedges and low boarder edging hedges. To dramatic sweeps of low evergreen herbaceous planting. All are essential evergreen planting uses in the garden.

Evergreens make a winter garden.

Evergreens make a winter garden.

So if you are looking out of the kitchen window at a brown and desolate garden where all you see is the sticks of the roses and the bare earth now the herbaceous plants have died down and endless boundary fences round the garden. Then you need to think about enriching your garden design with some evergreen elements and now is the time to get planning and get planting. If you need help? Then I know a woman who can. Give me a ring, 01273 470753.

Breath evergreen life into you winter garden!

Fruiting Glory- The Apple Harvest.

As the days begin to shorten and the evenings and early mornings start to gain an autumnal crispness September brings the bulk of the apple harvest. With small trees, cordons, espalier and even step over apples, there is surely space in most gardens for this most quintessential of English garden fruit.

Sizes: M27 is on a root stock that will grow to approx. 2m in height, so easy for picking and pruning. If how ever you want to have an apple tree to sit under then you should chose MM106 which will reach 4 to 5m in height and give you that traditional Orchard look. There are root stock sizes in between, ask your nursery for advise.

The best time to plant apple trees is in the bare root season, when the trees are dormant, from late November to early March as a rough rule of thumb.

Pollination, apart from the self-fertile varieties all apple trees will need a pollinator variety. So if the tree you choose is in pollinator group 3 then choose a campaign tree from either group 3 or from an adjoining group in this case 2 or 4.

Here are some apple varieties I would deferentially give house room to.

Early Fruiters

Apple Discovery: Well rounded rosy fruit with a crisp juicy flavour. Good disease resistance and frost tolerance. Picking time is late July-early August. This variety does not keep well so enjoy it’s delights while you can. Pollination group 3.

A. Discovery

A. Discovery

Apple George Cave: This old variety has a refreshing flavour and crops heavily and regularly. Fruit is ripe end of July and into early August. Stored well they will keep till October. Pollination group 2.

A. Geogre Cave

A. Geogre Cave

Late Eaters

Apple Rosemary Russet: Fruit is orange to reddish brown flushed over golden russet. Medium sized fruits with a sweet-sharp taste. Picking late September to early October and keeping if stored well till February. Pollination group 3

A. Rosemary Russet

A. Rosemary Russet

Apple Winter Gem: Pink flushed fruit with rich and aromatic flavour. A reliable heavy cropping variety. Pick in October and store well for fruit up till Christmas. Pollination group 3.

A.Winter Gem

A.Winter Gem

Self-fertile Eaters

Apple Cox’s Orange Pippin: This surely above all other apples must be the variety that evokes home grown apples and quite rightly so with it’s distinctive aromatic crisp and juicy flavour. Fruits are golden flushed red and orange. Pick September into October, will store till November.

A. Cox's Orange Pippin

A. Cox’s Orange Pippin

Apple Christmas Pearmain: Green- yellow fruits with firm flesh and good fresh flavour. Picking time late September.

A. Christmas Pearmain

A. Christmas Pearmain

Dual Purpose Apples

As the name suggests, both for cooking and eating, the apples start with a tart flavour and then mellow with storage into an eater.

Apple Blenheim Orange: one of the best dual use apples with large golden fruits, that has a creamy flesh which is crisp,dry with a nutty flavour. A heavy cropper. Pick early October and store well to January. PLEASE NOTE: this variety is a triploid, so it needs 2 pollinating apples, Pollination group 3.

A. Belenheim Orange

A. Belenheim Orange

Apple James Grieve: A good apple for a difficult site, does well in northern gardens. Crops heavily and regularly. A green-yellow red flushed fruit of soft texture which is juicy and tangy. Pick late August early September. Pollination group 3.

A. James Grieve

A. James Grieve

Cooking Apples

What Sunday lunch in the autumn could be with out Apple Pie? Here are tow varieties that are packed full of flavour.

Apple Bountiful: This is a compact variety that will fit well into a smallish garden. Large green fruit blushed red, with a juicy crisp flavour. It is a heavy and regular cropper. Pick late September and store well, till March. Pollination group 3.

A. Bountiful

A. Bountiful

Apple Bramley’s Seedling: By far the most popular cooking apple of them all, it’s large trees produce branches laden with fruit and it will no doubt be this variety of apple that your friends and neighbours are piling upon you in bucketfuls of free gifts. It is a prolific cropper of large round green/yellow fruits with a firm white flesh and strong crisp juicy flavour, that makes great pies! Picking time early-mid October. Store the fruit well and you will still be making pies well into early spring. Pollination group 3.

A. Bramley's Seedling

A. Bramley’s Seedling

Storage: It should be a clean, dry and dark space with some ventilation and free from mice, and any strong flavours or smells do not store with the onions or next to the creosote. Pick when it is dry weather, line with newspaper low plastic or wooden  boxes. Dry fruit and carefully make sure the fruit you store does not have any blemishes. Place fruit in rows. Check your fruit boxes at least once a week to remove any apples going rotten the paper may well need changing at this point.

So now is the time to go and do some edible research, whether it is sampling the fruit of friends and neighbours and taking note of which varieties you like or going to some Apple Day events, at Brighton Apple Day 2nd October www.brightonpermaculture.org.uk or Apple fair at West Dean 1&2nd October www.westdean.org.uk Or RHS Wisley has a huge variety of apple trees and sells different fruits for you to try.

Once you have your list and if you want help creating your own orchard, then do give me a ring. Tel:01273 470753.

Happy Apple tasting!

The Abundance of Blossom- Ornamental Cherries

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.

P. pensica 'Pink Shell'

P. pensica ‘Pink Shell’

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 subhivtella 'Autumnalis'

Prunus subhivtella ‘Autumnalis’

P.subhivtella 'Autumnalis'

P.subhivtella ‘Autumnalis’

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 subhivella 'Pendula

Prunus subhivella ‘Pendula Rosea’

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.

Prunus 'Amanogawa'

Prunus ‘Amanogawa’

P. 'Amanogawa'

P. ‘Amanogawa’

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 sargentii

Prunus sargentii



P.sergentii, autumn colour

P.sergentii, autumn colour

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.

P.'Tai haku'

P.’Tai haku’

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.