Thursday, April 14

Going up!

Even though our garden isn’t very large we have quite a few trees. We like the height that they bring to the garden and the birds love them too.

Trees are always at their best in spring with beautiful blossom and fresh green (or even reddish brown) leaves.

Our magnolia soulangiana tree has been the star of the show over the last week or so but sadly its spectacular phase is short lived and too soon we have a dense carpet of flower petals as the leaves take over and cast shade onto anything growing beneath the branches. When the magnolia is in full flower we have a good view of the flowers from some upstairs windows where we can look out into the canopy.

We were going to cut back some of the magnolia’s branches but this will have to wait as the blue tits in the nest box cam use the furthest reaching branch as an access route to the nest box. Maybe once the young leave the nest we may be able to deal with it. (The young - that’s optimistic – sort of counting my chickens - but the female is lining the nesting cup now so obviously she is intending laying eggs shortly).

We have two crab apple trees one is Malus Profusion which is strictly ornamental and the other is a John Downie that produces edible fruit. The Malus Profusion isn’t called Profusion for nothing as it has masses of red flowers which are followed by reddish brown leaves. It does produce crab apples but they are very small, hard and red not edible unless you are a bird.

John Downie has the usual coloured apple blossom and usually produces masses of edible crab apples which we have used to make crab apple jelly but to be honest we don’t really use them very much as we don’t really eat much crab apple jelly.

Behind our greenhouse we have a Conference pear tree and a couple of apple that we think are a Peasgood Nonsuch and a Bramley. Both of these started life as cordons growing with several other apple varieties up our boundary fence. Eventually they became infested with woolly aphid which didn’t seem to respond to treatment so we chopped them down leaving some stumps. Being behind the greenhouse we forgot all about them until we noticed lots of blossom above the greenhouse roof. So we now have the dubious bonus of fruit trees behind of greenhouse. It’s definitely a bonus having fruit trees in the garden but I say dubious as pears do sometimes fall off onto the greenhouse roof and break the glass.
A fairly new addition to our tree collection is a medlar. This was bought more for its decorative qualities but the fruit it produces is a novelty. It isn't very tall yet and will probably need pruning to keep it from becoming too large. We have used the medlars with various degrees of success to make medlar and apple jelly but the jury is out on whether or not we will repeat the experience this year.
We also had a tree that sort of isn’t a tree – I say ‘had’ because we are almost certain that it hasn’t survived last winter’s extreme conditions. It’s a real blow as each year we fretted about whether our tree fern had made it through winter. Each year its fronds have turned brown and died but each year it produced the beautiful new feathery fronds and grew taller. Even with its crown protected it seems last year was just too much for it.

Other trees that aren’t really trees that we think may not have made it through winter are our bananas. We had a little grove of banana plants as the plants kept producing babies. Each year the tops were cut down and straw was piled on the roots to protect from the cold but this year on removing the straw we found nothing but a mushy mess so we think our bananas lost the battle of winter too.
On the other hand our small palm tree Trachycarpus wagnerianus (or Trachy Waggy as I call it) has survived virtually unscathed with no protection at all. It’s not exactly a ‘tree’ yet but it’s getting there!
I should also mention or it may feel left out the nectarine planted in a pot by the greenhouse door but I have mentioned this before - still hoping the flowers were pollinated and we get a fruit!

Anyway I guess we’ll have to now think about what we plant in to replace our casualties!

By the way I am adding some pages to describe our garden in a bit more detail on my website - you can access the section using the Our Garden link at the top of the blog


  1. Isn't spring special! :Your magnolia is gorgeous.

  2. Sorry to hear aboutthe Winter casualties.:( Maybe just treat it as an opportunity to plant something else.

  3. I wish my garden was next to yours with that gorgeous magnolia. They are all spectacular this Spring!

  4. Spring is gorgeous Hazel.

    That's all you can really do isn't it Mark? - It did take quite a while though for the tree fern to grow into a really good feature.

    Hi Wendy - It's just such a shame magnolia displays don't last long!

  5. Wow spectacular bloom show from the trees and what a treat for summer when the blooms turn to fruit. I always wanted a magnolia tree in our garden.

  6. The magnolia is over 20 years old Diana so it does take a while to develop its full potential.

  7. Your magnolia is lovely....I love to see them in full bloom and I'm always a little sad when they start to drop their petals.

    I am very envious of your tree collection, oh well a few more years and mine will be up there with yours!!

  8. You can't hurry trees can you - it's one of the advantahes of staying in the same house!

  9. What a shame about your tree fern, you must be so upset about it, I would be. Your magnolia is wonderful, your garden is a riot of colour right now.

  10. Stunning Magnolia - sorry about your losses. Lot of it about this year. My 'John Downie' is totally smothered in blossom this year, so I think it is time I at least tried to make crabapple jelly.

  11. We are disappointed Jo - each year we have wondered whether it had made it through winter and each year until now it has.

    It can be difficult to pick the crab apples from our tree, Janet as it is in the middle of the border. It tends to rain crab apples. One of the things that puts me off jams and jellies is the incredible amount of sugar that you need to use!

  12. I love the way, gardeners look after banana in cold regions. A blanket of mulch to keep them warm. Over here I have to water them to keep them cool.... and and mulch around the base to reduce evaporation.

  13. It's also strange for us to read about things that you grow in your garden that we need to grow in the house as pot plants - Bangchik

  14. Your magnolia is absolutely stunning. I can't wait to have a proper garden with some trees.

  15. Can't imagine a garden without trees Rachel - the magnolia was only about 2' tall when we planted it maybe smaller

  16. Fabulous display of blossom this year! At least this heatwave means the magnolia had a chance and the blooms didn't get frosted.

  17. The lack of wind helped too BW so the flowers hung around a bit longer

  18. It's been such a good year for blossom. To think of pear blossom already...


Thank you for visiting and leaving a comment - it is great to hear from you and know that there are people out there actually reading what I write! Come back soon.
(By the way any comments just to promote a commercial site, or any comments not directly linked to the theme of my blog, will be deleted)
I am getting quite a lot of spam. It is not published and is just deleted. I have stopped sifting through it and just delete any that ends up in my spam folder in one go so I am sorry if one of your messages is deleted accidentally.
Comments to posts over five days old are all moderated.