What to do in your garden - October 2019
Now that we’ve had some well needed rain to really help with soil moisture, it’s time to get on with autumn planting, and tidy up the garden. Whilst the soil is still warm is the ideal time for planting, and plant roots can begin to establish over the winter. Trees, shrubs, perennials and bulbs are in abundance. What a glorious time of year with autumn leaf colours, berries and flowering plants to fill your garden.
- Prunus cerasifera ‘Nigra’: Purple-leaved plum. This popular garden and street tree has pretty pale pink flowers in spring, followed by attractive purple foliage. Grow in well-drained soil in sun or partial shade. Approximate height and spread in 20 years: 5m x 4m
- Pyrus salicifolia ‘Pendula’: Weeping ornamental pear. A very attractive weeping tree with white flowers in spring and narrow silver willow-like foliage. Approximate height and spread in 20 years: 3m x3m. Needs well-drained soil and a sunny aspect.
- Amelanchier lamarckii: Snowy Mespilus. This tree has so much to offer: pretty white flowers in spring (which turn into purple-black berries in autumn). Leaves show brilliant orange and red autumn colour. Likes moist but well-drained soil. Good on chalky soils. Approximate height and spread in 20 years: 4m x 3m.
- Cotoneaster salicifolius ‘Rothschildianus’: A vigorous, semi-evergreen shrubby tree which retains some leaves over winter. Ideal as a screening plant. Creamy-white flowers in early summer, followed by golden yellow fruits in autumn. Approximate height and spread in 20 years: 5m x 3m.
- Sorbus aria ‘Lutescens’: Whitebeam. Stunning large silvery-grey leaves, with white blossom in late spring, turning into dark red berries in autumn. Approximate height and spread in 20 years: 7m x 5m. Grow in well-drained soil in full sun or light shade.
- Malus ‘Evereste’: Flowering crab apple. Small, neat tree smothered in beautiful white blossom in spring, and ornamental orange fruits in autumn. Approximate height and spread in 20 years: 5m x 4m
Tree planting and aftercare guidelines:
- Before planting your tree, water the pot thoroughly and allow to drain
- If planting in a lawn, cut a circle of turf at least 60-90cm in diameter
- Dig a hole twice the width of the pot and fork over the base
- Sprinkle Rootgrow™(granular mixture of mycorrhizal fungi and beneficial bacteria for tree roots) evenly into the planting hole
- Place tree on top of the granules ensuring the roots are in direct contact with Rootgrow™, then backfill with your topsoil (mixed with a bucketful of planting compost)
- Drive in a tree stake a little off centre of the hole
- Remove pot from the tree and tease out any matted roots
- Position tree against stake with top of root ball level with surrounding soil
- Replace remaining soil, firming in well
- Secure tree to stake with an adjustable strap
- Water thoroughly, then at least once a week during the first growing season
- Apply some general fertiliser around every spring
- “Common laurel” (Cherry laurel): (Prunus laurocerasus ‘Rotundifolia’) One of the best evergreens for a dense, vigorous, bushy hedge. White flowers (good for pollinating insects) in mid to late spring, followed by berries (which are poisonous). When grown as a hedge the flowers are usually trimmed anyway so the berries do not pose a problem. Tough and tolerant of shade, laurel has a fast growth rate of 30-60cm per year, and should be planted around 90cm apart (3ft)
- “Red Robin”: (Photinia x fraseri ‘Red Robin’) – very popular evergreen grown for its attractive glossy foliage – in spring the new growth is flushed red, then gradually becomes green over the summer. Happy in sun or part shade in a well-drained, fertile soil. Height up to 4 metres (in 10-20 years) but usually grown to around 90-180cm (3-6ft) as a hedge. Grows around 30cm per year. Plant 50-60cm apart (18in to 2ft)
- “Firethorn” (Pyracantha): useful, tough evergreen with thorny stems - good as a dense barrier hedge. Grows well even in shady position. Creamy-white flowers in spring followed by brightly coloured berries throughout winter. Growth rate of around 50cm per year. Available in yellow, orange or red berry colours. Plant 50cm apart (21in)
- “Leylandii” or “Leyland Cypress”: (x Cuprocyparis leylandii). Very fast-growing (up to 1m -3ft in a year) tall conifer which needs to be trimmed before it reaches a height which is too tall to manage (ideally maintain at 1.8m: 6ft) Plant 60-75cm apart (2-2.5ft). A useful hedge to make a quick screen, if kept under control
- “Privet” :(Ligustrum ovalifolium) a widely grown semi-evergreen (although usually keeps most of its leaves through winter, unless the weather is really cold) traditional hedging plant which looks neat when trimmed. Creamy-white flowers in mid-summer. Growth rate approximately 30cm per year. Plant 30-45cm (1ft-18in) apart