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Category: About Trees

Articles involving trees, shrubs, bushes, woods and hedges plus related subjects

Roses with Single Petals

Roses with Single Petals


My book de Jour is ‘Fifty Favourite Roses’ Michael Gibson. A second reading has given me some new insights and some varieties to look out for: 5 petalled Tea Roses Dainty Bess,  Mrs Oakley Fisher (golden) and Ellen Willmott (white) rugarosa Robusta and colour changing Mutabilis

Above is a true red rose that also flowers very early on a robust plant 5 feet tall.


Now a more commonly available single rose this Rosa ‘Canary Bird’  is a tall growing very floriferous lemon- yellow rose with good foliage.

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Allotments Replaced by Trees

Allotments Replaced by Trees



We used to have allotments in our village until the blight. That was not a gardening blight or a problem growing anything but a planners and local politicians blight.

A large green open space surrounding an old hospital ‘High Royds’ was too good an opportunity for power broking and developers profits so the old hospital and the village allotments all had to go. I blame ‘care-less in the community’.

Now the ‘new’ village is built and called Chevin Park (not High Royds because the hospital was a former lunatic asylum. Other name changes such as Windscale to Sellafield also springs to mind.)   Many properties are empty partly due to the property recession but also due to the paltry size of the gardens and lack of allotments that could so easily have been restored.

What has replaced our allotments? As you can see a veritable forest of plastic tubes protecting newly planted trees and the flimsiest stakes you could imagine after 3 foot canes. As I said earlier this week this is an updated post for National Tree Week 2018. The plastic tubes are now litter around some decent young trees.

6 Years on and the trees are growing well as if to proove the allotment soil was in good condition. Unfortunately much of the area has suffered from flooding after intensive housing building.

Tips for Planting Trees

  • Dig a good sized hole and incorporate some slow release fertilizer like bone meal. The tree should be there for a long time.
  • Spread the roots of a bare rooted tree or tweak the edges of a container grown tree to give roots the encouragement to spread. Trim off any broken roots.
  • Plant at the same depth to which the tree has been grown.  There is usually a soil mark on bare trees to help. Do not bury any graft.
  • Drive the stake into the bottom of the planting hole before planting the tree and try to ensure that 2/3rds of the stake is underground when the soil is returned to the hole.

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Hydrangeas At Thorp Perrow

Hydrangeas At Thorp Perrow

This Hydrangea panniculata Limelight was one of several under-planted trees at Thorp Perrow Arboretum. In full flower at the beginning of September this Hydreagea was one of 70 or so species and varieties planted in the grounds. Different parts of the arboretum have soils with PH values of 6.7 to an acidic 4.6 . There is marshy and wet ground despite the 15,000 trees drawing water from the land.


This Hydrangea quercifolia or oak leaved hydrangea looks a bit bedraggled in the photograph but it looked marvelous insitu. Quercifolia are medium sized shrubs worth growing for the leaf colour in autumn.

The volume of flowers and bracts on the one head was astonishing. There are many interesting Hydrangeas to see at Thorpe Perrow and I recommend buying the authoritative catalogue (£3.75) listing the featured trees and shrubs by location, name, origin and often age.

Hydrangea Villosa group are hairy leaved shrubs. This glorious specimen was at least 8 feet high and made a startling feature in moderately acid soil.


For more information on Thorp Perrow see Gods Own County

Thorp Perrow

After a good wet year for Hydrangeas,  please can we have more sun next summer.

This was first posted  in September 2012 now with updates

Prunus & Flowering Cherry Facts

Prunus & Flowering Cherry Facts

Picnic in the shade of Cherry Trees

Botanic Facts

  • The following fruit are all Prunus species; plums, cherries, peaches, nectarines, apricots, and almonds. They are part of a family of 430+ species
  • Blossoms usually have five petals and five sepals
  • Fruit are categorized stone fruits or scientifically as drupes. Freestone fruits have flesh that pulls away easily from the pit, Cling-stone fruits have pulp that sticks more firmly to the pit.
  • Prunus are broadleaf deciduous trees and are some of the first  species to flower in spring.

Fastigiate Cherry with branches almost parallel to the trunk

Ornamental Facts

  • Cherry Blossom trees, are renowned for their magnificent blossoms that cover the branches in many different shades and forms.
  • Some varieties  offer stunning autumn colour, purple foliage or glossy bark.
  • Picnic under blossoming Cherry trees to enjoy their beauty whilst it lasts.
  • It is said that such picnics were ‘… originally reserved for the elite persons within society’ as shown above in the spa town of Ilkley.
  • USA and Germany even have their  own versions of the Japanese Hanami cherry blossom festivals
  • More botanic information Mume is another prunus species of Chinese or Japanese plum

‘Hybridization is an important evolutionary process that results in increased plant diversity. Flowering Prunus includes popular cherry species that are appreciated worldwide for their flowers. The ornamental characteristics were acquired both naturally and through artificially hybridizing species with heterozygous genomes. Therefore, the genome of hybrid flowering Prunus presents important challenges both in plant genomics and evolutionary biology.’ et al

Cherry blossom time strikes again in this public park. The colour is saturated until the rain comes and the ground is then saturated by fallen petals.

Cherry Picking Some Points of Note

  • I was taken with the grouping of these trees that were planted close together many years ago. The combined fluorescence is amplified in this park land setting. Still we can consider groups of various plants in our own gardens to good effect.
  • The probable shape of trees in bloom should be considered when planting along with the likely spread and height. This triangular canopy of flowering cherry’s could be thought of as a flattened cone.
  • For more growing shapes of flowering cherry trees read GTips
  • Varieties of flowering cherry trees can be found to suit most gardens but the expanse of green grass in these photographs adds contrast.

Corkscrew Hazel

Corkscrew Hazel

Corylus avellana 'Contorta'

  • Corylus avellana Contorta is also known as Harry Lauders Walking Sticks or Corkscrew Hazel
  • This is a slow growing deciduous shrub that can grow to 20′ high when mature.
  • Yellow catkins droop from bare twisted stems in February before small green leaves appear. I have never collected any nuts from my tree. Propagation is best done by layering branches.
  • Corkscrew Hazel has a distinctive appearance with curious, twisted branches but occasionally throws upright succors. I have just pruned out my succors from the graft. I got 10 long straight poles of hazel to use as supports.
  • The shrub is very hardy and easy to grow. I was given mine from a neighbor about 10 years ago. ‘Contorta’ has earned an RHS Award of Garden Merit
  • A superb feature for winter borders, woodland areas and oriental planting schemes.
  • Corkscrew Hazel looks best in winter and from February-March there are pendant male catkins on the bare branches.
  • When in leaf the mid green leaves show an ugly deformed appearance.
Many Magnificent Magnolia Varieties and Species

Many Magnificent Magnolia Varieties and Species


Magnolia Varieties

  • Magnolia ‘Sunrise’ – White with red stripe
  • Magnolia ‘Black Tulip’ -Deep purple with full petals
  • Magnolia ‘Red Lucky’ -Pink with red base
  • Magnolia ‘Jade Lamp’ – Pure white
  • Magnolia ‘Crystal Cup’ -Cream
  • Magnolia denudata Yellow River
  • Magnolia ‘Pink Beauty’ –
  • Magnolia ‘Betty’ – Deep pink to cerise

Available from Thompson & Morgan

Magnolia in Oxford


Magnolia bloom in early April

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Winnowing My Garden Books

Winnowing My Garden Books


A Yorkshire success following my post 3 years ago on Yorkshire day. (See below). I set a resolution to reduce by book collection which has been achieved in part by charity donations and Free Cycle to a Ripley lady. Over 500 gone and only 100 or so special interest books to follow in 2023 and onward.

‘On this first of August 2020 I am resolved to winnow down my collection of books on gardening and related subjects. I want to separate the wheat from the chaff and boy is there a lot of chaff to sort, probably 500+ tomes plus related ephemera. Not all of this winnowing activity will lead to new posts on this site but my first effort has done.

The most recent book I have read from cover to cover was the entertaining ‘The Hidden Life of Trees’ by Peter Wohlleben. To me it is a master piece of accessible writing about trees, what they feel, how they communicate and how nature interacts  with them. It is based on years of experience as a forester. Peter has acute observational and analytical ability that is well reasoned and simply communicated. The main themes I have taken into my wider gardening and ecological understanding include:

  1. Trees show we can take the long view and there is no need to rush, in fact time may create a far better and sustainable result.
  2. There is a place for everything and with everything in its place we disrupt it at our peril.
  3. We don’t know what we don’t know and there are more things in heaven and earth ( but what the Hamlet to mix my metaphors.)
  4. If trees have social networking with many skills similar to human abilities and traits, then what else can our gardens teach us.
  5. Look at what is easily visible and look again to develop understanding.

Fired with this enthusiasm I looked through for further enlightenment before I  pass on the books to others as part of winnowing down from  my book shelves. I came across a 1974 book ‘Plants and Environment’ by R F Daubenmire a self professed Textbook of Plant Autecology. The book’s definition of Autecology is wider than a dictionary definition claiming it considers: geology, soils, climatology, zoology, chemistry and physics which are connected to the welfare of living organism and evolution of species. Not dissimilar to Wohlleben’s offering.  As I have only read the preface and introduction in detail some chapers have been dipped into to suit my mood at the time. These include; soil, water, temperature, light, atmospheric, biotic, fire, evolution and complex environmental chapters.

As a text book it is more detailed and less apocryphal than the Hidden Life of Trees but aims at ‘the intelligent management of plant life (and trees in particular) for the good on mankind’. Both books have excellent notes and references.’


Little Conifers Little Tree Tips

Little Conifers Little Tree Tips

What are Miniature Conifers

  • Natural slow growing conifers that have not been deliberately stunted can be grown as miniatures.
  • The annual rate of growth is ¼” to 1″
  • Miniature conifers can be grown from several species including abies, pine, picea, chamaecyparis, cryptomeria and juniper
  • They are propagated from seed or as cuttings of existing miniatures.
  • Cuttings from sports or mutations can produce new varieties.
  • True miniatures differ from dwarf varieties and slow growers which also produce small trees
  • Miniatures are the shortest of the conifer family used in alpine gardens, scree gardens, troughs and display pots.

Little Conifer Tips

  • Miniatures can grow in troughs with 3″ depth of soil or in window boxes.
  • Allow them to spread the roots rather than delve too deeply
  • If grown as commemorative trees they can become long lived family treasures.
  • Contour the site in proportion to the trees you are growing making allowance for the anticipated height
  • Do not allow trees to be heavily overshadowed or left too dry.
  • Beware juvenile foliage may look different.

Read more on Gardeners tips

Miniature and Dwarf Conifers  from above

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Commonsense Apple Trees

Commonsense Apple Trees

Basic Facts

  • There are many thousands of apple tree varieties (7500+)
  • Apple trees can live for more than 30 years
  • Apple trees fruit better if they are pollinated from another variety (two more varieties for some apples).
  • Trees need a balance of roots, new wood and leaves to perform well on fruit production.
  • Most trees are grafted on to a special stock (not grown from pips). This determines the size of the tree.

So how to use this Information

  • Think about the apple(s) you want and the conditions in your garden.  Match your choice from information about specific varieties. Soil conditions geographic location and other knowledge is available from  specialists, a quality nursery or the RHS fruit group.
  • Buy with care bearing in mind the tree is their to last. Give it space and appropriate soil conditions as the tree will want air and light as well as sustenance.
  • Pruning stimulates new growth, do it between winter to early March. Train tree to shape before serious pruning and do not over prune in any one year.

Other Commonsense Comments

  • Apples can be grown in pots. Choose a large one that will be stable and hold moisture and feed weekly from July to September.
  • Protect the roots of pot grown apples from drying out caused by sunshine on the pot.
  • I am not keen on the use of chemical ‘icides on fruit but rely on a clean environment and early removal of problems. I will add sulphate of ammonia to increase vigour or potash to help fruit production.
  • When staking a tree ensure the trunk isn’t damaged or rubbed.
  • Apples can be stored for 4-6 months and should be left on the tree as long as possible ie November in many cases
  • Apples are ripe when the pips have turned black and should come off the tree with a gentle twist.
Neat and Trim Tree

Neat and Trim Tree

In a garden the weeping willow can look untidy and in need of a trim as it has a propensity to straggle and have branches trailing on the ground. Along side water it will favour the wet side. This can play havock with the area underneath and the designs symmetry.  A solution has been found in this garden which I spotted on a lockdown walkabout. The lower branches have been trimmed to a uniform height around the bole.

The lawn stripes and the neat hedges smack of a professional garden maintenance crew who doubtless have the best tools for the different tasks job.

I liked this photograph of the same garden from another angle. The trim willow is framed by the leaves of the overhang. A shame I couldn’t get a shot without the telegraph pole. See an earlier post from 2009 weeping willow in trim taken in Hay-on-Wye.