Tree Planting Season
A tree-lined street in London a few weeks back stopped me in my tracks and had me searching for my camera. What was most exciting was the perfect scale of the trees in relationship to the architecture which was made up of two long terraces either side of the road lined with elegant three storey houses. The crown of the tree, a Crataegus prunifolia Splendens, spanned the pavement whilst leaving plenty of room to walk beneath the branches and the form overall was of a neat and leafy canopy. It has masses of pretty white blossom in Spring and now with leaves turning from green to red and dripping in berries it seemed to me a most inspired choice for a city street.
It was also a good scale to consider for a town garden and my antennae are out for the right tree here since my standard Clerodendrum trichotomum is in its fifteenth year and isn’t looking as good as it did for the first twelve years of its life. Several branches are bare which has reduced the neat canopy which was broad enough to sit under for shade in full sun. I am dithering between a practical and pretty fruit tree such as Czar plum below which comes highly recommended from a good gardening friend in Oxford…
…or a tree that offers two seasons of dramatic interest whilst feeding the birds in Winter and providing pollen for bees in Spring so maybe the hawthorn seen in the London street. I also have Cercis canadensis ‘Forest Pansy’ (see below) on my radar with its deep purple leaves throughout summer.
I decided to plant the Erythronium bulbs in modules until they show signs of green shoots. The ground is soggy and although I’ve cleared some leaves the trees are still clinging on to quite a lot more. Bringing the bulbs on in a cold frame means I can avoid pulling them out of the ground when raking up the final drop from next door’s mulberry and walnut trees.
And the seeds of Anemone nemerosa above were sown in fresh potting compost and will be kept indoors in the light at 18c-22c and kept moist for the first 2-4 weeks. After that they go into a cold frame for a further 4-6 weeks. This is known as the cooling period and then I’ll bring the tray indoors again but leave it in an unheated room at 5c to 12c. It will be Spring before they can be potted on and finally planted in the ground in June.
The only freesia I really like are these pale ones which have been in bloom for a week on the kitchen table. They are so much cooler than the bright orange-red variety and they look especially good in this pale grey tin jug.