If National Tree week eluded you another opportunity arises next Sunday to buy and plant a tree for your Mum. Magnolias have to be the showiest of spring and summer flowering trees. Usually deciduous, they can be grown in moist well-drained hummus rich soil in sun or in partial shade. They do not like exposure to strong winds. There are a huge number to choose from, these are some; Magnolia ‘Leonard Messel’ is easy to grow and is a great performer, producing pale lilac-pink flowers in spring. You will need to give this plenty of space. On the other hand, Magnolia ‘Susan’ is more of a shrub than a tree suitable for inclusion in the border or as a specimen. ‘Susan’ produces bright pink goblet shaped upright flowers in spring from purple buds. Magnolia Stellata (star magnolia) ‘Jane Platt’ is a vigorous and bushy shrub with rich pink flowers. It is hard to come by but a real beauty I’m told and worth looking for. Magnolia ‘Star Wars’ is a deciduous tree. It produces large pink broadly shaped flowers in spring both with and before it comes into leaf. It flowers freely even when young.
An oriental flowering cherry also makes a lovely gift. Prunus Kiku-Shidare-Zakura is a gorgeous miniature weeping tree. It produces a stunning display of deep pink double flowers form April to May. Prunus Amanogawa is ideal for small gardens as it is upward as opposed to outward growing. It produces masses of semi-double scented delicate pink flowers in spring. Its dark green leaves provide great autumn colour when they eventually turn orange-red. A winter flowering cherry is ideal also for a small garden and flowers from November to March.
If you have a small budget a packet of lily bulbs will only set you back about €5 euro and can be picked up in any garden centre, DIY outlet or supermarket. Bulbs are a fantastic present and something that I had never thought of giving before until I recently received some as a gift myself. Enough of the same thing planted in the one spot always makes a lovely display. Even my dogs pressed ‘paws’ to enjoy my tulips by the sundial the other day! (See Photo)
Things to do this week
– Form an informal co-op with family, friends or neighbours and share the sowing of seeds in pots/trays between you if space is an issue. This will also save you money as there are usually more seeds in a packet than required
– Whether its liquid slug killer, pellets, spent coffee grains or beer traps, the slugs are back and are coming to a hosta near you, don’t waste any time letting these pests nibbling on your plants and veg, take action now before its too late
– Treat your Mum!