Top 10 Flowering Trees For Your Garden

First launched in 1975, #NationalTreeWeek is the UK’s largest tree celebration, annually launching the start of the winter planting season. Take this fantastic opportunity to discuss the importance of trees to our planet as well as key environmental issues, so why not get inspired to plant through our fantastic selection of bestselling trees?

Here’s our top 10 flowering trees to spruce up your landscape and help the planet.

Prunus Kanzan (Japanese Flowering Cherry)

One of the most popular Japanese flowering cherry trees, Prunus ‘Kanzan‘ is loaded with pinkish/purple double flowers with a frilly edge. The flowers bloom from March until its bronze foliage begins to unfurl. The bronze coloured leaves turn green before adopting burnt orange colours in autumn.

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Magnolia ‘Nigra’

Holder of the RHS Award of Garden Merit, Nigra is a beautiful Magnolia variety. Their tulip-shaped deep purple-pink flowers blossom in late spring and add an exotic touch to the garden border. Also, their blooms are fragrant and well-loved by pollinators.

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Halesia monticola (Snowdrop Tree)

A lovely and unusual alternative to a Cherry. The largest of this Halesia genus produces clusters of small, beautiful snowdrop-like pendular flowers that adorn the branches in May and June. Their colour-changing leaves are a real feature in the autumn.

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Amelanchier canadensis

This bushy little tree that provides interest all year round, with masses of white flowers in spring followed by red, edible fruit in summer (get them before the birds do!). One of the most striking plants for autumn colour with its vivid flamed leaves.

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Cercis ‘Avondale’ (Chinese Redbud)

A real showstopper. This phenomenal tree is the centerpiece of any spring garden. The rich magenta pink flowers bloom on bare stems in late spring before the large heart-shaped green glossy leaves emerge and turn into a vivid yellow in autumn.

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 Eucalyptus (Cider Gum Tree)

Fast growing and easy to care for. This extremely hardy tree is tall and slender, with almost blue young foliage. Pretty white flowers emerge in early summer and their sprigs of grey-blue foliage can also be brought inside and used in cool-themed flower arrangements!

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Viburnum Opulus Roseum (Snowball Tree)

Brighten up the summer garden with this vigorous, deciduous shrub. The large and fragrant pompom-like white floral clusters bloom in late spring. In autumn, vibrant red berries appear and are an excellent food source for birds throughout the cold months.

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Wisteria multijuga

A winner of the RHS Award of Garden Merit, Wisteria ‘Multijuga‘ is one of the most desirable varieties of Japanese Wisteria on the market today. Noted for its excellent fragrance, their trailing clusters of highly fragrant lilac flowers bloom from May through to September.

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Apple Cox’s Orange Pippin

The definitive English desert apple with an aromatic flavour. This red tinted apple ripens in October and is ready to pick. During April and May, the tree itself develops beautiful white flowers that attract butterflies and birds into the garden.

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ACER ‘SANGO-KAKU’ (JAPANESE MAPLE)

Winner of the RHS Award of Garden Merit back in 1993 and for good reason. This year round beauty dazzles with its feathered, yellow-orange spring leaves , which turn in to a lush green in the summer and then yellow in the autumn.

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10 Drought Tolerant Plants to Beat the Summer Heat

With our increasingly hotter summers, climate change presents us with the challenge of gardening with less water. However, there is a considerable range of plants that can tolerate dry conditions. These drought-tolerant plants are the perfect choice for sunny spots in your garden.

1. Nepeta

Nepeta are a reliable perennial, very hardy and tolerant of all conditions and it returns reliably each year. They are very effective even in dry and drought areas, so they are useful for even the most difficult spots in the garden.

Nepeta Six Hills Giant

This vigorous perennial produces clusters of aromatic, small lavender blue flowers. This variety is a perfect addition to borders and edging beds, as well as attracting bees and butterflies to the summer garden. With a grey-green foliage and masses of flowers, this Nepeta adds a lovely, soft, gentle touch to cottage gardens.

2. Mimosa

The very hardy and heat-loving Mimosa is ideal wherever a full, dense canopy is desired during the summer months. Native to Southeastern Australia and then widely introduced to the Mediterranean , these plants are no stranger to higher, tropical temperatures.

Mimosa Acacia

The beautiful feathered foliage of the Mimosa Acacia will delight in the spring time, with their masses of fragrant yellow flowers. Create a statement display in your garden by planting this variety in patio container, but equally they are suited at the back of a border.

 

3. Sedum

Sedums are superb drought-resistant succulents that produce domes of star-shaped flowers in the summer and autumn seasons. Sedums have evolved to live in exposed conditions, where soil is very well-drained and sun and wind dry everything out quickly, so over the centuries, they have developed some inbuilt coping mechanisms such as fleshy, water-storing leaves and stems.

Sedum Hot Stuff

This striking Sedum produces large bursts of vibrant pink flowers that are wildly-loved by butterflies and bees. This strong, compact forming plant makes a great border addition or make a bigger impact by planting in groups so they will really stand out in the late summer garden.

4. Lavender

A native to the Mediterranean and the Middle East, it’s no wonder that Lavender makes a great drought-tolerant addition to the garden. It can be used as a low hedge, specimen plant, or even a cut flower, and will add a beautiful fragrance to the garden.

Dwarf Lavender Munstead

This compact evergreen shrub blooms with spikes of small, highly fragrant, blue-purple flowers in mid to late summer. Plant en masse to produce ground cover, low screening, or in lines to create a great border effect.

5. Campsis Radicans

Also known as Trumpet Vines, these hardy plants are fast climbers that grow well even in poor soil and full sunlight, and the blossoms attract hummingbirds too. Campsis Radicans can live for decades and although they die back in the winter, they’re quick to spring back to life in the spring.

Campsis radicans

Blooming with clusters of showy, exotic warm red trumpet-shaped blooms, this self-clinging climber is ideal for a sunny wall or fence. These beautiful tropical flowers are marked with deep red insides appear above long, coarsely toothed, glossy dark green leaves with pointed tips and distinctive veining.

6. Ceanothus

Ceanothus, commonly known as California Lilac, are very drought tolerant shrubs and offer almost everything that a gardener could wish for in a shrub. They are free-flowering, drought tolerant, easy to cultivate and grow in most soils.

Ceanothus thyrsiflorus var repens

Beautiful in its simplicity, this fantastic award-winning shrub delights in the summer garden. Its rich glossy leaves nestle amongst sky blue florescence comprising of densely compact panicles that burst into bloom like tiny fireworks in spring and early summer. This evergreen variety looks beautiful in patio pots, or against a wall.

 

7. Jasmine

Jasmine provide more than delicate tendrils and sweet perfume, they create substance, structure and colourful blooms to the garden. This genus of shrubs and vines contains around 200 species, native to tropical and warm temperate regions and a number of species have become naturalised in Mediterranean Europe.

Trachelospermum jasminoides (Jasmine)

This highly fragrant, vigorous climber produces clusters of beautiful star-shaped white flowers, which bloom from June throughout the summer months. This is a perfect climber for growing against a warm, sunny wall. Jasmine flowers are ideal for perfuming the air with their sweet fragrance in the summer garden.

8. Verbena

Native to the American Tropics, Verbena plants are beautiful examples of drought-tolerant plants. These popular perennials produce rich nectar, so butterflies and bees also love them.

Verbena bonariensis

Elegant and long lasting. This bestselling Verbena variety produces masses of small purple flowers in clusters. With a good pest resistance, this fantastic border plant will delight in the summer garden, flowering from June to October. They also will make a great addition to cut flower displays.

9. Russian Sage

One of the toughest plants that needs little care. Russian Sage loves direct sun, tolerates almost any soil and is extremely drought tolerant. Its fine texture makes Russian Sage a good choice if you’re seeking contrast with plants exhibiting a coarser texture.

Perovskia atriplicifolia Blue Spire

Native to central Asia, Russian Sage’s natural habitat is on dry plains. This variety produces highly scented silver leaves that are topped with spikes of gorgeous, tiny violet purple bell-shaped flowers in late summer. The impressive flowers and foliage look amazing planted in a border or patio pot in the summer garden.

10. Agapanthus

Agapanthus are some of the most beautiful and reliable summer plants you can grow. Once established, Agapanthus are tough enough to withstand dry spells without stressing. Originating from the cliffs of South Africa, they naturally enjoy lots of sunshine and are naturally resistant to wind.

Agapanthus Melbourne

This stunning bi-colour variety blooms in the summer with purple buds that open to reveal white flowers with a lilac purple stripe through each petal. Also known as the African Lily, these plants are drought tolerant and enjoy plenty of sunlight.

 

 

 

Summer Plant Care Tips

 

Plants for Different Soil Types

 

 

 

 

 

 

Knowing your soil type can be crucial to planning out the planting in your garden. The soil provides your plants with nutrients, water and air that they need for healthy growth and development, but depending on the plot of ground, that can determine what plants, shrubs or trees can grow their successfully.

3 Step System to Test Your Soil

  1. Dig a hole 6 to 10 inches deep in the soil.
  2. Separate an intact section about the size of a soup can and break it apart with your fingers.
  3. Determine whether the soil is cloddy, powdery or granular (ideally your soil should be made up of different sized crumbs that hold their shape under slight pressure).

 

  • Known as heavy soil (sticky when wet, rock hard when dry).
  • Feels smooth (not gritty) between the fingers.
  • Drains slowly after rain.
  • Takes a long time to warm up in spring.
  • Heavy to dig and cultivate.
  • Usually rich in plant nutrients.The following plants are well-adapted to clay soils:
Viburnum
Viburnum burkwoodii Mohawk

This shrub is an underrated evergreen shrub for clay soil. The opening of its flowers announce the end of winter and its white flowers (pink in bud) provide a pretty backdrop for a border in early spring. Dense, compact growth make this a useful plant for screening off a view and creating a feeling of enclosure in the garden.

Honeysuckle
Honeysuckle Serotina

A sweetly scented honeysuckle is a true summer treat and this species of honeysuckle will grow well on clay soil. A scented climber is always a memorable plant, the perfume easy to access, especially if you grow it by your front door. The variety Serontina’ has flowers that display a vivid deep red colouring.

 

Bergenia
Bergenia cordifolia Purpurea

This evergreen perennial produces spires of pink or red flowers in spring. The leaves (the ‘elephant’s ears’) are tinged with red in winter. A good plant for ground cover, it looks at its best planted in a block because the flowers have more impact in big numbers. A very tough plant for clay soil and tolerant of partial shade too.

 

 

Tips 

  1.  Add Organic Matter (compost, aged manure) – this helps improve drainage, lighten heavy soil and adds nutrients. Before planting in spring add the organic matter to the soil with a 2-3 inch layer.
  2. Build Raised Beds – As clay soil holds water, raised beds can improve drainage by encouraging water to run off.
  3. Mulch Beds over Winter – Mulch with organic matter during the growing season and winter to help protect the soil from compaction and minimize weed growth.

Sandy soil is the largest particle in soil and does not hold nutrients well.

  • High proportion of sand and little clay.
  • Drains quickly after rain or watering.
  • Easy to work and cultivate.
  • Warm up quicker in spring than clay soils.
  • Low in nutrients – very acidic.

The following plants are well-adapted to sandy soils:

Sedum
Sedum Hot Stuff

There are an incredible diversity of Sedums available. They are succulents, so by nature they are adapted to dry, sandy soil. Most are ground covers that make great rock garden plants. There is also a taller variety called Autumn Joy that is a good choice for its extremely late bloom.

Allium
Allium Powder Puff

Giant Alliums will perform well year after year in sandy soil with little care, making them a great choice for a semi-naturalized meadow planting. Alliums are an easy to grow, very distinctive late spring and early summer flowering bulb, being very showy when planted in beds, borders or rock gardens.

Buddleia
Buddleia Empire Blue

One of Britain’s most beautiful and popular summer flowering shrubs. Buddleia (Butterfly Bush) is an excellent choice for sandy soils, since they can adapt to most soil types. These upright deciduous shrubs are a wildlife haven. Their tubular, fragrant flowers are a superb way of attracting butterflies and bees into the garden.

 

Tips 

  1. Prepare planting sites with moisture-retentive, well-rotted organic matter (farm manure, compost or leaf mould).
  2. When planting in spring, incorporate a slow-release fertilizer.
  3. Water thoroughly and regularly during dry periods.
  • Ideal soil for gardening.
  • Mainly organic matter.
  • Feels spongy.
  • Very fertile and hold moisture well.
  • Easily compacts.

The following plants are well-adapted to peaty soils:

Heather
Heather Summer Mixed

A fragrant and effective and colourful mixture of summer flowering Heathers offer an increasing superb display every year. This beautiful and colourful ground cover not only adds beauty to the garden but can help cut down on the weeding too.

Azaleas
Azalea Tunis

Nothing is more beautiful than an Azalea shrub in spring bloom and can be grown in nearly any garden. Azalea Tunis is a highly fragrant deciduous variety which has gigantic red flowers boasting long, decorative stamens. The blazing red, showy flowers are truly a sight to behold on a sunny spring day.

Witch Hazel
Hamamelis Witch Hazel Collection

Shrubs such as Witch Hazel do particularly well when planted in peaty soils. Our exotic collection of three Chinese Witch Hazel is the perfect way to breathe some life and colour back into the winter garden. These deciduous, winter flowering shrubs produce clusters of sweetly scented, crinkled flowers in a range of fiery shades.

 

Tips 

  1. Blend peat soil with rich organic matter, compost and lime to reduce the acidity.

  • Even mix of sand, silt and clay.
  • Feels fine-textured and slightly damp.
  • Adequate drainage, great structure and moisture retaining.
  • Easily cultivated and full of nutrients.
  • Ideal soil all year round.

The following plants are well-adapted to loamy soils:

Wisteria
Wisteria Multijuga

A vigorous climbing plant. Wisteria looks particularly effective when trained over a bare wall or pergola, making it a superb feature plant, and its exquisite aroma make it particularly attractive to bees and butterflies. Our ‘Multijuga’ variety produces delicate trailing clusters of highly fragrant lilac flowers from May through to September.

Rhododendrons
Rhododendron Praecox

One of the earliest flowering varieties, this lovely shrub will produce an abundance of rose-purple blooms as early as February and throughout March. For a truly stunning effect plant above a carpet of dainty white Snowdrops, which will flower around the same time.

Anemone
Anemone blanda White Splendour

These daisy-like flowers are one of the most familiar and renowned of all the Anemones White Splendour is excellent for naturalising in areas with full sun or partial shade. They bear large, pure white flowers with a pink flushed reverse in spring and will produce a superb carpet of white if left to multiply over the years to come.

 

 

Tips 

  1.  Maintain its fertility with regular dressings of manure or compost.

  • Feels soft and soapy.
  • Fertile and drain fairly well.
  • Rich in nutrients.
  • Hold more moisture than sandy soils.
  • Easily compacted.

The following plants are well-adapted to silty soils:

Snowdrops
Galanthus Woronowii

These spring-flowering bulbs are well-suited for silty soil. There is nothing to match the breath-taking sight of a sweeping carpet of snowdrops, a marvellous herald of spring.  Galanthus Woronowii is a giant white snowdrop with green markings. It’s beautiful nodding honey scented flower heads appear as early as January.

Hellebore
Helleborus Orientalis Mixed

Hellebore is a group of flowering perennials that are well-suited to the moist, well-draining conditions of silty soil. These fine Hellebore Orientalis Mixed produce pretty bowl shaped flowers in February to March in an array of hues, some will be spotted within. When left undisturbed, they can produce expanding clumps of evergreen foliage.

Dogwood
Cornus Midwinter Fire

Moisture-loving trees such as Dogwood perform well in silty soils. Cornus Midwinter Fire stays true to its namesake, slowly revealing brilliant flame-coloured stems as the leaves fall away. Shoots begin a yellow-orange, with the tips turning a brilliant red as the season goes on, giving the shrub a flaming look.

 

 

Tips 

  1. Add an inch of organic matter (compost, decaying sawdust, or wood shavings) yearly, then add organic fertilizers and then cover with a further 2-3 inches of mulch.
  2. Avoid compaction – minimize walking on garden beds or consider planting on raised beds.
  3. Silty soil has a tendency to become waterlogged – avoid overwatering.

 

 

 

 

 

 

  • Lumps of white chalk or flint stones are visible in the soil.
  • Either ‘heavy’ or ‘light’ depending if the soil mixed with the chalk is clay or sand.
  • Very alkaline.
  • Largely made up of calcium carbonate.

The following plants are well-adapted to chalky soils:

Mock ORANGE
Philadelphus ‘Belle Etiole’

Trees and shrubs such as Mock Orange perform beautifully in chalky soils. The heady fragrance of the beautiful ‘Belle Etoile’ is a fantastic addition to the summer border. This Mock Orange, prized for its citrusy scent presents an abundance of single, pure white flowers through late spring and early summer.

Lilac
Syringa meyeri Palibin

Lilacs are perfect shrubs that will thrive even in chalky soils. The delicious fragrant flowers of lilac are not to be missed in the garden in spring and they are one of the season’s best cut flowers. Lilacs can become very big plants so the best place to plant them is at the back of a border or at the perimeter of the garden.

Lavender
Lavender Hidcote

Lavender thrives in soils that are sandy, chalky or alkaline. A beautiful option for the summer garden is a traditional evergreen fragrant Lavender, Lavender Hidcote. Producing an abundance of purple-lilac coloured flowers in July through to September, they enjoy the free-draining soil provided by chalky soils. Grow them in full sun to get the best from them.

 

Tips 

  1.  Break up the chalk to a depth of 30 inches so that plant roots can spread out and establish.
  2. Add plenty of well-rotted organic matter (compost, composted green waste or manure) to improve the soil.
  3.  Attention to watering will be required for a longer period than other soil types.

 

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12 Thrifty Steps to Make Your Garden Eco Friendly

Regardless of whether your garden has an aesthetic focus (ornamental only) or a productive (food producing) focus there are many small, simple to implement and relatively low cost techniques which can easily be introduce to improve the overall friendliness of the garden.

The overall goal should be to create a wonderful garden; somewhere you can easily relax and enjoy the rewards of all your hard work. Simultaneously this should be done with one eye on the environment! Eco-gardening is a way of making the garden more self-sustainable by reducing the energy /water the garden uses up, improving air circulation, promoting recycling, attracting wildlife and in essence being less wasteful.

It’s something that has been particularly important over the past decade, as we look for more and more ways to protect our environment and limit the damage we leave during our time here. It also never hurts the pocket to find ways to be more frugal with our approach to gardening, so we’ve put together our top twelve thrifty tips for making your garden more Eco Friendly.

  1. Water early in the morning or late at night

One of the best ways to get start is to look at ways in which you can reduce the amount of water used in the garden around the year. By using water from the mains less and less you will help significantly to reduce the overall national water use rate, but on a domestic level you should see the yearly household water bill come down (which can be no bad thing).

Water plants early in the morning or late at night. Watering during hot periods (such as lunchtime and early afternoon) when the sun is at its strongest will waste water due to evaporation and will be less beneficial to the plants themselves.

  1. Re-use rainwater

Install a water butt and re-use rainwater. Why not, it’s free and will reduce your water bills? Water butts can be an efficient and cost effective way to collect and reuse natural rainwater. The beauty of living in a country like Britain is that we get plenty of rainfall throughout the year. The thought that we do not collect and reuse this, instead being depending on water from the tap can be a little hard to understand at times. Some very large water butts can store over 24,000 litres of water (although there are plenty to choose from to suit all garden sizes) and can easily be transferred to the water can for use around the garden.

  1. Introduce drought-resistant plants

There are many great drought resistant plants which can be introduced to the garden and will thus reduce the dependence on manual watering during dry periods. For more advice on drought resistant plant visit the RHS website for their comprehensive list of recommended plants.

  1. Plant trees in the garden

To improve the purity of air you could try planting some larger trees such as conifers, Betula, Beech trees and Magnolia. Not only will they look beautiful through the year they will help improve the circulation and quality of air. This is even more important in urban areas where the actual air is more likely to become polluted because of increased exposure to chemicals and gasses.The role of trees is not one to underestimate. They produce the oxygen we need to survive and also help to remove particles from the air that could potentially be harmful. They also act as protection to other plants, provide a cooling shade in the summer and also can help reduce noise for your garden.

  1. Create a water feature or pond

You could also look at introducing a water feature into the garden area to improve purity of air. A steady stream and flow of water, not only adds a sense of tranquillity and beauty but also helps to remove harmful pollutants from the air. This along with some well positioned trees will help create an environment of lovely fresh air and help the plants, soil and your own health as well.

  1. Reduce Electricity used in the garden

By reducing the overall amount of electricity the garden uses your bills will come down and you will be using less national resources. This can only be a good thing, and combined with the work done by wind farms and solar panels we should see an overall reduction in usage from the national grid.

  1. Use solar garden lighting

Instead of using large outdoor lighting you could try to introduce some solar garden lights. They come in many shapes, sizes and budgets and can easily be installed. They will store energy from the natural light during the day and release this when needed at night time. They have become much more reliable in the past ten years as an alternative and are certainly an area to explore.

  1. Choose alternatives to chemicals/pesticides

Where allowable we suggest using organic pesticides and products in and around the garden. Choose the right product for the job and make sure it will not have any detrimental effect on other insects around the garden. You could try using some alternatives to pesticides such as crushed egg shells or grounded coffee beans to deter slugs and snails or by planting marigolds in your flowerbeds (they are known to deter insects and pests).

Strong smelling perennials such as Lavender and Rosemary can also have the effect of keeping pests away from you borders so introducing a number of these will help avoid using chemicals. Many people choose to actually introduce certain insects into the garden as a way of scaring off those pests that will do damage to plants. Lady bugs are great at eating aphids and will help preserve your plants.

  1. Recycling will help create an organic compost or mulch

You can create your own organic compost by recycling gardening waste, food waste and fall leaves. By recycling this waste we will be helping to keep it out of the ever increasing landfills and also will in turn create a moisture retentive and rich compost or mulch that can used around the garden. The plants will benefit hugely from this natural and organic addition to the soil and also will save you buying manure or compost the following year.

The choice of goods to use in the compost bin or heap is almost endless and getting the balance right may take a number of attempts. Luckily the internet can be your friend and will the popularity growing hugely in this area, there are many good gardening forums and websites to offer advice. Some of the most popular, everyday items from the household to find their way onto the compost heap include raw vegetables, crushed egg shells, fruit peelings, newspapers, cardboard and even teabags. Gardening waste such as fallen leaves, wood cuttings, grass cuttings, old bedding plants and plant foliage are also used regularly.

  1. Attracting and caring for Wildlife is key

Make the garden wildlife friendly – A key feature to creating a garden that is in touch with nature is to make sure that it is attractive to wildlife. By allocating just a little bit of time and space to your garden, you can easily attract various wildlife to your garden all year around. For many people wildlife is a welcomed addition to the garden providing extra character and also the knowledge that they are doing their bit to help with British conservation.

  1. Make sure you have an area to enjoy and relax

Make sure that you allow an area for enjoyment. Creating a garden full of colour and fresh fruit/vegetables is great and highly rewarding, but one key aspect to making sure your love for gardening lasts a lifetime is getting out and enjoying the garden. Have an area where you and your family/friends can sit around and enjoy the fresh air and beauty you have worked so hard to create.

Many people love the summer barbeque as it allows people to gather together outdoors and enjoy their surroundings, with some good food. These great moments are vital to enjoying the garden and the summertime. Get out there and enjoy it! Getting in touch with your own little piece of the environment is critical to becoming an environmental gardener.

  1. Grow your own fruit, vegetables and herbs

Growing your own fruit, vegetables and herbs is a fun, rewarding and can be a great step towards being less dependent on supermarkets. Even in gardens when space is at a premium you can easily grow strawberries, raspberries and blueberries in pots or containers.

If you have the space available why not allocate a patch or raised bed towards growing some potatoes, carrots, asparagus, beans or whatever vegetables take your fancy. You could also look at planting some fruit trees which not only produce great tasting fruit but will add ornamental blossom on spring.

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March Plant of the Month: Magnolia

After the gloomy grey of winter, its always a joy to see the garden return to its glory in spring. Magnolia delivers that joy in abundance, bursting into life in early spring with large, magnificent blooms.

Magnolia plants are wonderful ornamental trees, available in a wide variety of shapes and sizes with something to suit any garden. These easy to grow beauties are very low maintenance, making them perfect for experts and novice gardeners alike.

Even so, here are some tips on getting the most out of your plant.

Planting tips

 

 

 

 

 

 

On arrival, plant in moist, acid-to-neutral soil in full sun or partial shaded areas. Shallow planting is required for magnolia bushes, in areas that have great drainage. It is often recommended that you provide some protection from strong winds, and provide a mulch in early spring. Do not allow plants to dry out in hot weather and water regularly.

Little pruning is required for these magnificent shrubs, but if required you can prune lightly once the flowers have faded.

Varieties

We have several varieties of Magnolia available to buy online from just £9.99, so you are sure to find the perfect choice for your garden. Here are just a few of our favourites;

Magnolia soulangeana, also known as the Saucer Magnolia or Chinese Magnolia, is probably the most popular of the Magnolia family. It has dark green leaves and deep saucer shaped flowers that are white to rosy-pink. Great for smaller gardens, as it remains a shapely shrub for many years.

Magnolia liliiflora Nigra is a compact shrub native to Southwest China and Japan, also known as the Black Lily Magnolia. The flowers are held erect on sturdy branches amongst glossy elliptic shaped leaves. Deep purple-red outer petals in a narrow tulip shape gently reflex at the tips like a lily revealing a paler colour within. Flowering April to June, later than other magnolias.

Nigra holds the Royal Horticultural Society’s Award of Garden Merit for its reliable performance, stability of colour and form and good resistance to pests and diseases.

 Magnolia loebneria Merril is another award winning Magnolia, with branches laden with dainty buds in spring open to milky white flowers, abundant and smaller than most other magnolias. Later, oblong deciduous leaves cover the branches when the fragrant flowers have fallen. A hybrid of the magnolia kobus and stellata varieties loebneri Merrilli is prized for the upright habit and robust natures of its parents although is smaller and more free flowering than both, its mature height and spread rarely growing beyond 2m.

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7 Ways to Help Wildlife in your Garden

For many people, wildlife is a welcome addition to the garden, bringing a cheerful breath of life and character to your very own backyard.

It is especially vital at this time of year, in the cold frosty months, to keep supporting your local wildlife with the space you have. Taking just a little time out of your day to make some easy changes in your garden can attract a flurry of wildlife and help do your bit for the environment.

Here are seven easy ways to make it happen;

  1. Leave a snack

Food can be scarce for animals during the winter, so this time of year is the perfect time to begin attracting wildlife to your garden. Even something as simple as adding a bird feed or scattering monkey nuts on the lawn can easily attract various wildlife to your garden. A bird table is a fantastic way of enticing birds into a specific area of the garden.

  1. Choose Shrubs for shelter and food

If you have the space grow trees and big shrubs. By devoting even the smallest part of your garden to attracting wildlife you can turn it into a paradise for beneficial birds, mammals and insects.

Birds are attracted to areas where they find both food and shelter. A good way of doing so in the autumn/winter is by planting up shrubs and trees which produce berries, such as Ilex (Holly), Pyracantha or Gaultheria. Not only will they produce valuable food but they also produce some much needed ornamental value in the Winter months.

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  1. Choose nectar-rich flowers

Bees and butterflies will visit most gardens, especially if they find plants in sunny or sheltered locations. The secret here is to make available nectar rich, fragrant flowers which are colourful and from which they feed. Lavender, Buddleia, Syringa, Forsythia and Echinacea are just a few fantastic garden favourites for attracting butterflies and all look great in the garden!

Ornamental grasses are also a popular way of making the garden appealing to seed eating birds.

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  1. Don’t forget water!

Just a little water left out can help out passing critters. Remember if you have a water feature or are near bodies of water, be sure to provide water and shelter for Toads. These are great for keeping unwanted pests at bay and if you have a pond or one nearby its likely you already have Frogs and Toads living nearby. If you have a dog remember Toads will release skin secretions which are toxic to dogs.

  1. Use an old Tennis Ball

Having a space for a water feature in your garden is a fantastic way to attract wildlife, but in the colder months freezing temperatures can create lethal conditions for your pondlife. A great tip for preventing your water feature from completely freezing over is to float several old tennis balls on the surface.

  1. Offer Shelter

Critters and bugs appreciate a little homemade shelter. A pile of old logs or bricks, some overgrown grass or turned over empty pots can all help with providing shelter for animals – Hedgehogs will happily take advantage of your hospitality and thank you by eating pesky slugs and snails – an ideal natural defender of you Hosta plants! 

  1. Go Wild

Wild gardens and meadows have been popular in recent years for their stylish swathes of summer colour. Composting and letting a few patches of your garden grow a little wild will help to encourage visitors (and what gardener needs to be told the virtues of compost!).

Online now you will find many varieties of plants and shrubs which will help you along the way, by both attracting and providing food/shelter for various forms of wildlife.

Read Some of our Best Reader-submitted Tips

How to Prune: Trees and Shrubs

When and how to prune trees and shrubs

 

Gardening-prunning-trees

 

Ask most gardeners to name the task that fills them most with dread and fear, and pruning will almost certainly come to mind. This doesn’t of course need to be the case. With a little planning and preparation in advance then we can easily maintain the long term health and vibrancy of the garden.

Pruning is the process of removing particular parts of a tree, plant or shrub on a regular basis, such as branches, shoots, buds, etc. The overall goal of pruning should be that of extending the life cycle of the plant.

Most pruning is a simple do it yourself job, and it’s very important …..

Pruning


Why do I need to prune?

  • To promote healthy development – removing the old, dying or weak branches from the trees/shrubs will allow the structure to become stronger and flowering to become more prolific leaving your with a more healthy and disease free plant.
  • To help maintain the ornamental appearance – Removing damaged or wayward shoots will stop the branches from becoming unnecessarily entangled and messy.
  • To remove diseased or dying wood – Essential, and will make the tree/shrub less appealing for insects to live within.
  • To control height and shape – If you are looking to keep certain plants, such as climbers or vigorous growing shrubs from becoming unmanageable, then regular and hard pruning will be a must.
  • To promote flowering and fruiting –pruning back helps to improve flowering and air circulation. With fruit trees in particular this should result in a much better and larger crop year on year.
  • To identify problems – By keeping regular pruning you will in turn identify any potential problems which may occur from time to time.

Click here to view our range of Trees & Shrubs!

How to Prune: Ornamental Trees and Shrubs

Ornamental Trees and Shrubs

 

Ornamental trees and shrubs can be pruned and trimmed to keep healthy and shapely.

Timing can vary significantly between different varieties, but as a general rule:

Evergreen shrubs will require little pruning unless branches become damaged. If you do find the need to remove damaged shoots on varieties such as Japanese AzaleasHebe Heartbreaker or Rhododendrons then it’s best to do so after flowering has finished for the season.

Azalea-Glowing-Embers

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Deciduous shrubs and trees are best pruned in late autumn and winter, although we always recommend checking specific varieties before your start working. Some varieties will only need minor trimming such as Hydrangeas or Spiraea while clematis and climbing plants often require hard pruning.

Winter-Pruning

As a starting point cut back and remove all dead and diseased wood. Always work with the natural habit and structure of the tree or shrub, to encourage continued natural growth. This can be followed up with removing any crossing or rubbing branches at the centre of the plant. By removing these branches which can act as a barrier to further growth, you will in fact improve circulation around the shrubs/tree, helping to reduce the likelihood of plant disease.

When removing stems, we suggest cutting at a little above healthy buds, cutting back around 0.5cm above. Never cut back and leave short stubs. Make all cuts perpendicular to the branch and close to the branch collar to facilitate rapid healing.

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