Gardening: Go down to the woods today and be surprised

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In the woodland at RHS Harlow Carr at the moment, we have a select few late summer flowering interest trees/shrubs.

One tree in particular which is in flower at the moment and has caught my eye is Eucryphia glutinosa. This particular tree is an evergreen tree which is from the family Cunoniaceae. It is a fairly vigorous and grows to around 15 meters in height. It can be identified in several ways, one of them by its leaves; they are made of three leaflets, and are densely covered with small insignificant hairs and also have finely serrated edges.

In the months of August through to September Eucryphia glutinosa has a profusion of white sweetly fragrant flowers, they are usually in the region of 4cm in diameter and rather attractive, with four to five petals and pink/yellow anthers, occasionally it can produce the odd double flower.

Eucryphia glutinosa prefers moist, lime free soil conditions which have a sunny aspect to it, but it will also tolerate semi shaded conditions, it can also be propagated by its seed in the spring or by cuttings that are taken in the summer to mid-autumn. Eucryphia glutinosa was propagated for its ornamental qualities, while one of its parents, Eucryphia cordifolia, was grown for its straight durable timber used to make railway sleepers, telegraph poles, boats, planking and furniture.

Eucryphia glutinosa can be found in the woodland, just around the corner from the Log Ness Monsters tail and cannot be missed, here you will see it set back amongst trees and Rhododendrons, but none of them are flowering now and are as spectacular as the Eucryphia which stands out at this time of the year to show of its floral colure.

The flowering shrub Callicarpa bodinieri or Beauty berry is looking beautiful at the moment; this can be found in garden seven of Gardens Through Time. This is a very attractive small to medium shrub reaching up to three meters in height and spread. It has a small lilac flower but is grown for it’s berries in autumn. They are extremely small, vibrant violet bead like berries which are in abundance along the stems. The berries normally appear early to mid-autumn and accompany the golden purple tinted leaves as they turn into their autumn colour before falling off and letting the berries steal the show.

Callicarpa bodinieri is a very tolerant shrub and enjoys most types of well-drained soil but it is said that too much alkaline in the soil will cause leaf yellowing and even if there is too much alkaline it can lead to complete leaf drop in some cases, it also enjoys full to partial sun.

Due to recent warm weather at Harlow Carr we have had, and still are, getting a second flourish of flowers on our rhododendrons; a prolonged flowering period which is very unusual but very spectacular for this time of year, one in particular is Rhododendron ‘Polar Bear’.

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