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April and May are the peak periods for tree blossom, during which time the majority of flowering, ornamental cherry trees will be covered in blousy blooms. But which is best? With so many to choose from, you might want to utilise the coveted Royal Horticultural Society (RHS) Award of Garden Merit (AGM) to help you select. We've sorted ten of the best AGM ornamental cherries one of which could come to a garden near you. Early spring is the perfect time to plant, but you can plant container-grown trees at any time of year, provided you are prepared to water them regularly.
Larger ornamental cherries
The ornamental strain of the wild cherry, Prunus avium 'Plena' has the most glorious white double flowers in spring. This is a tree that needs space. So if you have some room to fill, consider this gorgeous beast that has double white glorious flowers in mid spring. It's the double-flowered variety of the wild cherry and it is a sight to behold once it wears its white mantle. It's healthy and easy to grow. Be a little wary, however, as it has the potential to grow up to 20m tall.
It's not strictly what you might expect from an ornamental cherry, but equally as impressive. This is a medium tree, growing eventually to a height of up to 12m. It produces long plumes of white flowers which are almond-scented and loved by insects. This is a useful parkland tree with good autumn colour so it has two-season appeal. It is sometimes known as Prunus Grandiflora.
medium-sized tree can reach a height of up to 10m, with a similar spread. It's a popular choice for those looking for pink, fluffy clouds of blossom. In fact, this can be considered one of the most popular cherries because it is so heavily laden with blooms in spring. The bronze foliage appears afterwards and this turns orange in the autumn. A good tree for avenue planting or as a specimen tree.
Medium flowering cherries
The blossom is displayed in profusion during spring and is particularly loved by bees and other beneficial garden insects. It is a small to medium tree, growing to about 8m tall and has a neat, proportionate spread of about 4m. This tree forms a columnar, neat shape and it has bronzy spring foliage that also gives great autumn colour.
It should reach to around 8m eventually, with a similar spread. Whilst the branches have the most unusual upright form, the twigs themselves are pendulous, rather like a silver birch. The single, shell-pink flowers open from red buds in mid spring
Some flowering cherry trees spread outwards as much as they grow upwards and this cherry tree is one example. It's a glorious flowering cherry that matures as a small to medium sized tree. Its maximum height is around 7m, with a spread of at least as much, if not more. So, it needs space to stretch out its branches. This will enable a great view of the white, turning to pale pink double blossom. Beautiful.
It is also a spreading tree, growing to a width of maybe 10m, with a height of up to 8m. The picture speaks for itself.
Diminutive ornamental cherries
Need something a little smaller? There are many people who have small gardens or even courtyards and there's no reason why they shouldn't enjoy a blossom-fest too!
It grows to a height of only around 5m, with a wider spread of up to 8m. It could create a rather charming canopy in a courtyard. Always consider the root growth, however. Raised beds provide an option for those without much space.
It's a pendulous, weeping tree with single white or very pale pink flowers (pictured above). This small tree reaches a height of up to 5m. Ideal for a small space, you could even put a seat underneath in readiness for a shady retreat in summer. Bliss.
Ideal for even a courtyard and some people even manage to grow these trees in large pots. The size can be contained with careful pruning. It produces lovely, single, deep pink flowers in spring which are a delight to insects as well as to the eye.
Whatever your preference, an ornamental, flowering cherry is a delight to behold. Plant during the dormant season, or at any time of year if you purchase container-grown stock. You must water regularly during the first year after planting. Enjoy the fluffy spring show!
Take a look to see what's available here: Perfectplants.co.uk