Ornamental Cherry trees with their ‘Blushing pink blossoms’.

Nothing beats the sight of a cherry tree in full bloom, these showy spring blossoms vary from shades of white to bright pink and may be single, semi double and double.  There are many sizes and shapes to fit all gardens, including top grafted (to keep them smaller) and weeping.

Prunus serrulata Kanzan – prized for its exceptional ornamental value with a profusion of pink double flowers in spring.  This ornamental tree will hold its blooms for up to 2 weeks, which is twice as long as most other varieties.  Its leaves turn to gold and orange shades in the Autumn.  Prunus Kanzan prefers moderately fertile, well-drained soil and full to partial sun.  It can grow to be 8m-12m tall and over 8m wide, and makes an ideal statement or single specimen plant.

Prunus-serrulata-Kanzan

Prunus Royal Burgundy – produces double pink flowers in  clusters in April and May.  The rich burgundy coloured foliage complemnts the pale pink flowers perfectly.  Its deep red foliage turns to a spectacular bronze colour in the Autumn.  Prunus Royal Burgundy will prefer a sunny spot in any fertile soil and will grow to be a tree of approximately 6 meteres high but can be kept smaller with pruning if preferred. 

Prunus-serrulata-Royal-Burgundy
Prunus-serrulata-Royal-Burgundy

Prunus incisa Kojo-no-mai – or the Fuji cherry, has zig-zag branches which are very unusual.  Kojo-no-mai means ‘flight of the butterflys’.  It was discovered along the Yoshida path to Mount Fuji.  Prunus incisa Kojo-no-mai has single flowers that open before the leaves in early spring.  The petals open white or pale pink, becoming deeper pink in the centre.  It makes an excellent specimen tree and grows to 1.5m-2.5m in height and spread.  Prunus incisa Ko-no-mai grows best in moist but well-drained soil, in a West, East or South facing aspect. 

Prunus-incisa-Kojo-no-mia
Prunus-incisa-Kojo-no-mia

Prunus cerasifera Pissardi – displays dark-purple leaves on blackish stems, against which pale pink flowers are a beautiful contrast during April and May.  The flowers often fade to white and can be followed by plum like ornamental fruits Not edible to humans) in the autumn, so extending the period of interest.  With a rounded habit, the height and spread of the tree after 20 years is 5m x 3m.  It does well in a reasonably fertile soil in sun or partial shade, but it’s best to avoid very wet conditions.

Prunus-cerisifera-Pissardi
Prunus-cerisifera-Pissardi

Prunus Amanagowa – is a small, narrowly fastigiate deciduous tree with slightly fragrant, semi-doube, pale pink flowers in late spring; in autumn, the leaves turn orange and red.  It will grow in all aspects and is happy in all soil types.  The height is 4-8m x 2.5-4m in 20-50 years.  

Prunus-Amanagowa
Prunus-Amanagowa

Confused.compost!!

When purchasing compost it can be very confusing faced with lots of different types, in different sized bags and a kaleidoscope of coloured packaging.  But at the end of the day it all boils down to what you actually want to use it for. 

All purpose or multi-purpose compost is generally quite fine and can be used for sowing seeds, growing seedlings on and filling your hanging baskets and containers for bedding plants.

Multi-purpose with added John Innes (a specific mix which is made from sterilised loam, peat or peat-free substitute, coarse sand and other minerals). This is better for shrubs, roses and trees or plants that are going to be in a container for a long period of time as it holds moisture for a longer period.

Soil improver/soil conditioner is basically that, well-rotted organic matter that can be added to your soil to improve the texture. 

Bark/wood chip is usually made from waste bark or chipped timber and woody garden waste i.e. pruning’s and hedge trimmings.  This is best used as a mulch on the surface as it depletes soil nitrogen as it rots down.

Then there is the question of what does organic mean?

‘Organic’ in Horticulture often refers to the practice of organic gardening which relies on materials derived from living things, such as manures and composts made from garden and green waste.  Materials that do not derive from living sources are not allowed, for example chemical fertilisers. 

The organic matter content of most soils is fairly low as it rots down during the season so your soil will benefit from having organic matter adding to it.

Peat Free or not Peat Free that is the question?

Potting composts are designed to be the best growing medium for plants.  Peat has been used as a component because of its ability to retain water and nutrients.  Nowadays, with more awareness around peat-bog depletion, and peat as a limited resource, many gardeners prefer to use peat-free composts.

Peat-free composts can be made from a variety of ingredients, including wood fibre, green compost, manure and coir(coconut fibre).  They are great for water retention but, for plants that require good drainage, adding a bit of grit and sharp sand to the mix will help support growth.

New peat-free composts perform excellently but you might notice they have a different texture, which requires a slight change in watering habits.  Because of their high coir and woodchip content, peat-free mixes have a tendency to dry out more easily.  They have a course texture, which can appear dry on the surface but still damp further down.  Check by putting your finger in the soil to see if it’s dry all the way through.  Watering little and often is best, don’t let them dry out otherwise they can be difficult to water again, as the water runs off the top.  If this happens, soak the whole pot in a bucket of water to let it draw up moisture.

Why not plant up your new shrubs and trees with peat free compost.  We are proud to stock a range of peat free products with recyclable packaging using 30% recycled plastic in the bags – the highest amount.  The core raw materials in Happy Compost products are either recycled or by-products including bark, green compost, wood fibre and coir; all of which are 100% peat free.  Happy compost is manufactured in Great Britain at the most modern growing media factory in the country and trialed extensively over two years, outperforming all brand leading peat-free compost; it is the most ecofriendly range yet.