Star Attractions on the Plant Centre – Part 2

By Lorraine Spooner

In Part 2 of this blog (if you missed Part 1, you can read it here), I am highlighting another selection of plants looking particularly good at the moment, which are hopeful of making the move from the Plant Centre to your home, to be enjoyed in your garden in this and subsequent seasons.

Star Attractions on the Plant Centre – Part 2
Star Attractions on the Plant Centre – Part 2

Cotinus coggygria ‘Royal Purple’

Cotinus are looking their very best with abundant foliage and clouds of wispy, pink flowers, tipped with creamy yellow, hanging in smoke-like panicles which give the shrub its common name of Smoke Bush. Growing to a height and spread of 5 metres, they make the perfect back drop for other colourful summer flowering shrubs and perennials. But don’t let their size put you off, as they benefit from a hard prune in late winter/early spring to keep the plants compact. Tolerant of a wide range of soils, they are best planted in full sun for the best autumn colour when the foliage takes on rich red and orange tones before falling.

Sometimes it is referred to as the Venetian Sumac, in reference to its earlier classification in the Rhus genus. It is now in its own genus representing some of our finest foliage shrubs.

Star Attractions on the Plant Centre – Part 2

Rosa ‘The Generous Gardener’

A charming, repeat flowering rose with a strong fragrance of musk and myrrh; the double pale pink blooms have their petals exquisitely arranged around multiple stamens and nod gracefully from their stems. Perfect for growing over an arch or through a small tree, especially one with dusky purple foliage such as Malus toringo ‘Scarlett’ to offset the delicate shade of its flowers. We have this Malus in stock in a multi-stem form, and with a height of three metres, it would make the perfect pairing for this stunning rose.

To mark the 75th anniversary of the National Gardens Scheme, this Rose honours the ‘generosity’ of gardeners that open their doors to the public for this charity.

Star Attractions on the Plant Centre – Part 2

Sorbus ulleungensis ‘Olympic Flame’

Named for its stunning autumn foliage and columnar habit, this Rowan matures to 6 metres with a spread of just 3, making it an excellent screening choice for gardens when planted as a lone specimen or in multiples. The hanging clusters of creamy-white flowers in late spring mature to large, shiny red berries, providing a striking contrast against the fiery autumn spectacle of vibrant orange and red. This tree was reclassified in 2014 from Sorbus commixta ‘Dodong’ after a seedling discovered on the island of Ulleungdo in South Korea, was found to produce much larger flowers and fruit than others in the original named species commixta.

Star Attractions on the Plant Centre – Part 2

Tilia tormentosa ‘Brabant’

This Dutch cultivar of the Silver Lime was introduced to the U.K. in the early 1970’s and is a majestic, deciduous tree, being very uniform in growth with a sturdy, straight trunk and a dense, conical canopy, making it popular as a specimen tree or for avenue planting. The dark green leaves have silvery-white undersides, which displays a stunning contrast when fluttering in a summer breeze; they take on buttery-yellow tones in the autumn. The small, creamy white, fragrant flowers hanging in pendulous umbels are produced in July and are pollinated by honeybees.

Star Attractions on the Plant Centre – Part 2

Physocarpus opulifolius ‘Diable d’Or’

This genus of shrubs in the Rosaceae family earns the name ‘Ninebark’ from the multiple peeling layers of bark when the plants reach maturity. With four seasons of interest, this extremely hardy, ornamental shrub earns its place in the middle or back of the border; try underplanting with shades of acid yellow or lime green, such as the flowers of Alchemilla mollis, which make a striking counterpoint to the vibrant, coppery-red foliage, which darkens as the seasons progress. Clusters of palest pink flowers in summer are attractive to pollinating insects, and last well into autumn when they then mature to shiny red berries.

Star Attractions on the Plant Centre – Part 2

‘Looking Good’ Hedging Options

For border and patio edging, Lavender is in full bloom buzzing with bees and butterflies and for excellent Box alternatives, Euonymus microphyllus and Euonymus japonicus ‘Jean Hugues’ are becoming increasingly popular. Finally, a hedging plant that typifies English country gardens is Fagus sylvativa, our native beech, these ‘ready to go’ 10 litre plants are 125-150cms tall and are resplendent in their bright green summer frondescence. Come and talk to us for the best hedging options suitable for your soil type and garden aspect.

Please be advised that container grown specimens can be planted all year round, a little more attention at planting time and vigilant aftercare will be required to ensure the plants remain healthy and thrive. Store your plants in the shade until you are ready to plant, choose a dull, overcast day, soak the root balls and the planting holes thoroughly, then water again to settle the soil and apply a thick mulch of fine bark for water retention.  Planting in the early evening is advisable so that cooler temperatures throughout the night can help prevent any wilting.

You will need to carry out regular watering checks while they establish (please refer to the ‘Squeeze Test’ in our Planting and Watering Guidelines link below). Click here to view the NICHOLSONS Planting and Watering Guidelines.pdf

If you would like any further information on any of the plants featured in this and last week’s blog, please e.mail me

We look forward to welcoming you to Nicholsons Plants very soon.

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