This is the time of the year when many of the summer flowering shrubs and trees begin to flower. Weigelas are easily grown and develop into fine leafy shrubs with nice early summer flowers and in some cases, attractive foliage. Most varieties have been produced from Weigela florida, a plant introduced from the far east about 150 years ago. Weigelas are deciduous plants that grow well in any fertile, well drained soil in full sun or partial shade.
Weigela florida ‘Variegata’ is one of the best variegated shrubs for a warm sunny position, it has green leaves with a white margin and rose pink flowers.
Weigela florida ‘Foliis Purpureis has bronze green foliage. Weigela middendorffiana is an upright shrub with bright green leaves. It produces pale yellow, bell shaped flowers with a conspicuous red throat.
Cornus kousa (Dogwood) is a deciduous tree or tall shrub in flower now. The flowering dogwoods are grown for their white flowers in summer and for their stunning autumn colour. Many of the cornus trees come from China and Japan.
They will thrive in well drained rich soils that are neutral to acid with shelter from north and east winds. Cornus kousa produces creamy white flowers that sit up on the branches, the flowers are flushed with pink before they fade. The tree produces strawberry-like fruit in the autumn if the summer is fine.
The foliage turns into a rich bronze, orange and crimson colour in the autumn. It is a beautiful tree that grows slowly at first, but eventually needs plenty of room.
There are dogwoods such as cornus alba which are grown for their winter beauty, producing brilliant foliage and colourful stems which range from yellow through to almost black purple. They will grow in wet soils. These dogwoods should be cut back hard in spring to within 12 inches of the ground.
Cornus alternifolia (Pagoda Dogwood) and Cornus Controversa ‘Variegata’ (Wedding cake tree) have graceful horizontal tiered branches that look like a weeding cake. The foliage has bold creamy white margins. In early summer, it produces white flowers, followed by black fruit. These cornus trees should be allowed to grow naturally with the minimum of pruning.
Cornus canadensis is a creeping dogwood that produces white flowers in summer, used for ground cover in a shrub border. It needs a moist acid soil.
Bulb of the week
Ornithogalum (Star of Bethlehem) is a bulb in flower now. One of the common names for this bulb is chincherinchee which comes from the African word for sound. The dried seed pods of the plant produce a sound. Some varieties are winter hardy while the rest are not. Varieties like O. ‘Arabicum’ and O. ‘Saundersiae’ are not winter hardy and are planted in spring. The plant is a native of South Africa and flowers from June to October. The flowers are white in colour with a black ovary at the centre. The plant requires a sunny position and can be grown in pots or herbaceous bed. We grow them in pots and place them out in the garden in different beds. The flowers are very suitable for cutting and will last for a long time in a vase.
Alliums are looking very good at the moment. Allium, from the onion family are among the easiest of all bulbs to grow. They produce spherical, drumstick flower heads in a range of colours like purple, yellow, pinks and white. The bulbs should be planted three times the depth of the bulb in a well drained soil in the autumn.
They may also be grown in a container. After flowering allow the foliage to die back naturally. This enables them to build up energy in the bulbs for the following years.
There are a number of varieties to choose from such as Allium giganteum with a pink flower on stems 5-6 feet tall, Allium cristophii produces flower heads 8 inches wide on stems 12-24 inches tall, Allium ‘Globemaster’ produces rosy purple flowers on stems 32 inches tall.
Alliums can be dried very easily, cut the stems when the flowers are fading and hang them upside down in a cool airy shed or garage.
Flower and Garden Club
Boyce Gardens are open to the public, for bookings please phone 069-65302. Also check out the Facebook page which has updates from my recent trip to Bloom!
On Tuesday June 9 the Limerick Flower and Garden Club will be hosting their monthly meeting at The Greenhills Hotel on the Ennis Road starting at 8:00pm. There will be a demonstration by Una Fleming.
For any additional information please contact Janet Bray on 086 3996689.
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