Archive | Shrubs and Trees

Tips on the selection and growing trees shrubs and hedges

Mast Year 2019

As I walked past a line of trees the beech nut husks crunched under foot. The pavement was strewn with copious quantities of this crunchy produce from the venerable trees. I was moved to include a few notes on nature’s masting process.

Mast Production

  • A mast year occurs when a bumper crop is produced. It has the effect of increasing the potential for reproduction but also feeds-up creatures in anticipation of a hard winter.
  • Mast seeding is also called masting and the produce is a mast
  • Mast years are so called due to the  production of many seeds by a plant every two years or so
  • Masts are often produced in in regional synchrony with other plants of the same species.
  • It is thought a mast year may be designed as a defense to assist reproduction of a species because seed predators become satiated before all the seeds have been consumed.
  • Many species ‘mast’ including oak, hickory, and beech with their acorns, hickory nuts, and as with beechnuts they produce a ‘hard mast’.
  • Fruit trees and other species may produce a soft mast but the volume of produce will still be much more fruit than normal


0

Picia Perhaps? – I need to Spruce up Identification

The dew on the spiders web doesn’t worry what the plant is called conifer, Picia or a more exotic variety (I have lost the label and there are many Picias to pick from). What the spider will be interested in is the type of insect attracted to the plant and thereby the web. Below is a picture of the 5 year old plant about 2′ high and a bit more in circumference. It is a well behaved plant and worth its place in the miniature conifery I am developing.

Key Features of Picea

  • Latin name – Spruce and various forms of Picia
  • Type of tree – Evergreen, Conifer
  • Leaves – grow in a series of spirals
  • Features New growth emerges as soft tassels of delicate light green
  • Family – Picea is a genus of about 35 species in the pine family
0

Judas Tree – Root and Branch Review

Judas Tree

At the heart of the Judas tree is an ornamental flowering tree with rich, pink to red, pea shaped flowers in May followed by long pods.

Key Features of the Judas Tree

  • Latin name – Cercis siliquastrum aka Flowering Judas or Love Tree
  • Height – Ornamental tree up to 35 feet
  • Type of tree – Deciduous
  • Leaves – Kidney shaped, untoothed, smooth grey-green
  • Flowers – Sweet pea-like magenta-pink
  • Fruit – Flat brown pods
  • Bark – Dark grey with ridges when mature
  • Family – Fabaceae

Leaf of Japanese judas tree

Origins and Distribution of the Judas Tree

  • Native to southern Europe, western Asia and possibly originating in Judea hence the name.
  • Just about hardy for UK gardens.

Uses and Attributes of the Judas Tree

  • Eye catching spring flowering ornamental tree.
  • Flowers are edible in salads, fried in batter or pickled as a caper substitute.
  • The wood is hard and fine grained making it suitable for veneer work
  • A popular tree in parks and ornamental gardens.

Cercis siliquastrum (I) -vainas-

Gardeners Tips for the Judas Tree

  • The flowers arrive in spring before the leaves and also bloom from old wood and stems.
  • Requires full sun and good drainage.
  • This leguminous tree has decorative, long, purple pods

Other types of Judas Tree and key species

  • Varieties include ‘Afghan Deep Purple’ ‘Bodnant’ and ‘Alba’ – white flowers and Carnea’.
  • Other Cercis include Cercis canadensis (Redbud), Cercis chinensis heart shaped leaves and Cercis racemosa drooping flowers.

Judas Tree comments from elsewhere

  • Top ten UK garden trees.
  • The Judas tree appreciates a warm spot and is a star in May when the leafless branches are adorned with lilac/pink flowers. Grow your own from seeds in February or March.
  • According to legend this is the tree on which Judas hanged himself after betraying Jesus. After Judas died the white flowers are said to have turned red with his blood and shame.
  • Avoid anywhere too exposed as the stems are rather brittle

Judas Tree

Credits
Judas Tree by Vassilis Online CC BY-SA 2.0 ‘Cercis siliquastrum, commonly known as Judas Tree, is a small deciduous tree from Southern Europe and Western Asia which is noted for its prolific display of deep-pink flowers in spring.’
Leaf of Japanese judas tree by Amehare CC BY-NC-ND 2.0
Cercis siliquastrum (I) -vainas- (Pods) by .Bambo CC BY-NC-SA 2.0
Judas Tree by Ava Babili CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

3

Roses as Center of Attraction and Attention

Roses can be a center of attraction in a photograph as these local garden subjects show. With the morning sun behind the photographer the intense colour shows through despite some risk of colour burn-out. However, for me it is the petal pattern and form that takes center stage.
Roses can also hold your center of attention for both colour and scent in many a  garden
Photographs with a dark background help with the contrast and emphasise the quality of the rose flower. A shame about the black spot on the lemon sorbet.
Is this a  hover fly or a randomly attracted flying creature that wants the nectar or to have a rest & bask in the sunshine.

Roses have been out of fashion but this summer could be the start of a Renaissance – let us hope so.

0

Old Venerables and Trees That Disappear


It is hard to picture how old this tree would be had it lived. Judging by the spread of it’s roots, which were over 12 feet in diameter, it would have been some sized tree.

Up on Friars Crag near Derwentwater the remnants of this trunk are now gone. It is interesting to note that the roots are the only parts that are still rotting. Was it the moss that protected the roots?

Nearby is a monument in recognition of the writer, social reformer and artist John Ruskin’s  visit to Keswick in 1824. I would guess that was around the time the tree died to start the rotting process but that is only a guess. Ruskin was fascinated by nature and would have a better idea about this tree remnant. He build his own garden at Brantwood near Conniston Lake ‘A paradise of art and nature’

Keswick has some grand trees in a distributed arboretum in the parks and near the river Greta. Try the tree trail in Upper Fitz Park.
Continue Reading →

0

Hybrid Tea and the Family Tree

First introduced in the 19th century the lineage of Hybrid Tea roses goes back to crossing or hybridising a tea rose with a hybrid perpetual rose. The first example was supposedly ‘Madame Bravy’ x ‘Madame Victor Verdier’ but many more have followed to great acclaim. One such was a rose called ‘Peace’ which has sold, under several marketing names, over 100 million plants world wide.

Hybrid Tea roses like this example of Brasilia are a group of roses that are crosses between one rose and another. In this case Piccadilly x Perfecta produced this Brasilia flower with scarlet petals reversed in pale gold.  The grandparents were  McGredy’s Yellow × Karl Herbst and Golden Scepter x Karl Herbst respectively. With 2 grandparents the same it shows how complex cross breeding became during the heyday of new rose introductions.

Another flower with reverse colour on the petals was Caramba with cherry red petals reversed with silver. It also has very dark glossy leaves. The parentage of this specimen is unknown! The name has also been sub-sumed by a ground cover rose with far less appeal.

0

When is a Rose not a Rose

  • A rose is not a rose when it grows on an alien stem.
  • A rose is not a rose when it is converted into a bar of fragrant soap.
  • A rose is not a rose when it is the name of the Yorkshire morris dancing set White Rose Morris Men.
  • A rose is not a rose when it is a pinkish colour of paint .
  • A rose is not a rose when a knight stands from kneeling.

A rose is not a rose when it is a Lenten or Christmas rose!

0

Half Standard Roses at the Seaside

Half Standard roses are grown on a 60-80cm stems. The selected flowering variety is grafted onto this stem. A spreading variety of polyantha or ‘fairy rose’ attains further  height of  2′. Clusters of bead-like buds open to globular, scented flowers which are most effective en masse.

Very often Half Standards are a better choice than full standards as they do not get too tall. Note how the half standard has been secured to the top of the stake.

By contrast ‘Full Standard’ roses are grown on a 3 foot stem. The flowering variety is grafted onto the stem and depending on variety will grow a further 3-5 foot Most full standards flower at or above head height.

0

Flowering Cherry Trees in Parkland

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.

Continue Reading →

0

Larch a Conifer for Bonsai or Forests

There are two common species of larch Larix kaempferi (aka leptolepis  the Japanese Larch) and European Larch Larix decidua. As the name implies the Larch looses their tufted leaves in autumn. They grow in most conditions but do not like wet or chalky soil

European larch is a large tree up to 100 feet tall.  It is conical in shape when young. It has a tendency to  lose its lower branches.  The drooping branches display a greyish colour. The European larch has longer needles than other Larches.

The Japanese larch has shoots of reddish brown. It has a rosette of neat shorter needles. It is a very hardy species grown in forests for timber.

Other Larch species include Siberian larch Larix sibirica and the  Russian larch,  Larix potaninii is a species  found in China and Nepal. Larix principis-rupprechtii, the Prince Rupprecht’s larch is also from china

Read our Root and Branch review of the Common Larch

Bonsai with Larch

  • The larch is a popular outdoor Bonsai species. Particularly the Japanese Larch Larix kaempferi.
  • The trunks grow thickly and relatively quickly. Uncharacteristic shapes can be pruned in.
  • The trees displays seasonal colours bright green in spring then  foliage darkens during summer and turns  golden yellow before falling in autumn.
  • Do not be concerned if some exposed roots peek out from the soil.
  • More information from south devon bonsai society.
  • Foliage darkens during summer and in autumn turns bright gold.

Continue Reading →

0

Powered by WordPress. Designed by WooThemes