living buddies are at threat. In 1987, I planted a line of four Sorbus hupehensis, still among my leading choices as a specimen tree for gardens. In a less torrid year this Chinese rowan tree has pinnate blue-grey leaves and, in autumn, a fine program of pink berries. Since I planted mine, the favoured variety is hupehensis Pink Pagoda, a selected form whose berries are a richer shade of pink. I like my old pals, whose berries are a paler pink turning even paler if the birds do not remove them. After 35 years they are about 20ft high and scarcely 10ft large, an excellent option for a mini-avenue. They reveal a quite length of bare trunk before the branches begin.After bucketing, I am going over The Dry Garden by Beth Chatto, very first published in 1978, 2 years after a fearsome
British dry spell. She describes how she planted a number of Sorbus hupehensis when she first developed her dry long border. They”have actually looked quite distressed sometimes “, she mentions, in three dry summers because. She mulched them heavily in early spring and discovered”they stood the 1976 dry summer season rather well”. She then expresses an interest in seeing how they will carry on when they get their roots well down.Forty-four years later on, I can tell her, mine are now deep rooted however their leaves have actually sweltered and dropped. They have actually needed to be motivated by the bath-to-bucket treatment
. Even so, their leafless stems are a living green when scratched. Once once again they will endure, so I still rate them extremely for garden enthusiasts. If they are too huge for your space, I also worth Sorbus vilmorinii, another excellent tree which reaches just about 10-12ft. In spite of the ban, I have actually spared another fine tree a bucketing. The paulownia might well be the tree of the future. It grows really quick and has big green leaves which open late in spring.
It has been flowering more profusely in Britain now that winter seasons are milder. In late May and early June there is every opportunity of seeing its lavender-purple flowers in southern England. They appear like stumpy foxgloves and are among the late spring magnificences of the fine garden at Ninfa, near Rome, where big paulownia trees grow on the far side of the primary stretch of water.Paulownias grow so rapidly to about 40ft that in Britain their trunk and branches are vulnerable to splitting in a winter windstorm. They also have the drawback of coming late into leaf, as late as a mulberry tree in early June.
An artistic way of treating a paulownia in a smaller area is to suffice yearly down within a couple of inches of its base each spring and leave it to send up a new stem about 6-8ft high on which the leaves are much bigger, like large green dishcloths.They make a bold function in a combined planting, bringing an unique appearance without the threat of being damaged by winter season frost. The fantastic garden planter, Lanning Roper, used to grow boldly pruned paulownias in this way in his London garden, a sanctuary of ingenuity and beauty
in the 1960s. In Japan, the paulownia is likewise a tree of the past. It has a most distinguished literary ancestry. The Paulownia court is the setting for the very first chapter in that limitless fiction, the Tale of Genji, a masterpiece of the 11th century. Genji’s mom is the girl of the Paulownia court in the emperor’s
palace. She is not well born, however her child is exceptionally gorgeous and is therefore the emperor’s preferred, exposing her to the spite of his other concubines. Paulownias ended up being referred to as empress trees as a result: their hard wood was used to make musical instruments however likewise chests for clothing. When a daughter was born, moms and dads sometimes planted a paulownia tree so that its wood would make a chest for her robes when she left and married house. If a paulownia is so evocative, why not water it? It has an indispensable, but underemphasised, quality. It thrusts a huge tap root down into the soil which acts like a water pump, drawing water not just into itself and the leaves above but also into the surrounding soil.
I discovered this beneficial reality from a great collection of hydrangeas in Normandy whose owner visited Japan and realised that he could plant happy hydrangeas really near to the trunks of water-pumping paulownias. They thrived there even in hot summer seasons and, in imitation, I planted evergreen abelias around a big paulownia in my own garden. They are all succeeding in this dry year.So are particular privets. Garden enthusiasts watch out for them as they associate them with rather boring hedges round suburban front gardens, but those oval-leaved hedging ranges are just one corner of a much bigger household. As a big shrub or small tree, I similar to the shiny-leaved evergreen Chinese privet, Ligustrum lucidum, which reaches about 12ft in 10 years. It has white flowers and makes an emphatically rounded function, each branch growing out so that the leaves can reach the light.Ligustrum lucidum is completely durable and never ever in need of bucket-watering. There is an outstanding avenue of it in Gloucester Gardens at Cockfosters, an end point of London’s Piccadilly Underground line. In the drought of summer season 2003 I took a round ticket to check it. The sight of a glossy green tree, neither wilting nor dropping leaves, is most heartening.Find out about our most current stories first– follow @FTProperty on Twitter or @ft_houseandhome on Instagram