Spring blossom in April

A year or so ago I did something unusual and sensible and planted a group of bird cherries on the west side of the garden. It would be too ‘grand’ to call it an avenue (there are only seven) or even two rows, since one row is of four and one of three. But the idea was to form a shaded ‘row’ in time. As it turns out, they must have been grown from seed at the nursery since, despite being named as Prunus padus ‘Colorata’ there is a variation in flower and leaf colour and not all have deep pink flowers and purple young foliage. I am not that bothered by that, as it happens, because I was slightly worried about planting what is, in effect, a purple-leaved tree in a rural area. Purple trees can be striking but they can also stick out like a sore thumb. I am not in an area of special natural beauty but I do consider my actions responsibly. The fact that there will be variation in leaf colour, and that it fades to dark, rather dull, green by summer, allays any fears I had. Not that you would really notice when your eye is more likely to be drawn by next door’s photinia hedge that burns brighter than a tiger in the night!

The bird cherry is not often planted, which is a shame since it is a tough and pretty tree. The long bunches of small white flowers are showy and lightly scented and ‘Colorata’ is the same but pink. Small, black fruits follow which birds enjoy. The common cherry (Prunus avium) is far more common and widely seen around here. I noticed great clouds of the white flowers on the hill above Enniscorthy the other day and it looked amazing, even in drizzly rain.

I was expecting these cherries to grow. But I was very worried about the Primula sieboldii I planted several years ago. This was a primula I had not grown before, needing moist, humus-rich soil and light shade. The issue, in a garden like this, which is young and in a state of flux, is that it dies down after flowering and remains as small resting buds – so easy to dig up or disturb. But it has proved resilient and has even spread a little. I hope it is well established now and will stay with me.

In a raised bed far, far away – well at the other side of the garden, the first of the dwarf iris (SDB) has opened. This is a Paul Black iris (2011). I am not sure if I will ever be able to grow good iris in this soil and am holding off being too adventurous, after a faltering start, but the raised beds are home to some of these dwarfs and they are thriving so far. More to follow.

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6 Comments on “Spring blossom in April”

  1. Paddy Tobin
    April 23, 2023 at 8:00 am #

    The native Prunus avium gives a beautiful display and I enjoy it naturally on a boundary ditch in the garden. There is only one other cherry in the garden, that upright ‘Amanogawa’ which is now overshadowed by a huge “upright” hornbeam.

  2. Jaye Marie and Anita Dawes
    April 23, 2023 at 8:54 am #

    I cannot grow iris in my garden, but yours are very special…

  3. Meriel
    April 24, 2023 at 4:14 pm #

    Gorgeous Primula and Iris are a fav. My own doing very poorly. When I look at the blog you did here with the blue Iris in the foreground and the Sugarloaf behind it makes me so frustrated. I divided those Iris and replanted and they’ve got smaller ever since and hardly a flower. I gave some to a friend who was planting up a new garden on limey soil and hers have grown marvellously and are full of flower buds! Is lime a requirement? I’ve lost the fab darkest purple ‘Night Train’ you gave me unfortunately. Sorry!

    • thebikinggardener
      April 25, 2023 at 2:00 pm #

      Iris don’t need lime in the soil but most bearded iris species grow in soils that are limy. There is some thought that lime in the soil can alleviate or reduce leaf spot on the foliage. It is not essential but probably desirable.

      • Meriel
        April 25, 2023 at 10:41 pm #

        Thanks Geoff.

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