With daylight increasing all the time this month, spring is definitely in the air, and if you don’t already have a tree in your garden for spring blossom, now is the time to remedy that. These are really the last couple of weeks for planting bare root trees before the growing season begins in earnest. If you can’t get to a specialist nursery, don’t worry, you’ll have loads to choose from at your local garden centre.
In a smaller garden where space is limited, you could consider Magnolia stellata, the Star Magnolia. Compact and slow growing, it’s a good magnolia for alkaline soil and with more of a shrubby habit, can be incorporated easily into a mixed border. It’s double white blooms are one of my favourite sights in the March garden and have a sweet fragrance. Underplant with snowdrops or early spring bulbs and you will be enchanted by this lovely magnolia in bloom for many years to come.
If I had the space, I would plant an orchard not just for the apples (although that would be very nice! ) but for the apple blossom alone. Rosy pink buds opening to delicately scented blossom in palest pink and white…perfection in a plant that could only be created by a greater Hand than ours. Had I the aforementioned orchard, I would underplant with drifts of camassias and wildflowers, but until that day, my beloved little Coronet “James Grieve” apple tree brings that little taste of Heaven every spring.
We can’t really talk about spring blossom without giving the flowering cherry a mention. Fleeting but glorious, in a sheltered garden they bring a touch of magic with single and double blossoms in white or pink. Choose carefully though so that your tree won’t outgrow the space you have, and make sure the shape is attractive – it’s easy to be distracted by pretty flowers and forget about the structure of the garden.
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