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Plant a flowering cherrry, there's a blossom tree for every garden

Flowering cherries want to be seen. Plant a tree for all to see!

The autumn equinox has arrived and the daylight hours now match the length of darkness. Lamenting the loss of summer? There's  a change in the light which makes interesting shadows, but we have the promise of more sunshine on the way. This is a real bonus in September as this is a time during which many of us mourn the passing of the beloved season that allows all things to seem possible. But to perk up your autumn even further, you might like the thought of some spring blossom to look forward to.  The autumn equinox is generally around 22 September when daylight hours match the number of hours of darkness. But there are many reasons why autumn is a great time. One of them is planting. Late September and October is the best period for planting trees while there is warmth in the soil and still a little growing time left to enjoy. And what could be more beautiful than a flowering cherry?  A flowering cherry, or Punus. What a wonderful sight to look forward to.

What could be more beautiful than spring blossom?

Some say the joy of spring blossom isn’t enough to warrant an ornamental cherry in the garden. Why not? These trees offer far more than flowers, and these alone are beautiful. But team the spring spectacle with the oodles of benefits to wildlife, the beautiful foliage and of course the multiple appeal that trees bring such as a little shade and wonderful structure, and you have the perfect plant.

The herald of spring, a beautiful flowering cherry will uplift the spirits. Let's look at ornamental cherries. How do you select just one from such a huge range? Firstly, think about the space you have available. Secondly decide when you would like to see blossom. Some produce their fluffy flowers in March and April. These include the popular and award-winning Prunus 'Kursar'. Most flower in April and May, including the popular Prunus 'Pink Perfection'.

Prunus 'Little Pink Perfection' is a tiny flowering cherry which is suitable even for a patio. 'Pink Perfection' is larger, and both are glorious. Thirdly, what shape pleases you? Gently spreading branches, such as those displayed by Prunus 'Candy Floss'; upright sentries as offered by Prunus 'Amanogawa', lollipops or weeping. There’s a cherry for every taste.

Flowering cherries come in all sorts of shapes and sizes. Blossom colour can range from white through to magenta.

The blossom festival

In Japan, cherry trees are hugely important. Hanami is a festival that actually celebrates the arrival of the blossom. There are parties under the trees and the opening blossoms are actually filmed and broadcast on the national news. It heralds the optimistic arrival of spring and is a joyous event which is part of the culture.

Hanami is the Japanese festival of blossom. It is a cause for spring celebration and a time when people come together under the blossom trees. Most Japanese cherries originate from Prunus serrulata and Prunus sieboldii. The former was actually introduced from China. The various crosses produced all sorts of amazing variations in flower colour including pink, blush and pure white. The bark is equally as interesting, with some being glossy red, some almost black and others a pale grey.

Some Prunus, such as Prunus serrula, has the most amazing bark colour. There are upright, fastigiate trees such as Prunus 'Amanogawa'.

Prunus 'Amanogawa' is an upright, or fastigiate, tree that is great for a small space. Then there are large and stately cherries such as the great white Prunus 'Tai-haku' and even tiny trees such as the weeping 'Little Pink Perfection' which measure hardly more than one metre tall.

There's a prunus for every garden. 'Little Pink Perfection' is a tiny tree that could even live in a pot. Your plot will dictate the size you can accommodate. Then you can have the fun of choosing your favourite type of blossom. Pink, magenta, peach or white. Double or single flowers. Scented or unscented. Some of the names give a great clue. 'Fragrant Cloud', for example, is as you would imagine. 'Snow Showers', likewise. There's 'Chocolate Ice' with its tinted leaves, against which the milky white flowers look good enough to eat. And 'Candy Floss' which makes you want to lick the blossom.

Prunus 'Chocolate Ice' looks good enough to eat, with its chocolatey coloured leaves and pale pink foliage. What do flowering cherries need? Sunshine. Moist but not wet or waterlogged soil. Protection from the wind (as you don't want your blossom to be blown away in a puff). Space around your tree, even if it is tiny. You want to be able to see and enjoy the blossom rather than it be crammed in a border and surrounded by shrubs.

Flowering cherries add another dimension to a garden. There's one for almost every plot size. Your newly planted cherry might need a stake for the first three years or so. But soon it will be robust enough to stand alone, proud to decorate your spring garden with its own type of tinsel. You can plant bare-root trees and shrubs between November and March, but container-grown plants at any time of year, although the autumn and spring are the best. Add some organic matter in the hole and dig it well in. Release the roots from your tree, to make sure they aren't trapped in a never-ending spiral. And make sure that you plant your tree at the same depth as it was originally growing.  Planting too deep is an easy mistake to make, and trees just don't thrive.

You can plant a tiny tree, a sapling, a whip or a young tree very easily. Even semi-mature trees can now be purchased for immediate impact. Planting into the lawn? Make sure you remove the turf around the tree as grass competes for nutrients. Try not to prune unless essential. If you do have to trim your tree, do it during the growing season in order to cut down on fungal diseases.   Enjoy planting a tree this autumn and you will have even more treats to look forward to come the arrival of spring.

Plant a tree this autumn! Prunus 'Kojo-no-Mai' is a lovely tiny tree or shrub for a small garden. It also has the most delightful zig-zag branches.    

By Perfect Plants


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