Bursting into life at this time of year, blossom trees such as crab apple and flowering cherries, adorned with clouds of pink and white petals, are among the most inspiring sights of the changing season. Look for those small enough to grow in modest-sized gardens, or even in pots.
You can bask in the glory of spring blossom from late March to the beginning of June. Take a look at some recommendations.
• Crab apple tree: Malus
At the start the year, crab apple tree boughs are heavy with frothy, candy-coloured blooms, and then when the fruit comes, many varieties provide a fabulous display of colour that will continue from autumn into winter.
Thanks to its beautiful, delicate pink buds that open to fragrant white flowers, Malus 'Evereste' is a go-to tree for lots of garden designers. It can grow to 26ft so needs a fair-sized garden and should thrive in moderately fertile soil, tolerating partial shade. For small to medium sized spaces or for containers, 'Adirondak', which has waxy white flowers, is a good choice.
Angela Slater, gardening expert at Hayes Garden World, also recommends the following varieties: ‘American Beauty’ which has deep red double flowers, ‘Hillieri’ with bright pink semi-double flowers, ‘John Downie’ with white flowers and a heavy crop of bright orange flushed red fruits, and ‘Golden Hornet’, one of the most reliable varieties producing white flowers and yellow fruits, suitable for a large container.
• Ornamental selection: Prunus
Flowering ornamental cherries are very easy to grow and produce wonderful blossom from early March to late May. There are lots of varieties which range in colour, from pure white to the deepest carmine pink and from simple single flowers to many petalled doubles.
For small gardens, vase-shaped cherry blossoms, Prunus 'Snowgoose' and 'Sunset Boulevard', are ideal.
Prunus 'Snowgoose' will grow well in a moist, chalky soil – the large flowers are almost grey-white. 'Sunset Boulevard' is well-suited to moderately fertile soil in full sun – the dark buds open to reveal white flowers edged with pink. A third smaller tree is Prunus 'The Bride', which enjoys similar growing conditions. In March and April, the pale pink buds open to a froth of large single white flowers with a vibrant deep red centre.
Angela suggests the upright pale pink Flagpole Cherry, Prunus ‘Amanogawa’ for small spaces. The flowers are slightly fragranced, too. 'One of the best for a small garden or container is the pale pink-flowered ‘Kojo-no-mai’ as it is slow-growing and an added point of interest are its zig-zag branches,' she reveals.
Other recommendations include ‘Kursar’, which has rich deep pink flowers and is suitable for a medium-sized garden, while ‘Taihaku’ is also known as the Great White Cherry, which, according to Angela, is possibly the best white-flowered variety. However, it's not suitable for small gardens.
• Hawthorn: Crataegus monogyna
'The common hawthorn is a very tolerant tree, of both dryness and excess moisture and they are also suitable for coastal windswept gardens,' explains Angela. 'There are hybrid varieties available which give slightly larger and double flowers. Try Crataegus laevigata ‘Paul’s Scarlet’ with double scarlet flowers, or C monogyna ‘Compacta’ a small variety suitable for growing in a container.'
• Quince: Cydonia oblonga
The most widely sold variety of this small fruit tree is ‘Vranja’ which gives fragrant yellow fruit. This is not to be confused with the ornamental quinces, Chaenomeles japonica, which is grown as a shrub, Angela warns.
You Might Also Like