Warwickshire College - Trees and shrubs for May
PUBLISHED: 18:26 21 April 2010 | UPDATED: 17:05 20 February 2013
Bob Hares has some good ideas for trees and shrubs that will provide all round interest.
I realise there are many beautiful trees at this time of the year, but is there one tree you could recommend that will not only look good in May but will give me pleasure all the year round, or is this an impossible request?
Yes! However, I do believe the Snowy Mespilus, or Amelanchier lamarckii, comes pretty close. This can be grown as a large shrub or a small tree, which has coppery-red leaves when opening out in the spring, which colour richly in the autumn. The white flowers are produced in the late spring or early summer, which are followed by small black fruits in late summer and autumn. In addition the tree has a nice elegant appearance even without its foliage in the winter. Amelanchier will thrive in most soils, except those with a high lime content, and it is very hardy.
A few years ago I purchased something called Beauty Bush. The problem is that Im still waiting for it to flower! Where do you think I have gone wrong?
It may be that you have done nothing wrong, because in the past many poor clones of the Beauty Bush, or Kolkwitzia amabilis, were distributed. These particular clones took a long time to settle down into flowering, which has given these flowering shrubs a bad name. Fortunately, the situation has been largely rectified, and nowadays there are better clones for sale, which will flower much sooner after flowering, usually by the following year. A particularly good form to buy is Kolkwitzia amabilis Pink Cloud, which is very graceful and has lovely pink flowers.
Being very fond of the Mock Orange, I would like to purchase more, but it seems to me that theyre all very much alike. Are there other types worth planting?
Try to visit Pershore College in May, where we have a national collection of these beautiful shrubs. You will see double and single, large and single flowered forms with variations in their scent, and the height and spread will vary enormously. Philadelphus Sybille for example, is a superb low-growing shrub with arching branches and white, purple-stained orange-scented flowers, whereas Innocence has creamy-white variegated leaves and freely produced fragrant flowers, and then again, an old favourite with many gardeners for the front of the border is Manteau dHermine, a dwarf, compact shrub with creamy-white double flowers, which again, is richly scented.
Bob Hares provides a FREE gardening advice service to Royal Horticultural Society members every Monday at Pershore College from 9am to 4.30pm. Personal visits are by appointment. Bobs advice line telephone number is 01386 551145.