Six on Saturday – April shrubs and small trees

The dry days and sunshine over the last couple of weeks has transformed the garden. The soil is now workable and everything is coming to life.

Although many of the spring bulbs are still flowering it is the shrubs and small trees that are now coming into their own. This is my selection from the garden for this week’s Six on Saturday.

Skimmia japonica

This evergreen shrub is in full bloom at the moment and looks very lush and healthy. The honey bees just love it and it is great to see so many on the plant this year. A number of people in the hamlet have hives and this bodes well for an excellent crop of fruit later in the year (and a bumper cider harvest!)

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Spirea japonica ‘Gold Flame’ (syn. Spirea brumalda)

This is a stunning shrub and its golden orange foliage simply glows in the spring sunshine. It is something that I would like to have more of around the garden and hopefully we should be able to propogate it from cuttings later in the year.

The new foliage of many shrubs is not suitable for cutting for flower arrangements as the fresh emerging leaves wilt quickly. Spirea japonica ‘Gold Flame’ is an exception to this rule as the leaves emerge from old wood and can be successfully cut and conditioned.

This has the added advantage of pruning the shrub into shape and reducing the pink flowers that are produced from the old wood. It is really the glorious foliage that you are trying to encourage with this variety.

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Viburnum tinus

This year our large Viburnum tinus in the shrubbery seems to be flowering extremely well. It does seem to vary from year to year but it has clearly liked the wet, warmer winter conditions this year. It has large hand-sized clusters of blooms which are a mix of pink and white.

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Amelanchier lamarckii

I just love this small tree when it it comes into flower. The mass of delicate white flowers contrast beautifully with the bronze foliage. A must for any garden I think.

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Berberis darwinii

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Berberis darwinii (Darwin’s Barbary) is native to southern Chile and Argentina. There is no doubt it is a very prickly beast. At this time of year however it is in its prime with this stunning show of ‘in-your-face’ yellow blooms. I can imagine it is not to everyone taste but I think it sits well with the Amelanchier and Viburnum tinus which all flower together in the shrubbery under the silver birch trees. Both the Berberis and Viburnum are evergreen and provide structure in this part of the garden throughout the winter months.

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‘Victoria’ Plum

My final choice for this week is a new Victoria Plum tree that was given to me by my daughter for my birthday last year. It is only a small tree but it is flowering profusely and the bumble bees are regular visitors.

I am trying to do a little succession planning in the orchard as my lovely old ‘Warwickshire Drooper’ plum that I planted over 25 years ago is beginning to show its age. Limbs are beginning to die and drop off! Hopefully this old tree has a few years left in it yet but I wanted to get a new tree established to take over in the coming years. Victoria is common for a reason – it is such a great plum variety and I hope that it will establish quickly.

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The Six on Saturday meme is hosted by The Propagator. Click on the link to be inspired by what other plant lovers are enjoying this weekend.

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