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These small trees are blooming marvellous in spring
We all know about March winds and the fact that we still have the occasional frost or even snow at this time of year. But March is a month of variables and it can be warm enough to sit out on a deckchair, should you have such a thing. Most flowering plants in early spring keep low to the ground. They hug the banks and woodland edge, or keep their small heads slightly bowed in order to thrive. But the show is all set to begin. There are so many plants that are about to burst into glory. The spectacle that generally launches everyone's hearts and hopes is the blossom that adorns bare dark branches of ornamental trees, propelling the growing season to a pinnacle.
Blossom is the term awarded to a cluster of flowers that bloom on a plant and a blossom tree is particularly associated with those within the Prunus genus. That's cherries, plums and peaches. But some of the Malus or apple/crab apples also have beautiful blossom. Even hawthorn and blackthorn produces delicate flowers that fall within the blossom description.
If you are bowled over by a frilly spectacle, it's the ornamental cherries that provide the greatest spring show. The vast choice makes selecting just one quite a task. It's best to start with the plot you have available and allow that to dictate the size of tree that is appropriate.
Prunus Kojo-no-Mai grows to a diminutive size of just 2m tall and it will still provide you with that glorious spring blossom in shades of white flushed with pink.Even those with just a courtyard or even a patio or balcony can still enjoy a tiny tree.
So many different varieties
For a small garden there are varieties such as Prunus Kursar with its neat, rounded shape and intensely pink flowers. It grows to no more than 8 metres and is similar in size to Prunus Okame. This equally gorgeous round-headed tree has rich, bright pink flowers in late March and early April. If you are looking for a slightly more upright, eye-catching spring delight you will be bowled over by the spectacular Prunus Beni-yutaka with its large, pink double flowers with a darker centre. It could well be the perfect small garden tree as it grows to a demure height and spread of about 8 x 4 metres in 20 years or so. Prunus Pink Perfection is another great choice with its frilly double flowers and compact size.
Want something a little less pink? It's hard to beat the Great White Cherry, Prunus Taihaku. This is a truly splendid tree for a small to medium garden. In fact this tree became extinct in Japan but a single variety was found growing in a Sussex garden and this has allowed the tree to flourish. It displays brilliant white single, large flowers that emerge from pink buds in April and the tree will eventually reach a height and spread of around 8m x 6m.
Ornamental trees for year-round interestThere are other ornamental trees that do, perhaps, provide a greater year-round attraction. Their blossom might be slightly more subtle, but they could have fruit or bark colour which boosts their popularity. Malus, or the apple family, offers some great choices, particularly the crab apples. These are very well suited to the modern garden because of their small size and non-invasive root system.
Take Malus x robusta Red Sentinel for example. It has an upright habit and lots of small white spring flowers. They are followed by red cherry-like fruits that last right through the winter until the birds feast upon them when times are hard. Similar in size and stature is Malus x zumi Golden Hornet which has golden-yellow fruits.