How many trees do you know that are wreathed in blossom in the UK in August?

We are guessing not that many!

Out of the office window, we were noticing the other day that the Acer campestre fruits were colouring up nicely.

The occasional chalices of lemony fragrant flower on the Magnolia grandiflora are stunning, but occasional they are.

 No the real  love interest in the trees in the garden this week has been this Eucryphia:

 

 

Upright, evergreen, quite speedy, this should suit many a small garden.

So why is it not grown more often?

Well, Hillier says of Eucryphias in his ‘biblical’ manual of trees and shrubs:

‘They thrive best in sheltered positions and in moist loam, preferably non –calcareous. The roots should be shaded from hot sun.’

So it begins to seem quite complicated.

In fact his symbol code for the whole genus says:

‘Lime free or neutral and will not tolerate alkaline or chalky conditions.’

So a big no, no for many of us, then?

Not necessarily!

On a limestone escarpment in the southwest UK we are growing this cross between cordifolia and glutinosa, Eucryphia x nymansesnsis ‘Nymansay’ which is one of the easiest and most adaptable of the genus.

It was established as a young plant in soil enriched with organic (and therefore acid) matter.

It is our experience with acid loving plants that it is often the establishment that is key.

We have however followed the other key requirement, of a shaded root zone, to the letter.

There is shade and shelter from a trellis to the south and from a high wall to the west.

And it has been generously planted beneath with hardy geraniums, hellebores and japanese anemones.

It receives an annual mulch of leaf mould.

All of this helps to keep the root zone moist and cool which is obviously key.

 

Looking at this amount of blossom we think we have got this right!   

Lesley and Robert

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