May blossom be with you!

Fleeting blooms: A close-up of my double flowering cherry

Fleeting blooms: A close-up of my double flowering cherry

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YOU get the feeling nature’s trying to rush through spring to catch up – a bit like a late traveller jettisoning baggage to catch a train.

One of the major casualties has been what the old folk used to call “May blossom” (although it’s often appeared in April in latter years).

Flowering cherries, with their pink and white frothy blossom, have always been a beautiful signpost of late spring, but sadly very ephemeral.

It’s been even worse this year, not so much due to the cold, but the incessant winds, at least in my garden.

I’ve had a dwarf weeping flowering cherry with double pink flowers for nigh on 20 years in the front garden.

It’s truly lovely in flower, but so frustrating when the blossom’s battered by heavy rain and high winds – just like this week!

The blooms have been there for barely 10 days this year, before being blown down the street like pink confetti.

It’s very easy to be seduced into buying a flowering cherry, but my advice is buy a variety that gives you interest in other seasons, so it really earns its keep.

Here’s three recommendation from the Royal Horticultural Society. They all have a weeping habit, are deciduous and their maximum height is 2.5-4m, so they’re suitable for small gardens.

* Flowering Cherry Kiku-shidare-zakura, with the branches arching from the trunk. Leaves are bronze when young, later glossy green.

Flowers are fully double, rich pink, to 3.5cm wide, in late spring.

* Single pink weeping cherry (Prunus × subhirtella Pendula Rubra), with arching, pendulous branches. Ovate leaves turn orange and red in autumn. Flowers single, deep rose-pink from redder buds.

* Crab apple Malus Red Jade, with white flowers opening from pink buds, followed by small, shiny red fruits in winter, with good autumn colour.

For stockists or to check what will grow in your garden, log on to www.rhs.org.uk/plant selector.