Green Fingers: Mother’s Day gift that’ll last for years

James Vaughan


James Vaughan

Green Fingers: Mother’s Day gift that’ll last for years

Magnolia stellata like the one in James’ garden produces brillant white flowers

Mother’s Day, which is this Sunday, is celebrated in over 40 countries around the world. It is an occasion to reflect and to give thanks to all our mums and express how much we love and appreciate them. It is only since becoming a parent myself that I truly realise how much our parents do for us.

Traditionally mothers receive flowers and chocolates as presents on the day.

While these are very nice, the flowers will last, at longest, for about three weeks. We have covered in a previous article how to look after your bouquets of flowers. A suggestion I would make is that you choose a flowering plant that flowers at this time each and every year. Below are some shrubs that would make excellent Mother’s Day gifts and will flower around this time every year.


The most desirable colour to get a hydrangea is the classic electric blue. They do come in all shades of pink and mauve. For the hydrangea to have natural blue flowers you need to have acidic soil. You can check with a simple soil testing kit to see if your soil is acidic or alkaline. One thing to note is that, with the right treatment, you can change the colour of your pink hydrangea from pink to blue. You simply need to feed the hydrangea with the right food. The food you are looking for is ‘Ericaceous’ or rhododendron food. Add this food around the soil around the shrub. Over time the flowers will turn form pink to blue.


Magnolias are available in a variety of shapes and colours. They are slow growing so the larger the plant, the larger the price! The flowers do have the added advantage of being scented. Over time the plant will grow, eventually growing to become a large shrub or small tree. It is ideal if you have a small garden. One that I have in my garden is magnolia stellata. This has nice, white star shaped flowers at the moment. On a settled day it gives off a lovely, sweet scent.


Camellias are evergreen and so offer something for 12 months of the year. What they also have at this time of year are gorgeous flowers in colours of pink through to white. Like the hydrangeas these shrubs need to be given ‘Ericaceous’ plant food. It is called Ericaceous because it is also suitable for all Ericas - or heathers. I tend to add Ericaceous food to plants in my own garden every six weeks. I only add food during the growing season - March until September. This all helps to provide stronger plants with more flowers.

The plants listed above are available from most retailers. One place I travelled to recently was Dundrum Nurseries in Ward Park, Dundrum, Co Tipperary. They have a great selection of the plants listed above. And they are available at reasonable rates.

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