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Thursday, 13 April 2017

Evergreen Photinia Red Robin for Shrubbery, Hedging or Standard

Life between the flowers-Evergreen Photinia Red Robin for Shrubbery, Hedging or Standard
Life between the flowers-Photinia Red Robin produces new red shoots in mid March


Photinia is an evergreen shrub which many people will recognize and know by the common cultivar  Red Robin. However, Photinia's make up a genus of over 50 shrubs and small trees. In 1943 a Photinia seedling was discovered at the Fraser Nurseries in Birmingham Alabama in America. This tiny seedling was a hybrid of Photinia glabra and Photinia serratifolia. So Photinia x fraseri was born and the cultivar Red Robin by far the most popular of the species here in Britain, was bred in New Zealand. Photinias found wild have a wide natural range which spans from North America to the Himalayas, through India and on into Thailand. Several species can also be found in Japan. It is now cultivated and planted in gardens and municipal parks throughout the World. Photinia is a name which comes from the Greek word Photeinos meaning glossy, probably because of its shiny leaves.
Life between the flowers-Photinia Red Robin can grow 12 inches a year up to 15-18 feet high

Growing Habit

Photinia x Fraseri Red Robin can be grown either on its own as a specimen shrub or combined as a hedge. I have also seen them looking very handsome as a standard.  Red Robins grow quite fast, on average 12 inches (30cm) a year, and can reach as high as 15- 18ft (5mtrs +) and over time can spread equally as wide. Here in Britain the shrub starts sprouting its shiny red new shoots in mid March. By April the red leaves have fully opened and white flowers with a pink tinge appear from May.   There is also the similar Photinia x Fraseri Cracklin Red Parred which is smaller and grows to around 5-6ft (2 mtrs) and a dwarf shrub Photinia x Fraseri Little Red Robin 2-3ft (60-90cm).  
Life between the flowers-Photinia Red Robin makes a great hedge and requires minimal maintenance

Planting and Pruning

Red Robin is a shrub that is very easy to grow and once planted requires minimal maintenance. They are happy in either full sun or partial shade and will tolerate most soil types if reasonably fertile and well drained. Dig a hole twice the size of the pot or bare root and add in plenty of compost with a handful of fish blood and bone meal. Water well in and keep watering until the plant has become established. Watering is particularly important during the Summer months in the first year. Pruning is only required to keep the shape of the shrub so a light trim now and again through the Summer should be fine. This is especially important if you want to keep a hedge in shape. If a more substantial prune is required to reduce height or width it is best done in the early part of the Summer after the best of its flowers are over. Occasionally you may notice in Spring as the new shots appear that some leaves have brown purple spots on them (see picture 1 top). This is a sure sign the plant has become stressed over the Winter by harsh conditions or cold winds.  Give the plant a good feed of Growmore or similar and mulch some humus rich compost around the base.
Life between the flowers-Photinia Red Robin's white pink tinged flowers appear in May
General Discussion and your views are welcome, please say hello. I regret because of my busy schedule I am unable to answer any questions. Thanks so much for visiting my blog today.

Life between the flowers Garden Selection

Tuesday, 28 March 2017

Forsythia Yellow Spring Flowering Shrub

life between the flowers Forsythia yellow Spring flowering deciduous Shrub
life between the flowers-The Forsythia shrub was named in honor of Royal Head Gardener William Forsyth


Named in honor of William Forsyth (1737-1804) the Scottish Royal Head Gardener, prominent horticulturalist and founding member of The Royal Horticultural Society, Forsythia is a genus of flowering plants belonging to the Olive family (Oleaceae). There are around a dozen species in the genus, originating mostly in the Far East.
life between the flowers-Forsythia shrubs are covered in yellow blooms in early Spring


Forsythia is a deciduous shrub which bursts into prolific bright yellow bloom in early Spring and largely before the emergence of its leaves. They are very easy to grow preferring places in full sun or partial shade.
life between the flowers-Forsythia will tolerate most soil types


Forsythia will tolerate most soil types as long as they are reasonably fertile and well drained. As with all shrubs dig a hole twice as large as the pot or bare root. Add in plenty of compost and mix in a handful of fish blood and bone meal. Water well in and be sure to keep the plant moist during it's first year or until its roots have established. This is especially important during the Summer months.
life between the flowers-Prune Forsythia straight after flowering


Forsythia requires very little maintenance. However this shrub is a fast grower, so care should be taken when choosing the location to plant Forsythia as it can become overwhelming in just a few years. It is likely pruning may be required to give the shrub some shape depending on its situation. This will be important if you intent to plant Forsythia as a hedge rather than a stand alone shrub. Pruning is best done straight after flowering in late Spring. It is essential that you prune the plant then if you want to have flowers the following season as Forsythia only flowers on growth from the year before. Pruning in Summer or Autumn will only cutaway next seasons blooms. First remove old dead wood. Trim the stems to shape as required and then every five years cut out around one third (30%) of the old stems right down to the ground especially if they have formed crowns from previous pruning. Feed and mulch as required.
General discussion and your views are welcome, please say hello. I regret because of my busy schedule I am unable to answer any questions. Thanks so much for visiting my blog today.

Tuesday, 21 March 2017

Hellebores, Christmas or Lenten Rose, Perennials for Shady Places

life between the flowers Christmas and Lentern Rose
life between the flowers Hellebore niger
Commonly known as The Christmas or Lentern Rose because of its flowering time from the Christmas period into Lent, Hellebores are not actually related to the rose family but to the genus Helleborus.  This genus consists of over 20 species of  perennial mostly evergreen herbaceous flowering plants in the family Ranunculaceae.
Life between the flowers Christmas and Lentern Roses Hellebore Niger
Many species of Hellebore have their origins in South Eastern Europe on the uplands and lowlands of The Balkans. Other original species can be traced in Turkey through Syria and into China. However most of the popular varieties you see in gardens around Britain are the creations of nurserymen and are Helleborus orientalis hybrids.
Life between the flowers Growing and caring for hellebores
Hellebores are a perfect plant for dappled partial shade. Full shade may inhibit flower numbers so planting in and around deciduous trees or shrubs is ideal. They will tolerate most soil types but their ideal will be humus rich, loamy and well drained. They should not be planted in areas that become waterlogged especially through the Winter as they are likely to rot off.  If the area becomes hot, baked and dry during the Summer this equally should be avoided.
Life between the flowers Planting Hellebores.
To plant your Hellebore dig a hole twice the size of the pot or bare root. Add in plenty of compost and a handful of fish blood and bone meal and water well in. During the plants first year or at least until its root system has become established keep it well watered, especially during the Summer months. In Spring be sure to lightly fork in a top dressing of fish blood and bone or a compound fertilizer. Growmore is a popular one here in Britain.  It is a good idea to mulch round the plant in the Autumn. You could use mushroom compost, leaf mould or chippings of bark for this purpose.
Life between the flowers Hellebores flower in early Spring.
Here in Britain, Hellebores tend to flower from mid February through to April. Although they are semi evergreen throughout the year leaves gradually die back to allow for newer fresher ones. Its a good idea to cut these dead ones away from the plant for its overall tidiness and to prevent disease. This is particularly important in late Winter prior to the flower stems emerging to make sure they are not hindered or covered. Once flowering stems have finished they should be cut down to their base.
Life between the flowers-Hellebore clumps can be split after a few years
 Most Hellebore tend to form large clumps after several years growth. At this stage they can be divided. Lift the whole plant and slice into sections with a spade or put two forks back to back and gradually prize apart whichever you find easiest. These bare root sections can then be replanted elsewhere. This process is best done either straight after flowering in Spring or in early Autumn. Make sure your new plants are kept moist through the first year or until new roots have established.
life between the flowers-Hellebores produce seedlings which can be grown into new plants
In addition to splitting large clumps, Hellebores tend to self propagate with little seedlings growing around the parent plant. These can be left where they are to mature but as they may be quite dense it's best to thin them and pot the seedlings on to grow into new plants.
life between the flowers-flowering Hellebores brighten up the Winter months
General discussion and your views are welcome please say hello. Because of my busy schedule I regret I am unable to answer many questions. Thanks for visiting my blog today.