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April 17, 2015

Spring Flowers

Gardening, News

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Spring has sprung and what heralds brighter evenings and milder weather better than trees laden with beautiful blossom? Trees in bloom can be a stunning sight that can brighten up our dreariest grey streets turning them into confetti strewn aisles of white and pink. In the garden, Spring blossoming trees provide instant cheer and a romantic backdrop – such a stunning view from the kitchen window makes a sink full of washing up less of a daunting task!

Our plant choices this month focus on spring flowering shrubs or trees and our pick of the bunch are Amelanchier lamarckii and Cornus Kousa. These two gorgeous specimens give year-round value to the gardener and particularly come into their own when space is at a premium. For this reason, both choices work especially well in the smaller garden.

Amelanchier lamarckii – also known as Snowy Mespilus, Serviceberry or Juneberry is a real sensation in spring, the branches of this small tree are absolutely bursting with white, star shaped blossom and new copper foliage. In summer the leaves turn a vibrant green and the branches become heavy with delicious fruit before bursting into vibrant flame and red in autumn. Even in winter, this beauty gives us an attractive striated grey and black trunk. Add to its obvious ornamental appeal the fact that the British Beekeepers’ Association (BBKA) has added it to a list of ‘bee-friendly’ plants then I’m sure you’ll agree that all in all this wonderful plant is a fabulous investment for any garden.

The Cornus family, otherwise known as the dogwoods, is a genus of around 65 species of mostly deciduous shrubs and small trees. The Cornus Kousa var. Chinesis is a small tree of great beauty its inconspicuous flowers are offset with showy, highly decorative bracts 4-6cm long in spring and summer. For the uninitiated, bracts are a modified leaf growing just below a flower or flower stalk. They are flower-like and attractive. Cornus kousa is a tapering, deciduous tree with foliage that is dark green in summer, turning deep auburn-ruby in autumn. The dogwood genus is used widely in herbal medicine and in china is prescribed for kidney and bladder disorders. Indeed, dependant on the type of dogwood and the location, this plant has been used throughout history in numerous forms to provide herbal cures for many ailments.

These two shrubs are complementary to one another and both Amelanchier and Cornus will partner effectively with other garden trees including cherries and crab apples. You can also add to the visual complexity and excitement by growing spring climbers such as Clematis Montana through the shrubs, using their stems as supports to create a visually arresting piece if plant-theatre.

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Seasonal highlights April

Gardening is a great reason for being outside and getting away from the chores of home or work, so take advantage of this by doing some new things in the garden this year. Grow plants from seed if you’ve never done it before, or buy that fantastic specimen plant that you’ve always promised yourself.

Trying to shift some unwanted pounds or tone up for the beach? The outdoors provides the best gym there is, so if you want to improve your fitness, getting outside and gardening actively will really help. You’ll find other benefits too – you’ll sleep better, feel happier and meet more friends and neighbours.
If you are a little more into the relaxing side of things, now is when we begin to think about outdoor eating, drinking and playing, so dust off the garden furniture and get ready for a long summer enjoying your outdoor space.

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