When planting trees, it’s all too easy to consider their foliage as the star of their aesthetic, however, we’d do well not to forget the plethora of flowering trees capable of thriving in British gardens and, in light of that, we’ve prepared a compilation of our personal favourites – that is, trees and large shrubs that provide distraction not only with their size and shade, but the presence of their blooms as well.
Floral & Hardy’s Top Ten Flowering Trees
Cercis ‘Forest Pansy’
The Cercis can be considered a large shrub or small tree, growing to ultimate heights of up to 12m. It is possessed of beautiful deep purple, heart-shaped foliage and dark pink flowers throughout the spring on bare branches.
Crataegus ‘Paul’s Scarlet’
This deciduous tree is perhaps better known as Hawthorn and is another spring time bloomer, bearing bright pink blossoms from early February to early May complemented by glossy, lobed foliage that itself will continue into mid-summer.
Davidia is a mid-sized cultivar of deciduous trees with red-stemmed, arrow-shaped leaves and sporting dark green flowers during the spring season complete with striking white bracts, giving it its common name of ‘Handkerchief Tree’.
The ‘Pride of India’ is an upright, deciduous tree with a rounded growth habit bearing green leaves that are reddish at first, and then will fade into yellow as the year progresses. This latter colouration matches that of its panicles of golden flowers that appear in summer as well.
Laburnum watereri ‘Vossii’
‘Voss’s Laburnum’ is one of the smaller trees in our collection, popular for its drooping racemes of golden flowers in late spring and rich green foliage; be aware however that its seed pods can be highly toxic.
Magnolia soulangiana ‘Lennei’
The ‘Lennei’ is a large shrub or small tree with vigorous growth rate, but while its size will immediately arrest your attention, it is the beautiful purple goblets that will hold it and the blooms are themselves complemented by broad-leaved, emerald foliage.
Magnolia grandiflora ‘Exmouth’
This is not the ‘Exmouth’s’ first appearance in our blog and for good reason, as it is one of the most classical representations of the magnolia genus and also an evergreen meaning that you get much more longevity for your time and money. It also, rather unusually, flowers in the summer months with large, fragrant, creamy flowers.
Malus ‘John Downie’
This mid-sized crab apple tree will provide a wealth of rich green foliage and white, spring-time flowers. Once these have gone, it will produce large amber fruits throughout autumn.
Commonly referred to as the ‘Foxglove Tree’, the Paulownia derives its name from the purple flowers it produces, however, while they share a likeness to the smaller plant, thankfully they share none of its toxicity. These are large trees with broad, palm-shaped foliage that you can expect to grow to heights of 12m or more.
The ‘Pandora’ is a species of ornamental Cherry Tree that will grow to heights of 5m. It is a deciduous tree with good autumn colour, but also bearing pinkish-white flowers during the spring and whose open branches will arc outward from the trunk.
This concludes our review of ten flowering trees, but the key things to remember when planting ornamental trees are variety and preparation – as with any canvas it is important that there is a selection of colours to complement one another. However, each of these cultivars is a large project in itself and their projected dimensions as well as feeding requirements must be taken into account to ensure that every aspect of your canvas is fully realised.
By Josh Ellison