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Sinful Trips and Bargain Shopping – Part 2


The first sinful trip to the garden centre saw us return with a car loaded with Clematis. A week or two later, we were back on the road, on our way to a friend’s 40th birthday party. It saw us travelling back to where we used to live and with that being quite a long way, we decided to make a day of it by going to our favourite nursery that used to be local to us. As I revisited the area we used to live in for the first time in two years, a strange mix of emotions went through my mind and it ended with a sense of detachment, feeling as though “that was then” and, “this is now” and somehow the “old life” was lived by a different person that was like me, but not actually me. Odd.

Anyway, the nursery, with its fantastic cafe, were having a root-ball tree sale. Cue rows and rows of trees with their root balls all wrapped up in cloth and us perusing them. “Oh here’s an Amelanchier, I’ve always wanted one of them!”, says I. “Look, here’s a Tibetan Cherry, Prunus Serrula, with that gorgeous polished bark that gleams in the sun!” says the other half. “They’ve got Laburnum! I’ve got that on my master plan and I’ve always wanted that tree in the garden.” says I again. “I can’t believe they’re selling these trees for the same price as a potted herbaceous perennial!”, we both say. We eye the trees, we guess at the length of the car, we go in for lunch, we eye the trees again, we ignore the length of the car, we look at each other, I get the trolley.

The rest, as they say, is history.

Root-ball Prunus Serrula

Root-ball Laburnum

After the birthday party we’re returning home in a car filled with three root-ball trees.

  1. Prunus Serrula, the Tibetan Cherry
  2. Laburnum x Watereri “Vossii”
  3. Amelanchier, either “Canadensis” or “Lamarckii”. The two labels on the tree either say one or the other.

As well as the trees there were also three Clematis that inexplicably snuck in. OK, I couldn’t resist and they were in the “bargain” section of the nursery, which is always a risk but the cut down prices means that with a little care and attention, a plant can usually be coaxed back into health as long as its roots look well.

The areas of the garden these trees will end up in aren’t ready yet but we still couldn’t resist the bargain prices they were being sold for. Root-ball trees are cheaper than potted trees but will take longer to establish, however I don’t mind and have the time. For the moment, they are tucked into a hastily weeded nursery bed set into the patio and supported by tree stakes (a necessity).

Three Root-ball Trees

I’m hoping that by the time they become dormant again, we’ll be able to move them to their final, prepared positions out in the garden. Unit then, they join the nomadic patio plants and that will actually make it easier to look after them, particularly when it comes to the frequent watering they will need, as they can be hooked up to the patio watering system.

After spending so long taking all the over grow, neglected and scraggy unwanted shrubs, trees and plants out of the garden, it feels like we’re reaching a tipping point where there’s more going into the garden than being taken out. With Fruit Avenue, we have eleven new trees planted in the garden, a veritable arboretum.

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Sunil Patel

I'm Sunil Patel, this is me. I created the Garden at 13 Broom Acres and I open it to visitors. I also bake and write blog posts giving a "behind the scenes" look into what it's like to maintain such a garden.

Visit the blog, then come and visit the garden. We can have a good sit-down, a jolly chinwag and a relaxing cup of tea with a sinfully generous slice of home made cake.

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Jean 19/03/2016 - 1:30 am

Oh, what fun! It brought back memories of going to check out a new nursery with a friend and coming back with a Japanese maple for her garden crammed into the backseat of my compact car. After reading this post, I feel as though I’ve been on a vicarious plant shopping spree — and the best part is that we spent your money. 😉

Sunil 20/03/2016 - 7:43 pm

Hello Jean, the best kind of money is someone else’s isn’t it! The back of the car has had plants in it more often than passengers. I’m glad we opted for a larger model car as sometimes, I’m really not sure how we would have coped with fitting it all into something smaller (trees out through the side windows comes to mind).

susan maclean 19/03/2016 - 8:43 am

Amelanchia? I only found out about that tree this year when I saw it mentioned in a newspaper article….. Hope all three will thrive for you. I had £60 worth of vouchers for Christmas from some friends – to spend on trees. I have one bog standard silver birch at the end of my garden, about 10 years old – and I want to have several different birches in a “stand” up there. so I may be able to find 2 sizeable ones with that voucher money. And I want a forsythia too, but really I would like a cream coloured one.

Looking forward now to shots of your garden as things come into flower!

Sunil 20/03/2016 - 7:49 pm

Hello Mrs Mac, I think I saw these first at a National Trust property (I think that goes for many plants) and have wanted one since. I hope it does do well. These are going to be long term plants that will take many years before they really start stealing the show. To inspire your stand of birches, you should look at the stand they have at the end of the Winter Garden in Anglesey Abbey NT (there’ll be picture of it online). I’mm looking forward to the Magnolia Hill beginning to flower too. I think that because the plants are all young, they’ll take longer to flower or leaf out but buds are beginning to open and there are definitely signs of life.

casa mariposa 19/03/2016 - 3:55 pm

I would have bought them, too! So tempting…. Excellent tree choices. May they live long and prosper. 🙂

Sunil 20/03/2016 - 7:50 pm

Hello Tammy, I’m really excited to have these three trees and am looking forward to being able to set them in they ground in their final positions (when ready) and watch them grow and flower for many years to come.

gardeninacity 20/03/2016 - 2:36 pm

Hurrah! Well worth the money. Especially the Amelanchier, this is definitely a small tree that should be in your garden.

Sunil 20/03/2016 - 7:52 pm

Hello Jason, I think try favourite out of all three is the Amelanchier, because of it’s spring flowers, and found bronze foliage and then the autumn colour. It is also quite structural in winter when it has no leaves so there’s something for pretty much every season. It’s a small tree that packs a lot in and it’s a shame that it’s not more popular and widespread.

lynngator 20/03/2016 - 7:03 pm

Sunil, I had to check my pocketbook after reading about your plant shopping spree! Glad you took us along. I love clematis too, but they seem to disappear after I’ve planted them. Some turn up years later. I don’t know where they go! Of course my weakness is roses and I have more coming than I have room. So mid-April should be interesting!

Sunil 20/03/2016 - 7:58 pm

Hello Lynn, I recently planted several clematis and they were all doing so well until the deer visited the garden and dines alfresco. They often visit around this time of year (and then again in late autumn) and have nibbled several of the clematis. I’m hoping that as they’re in the ground and it is still early in the season, they’ll recover, but it just goes to show a my typical experience with trying to get these plants established and growing in the garden; they’ll either be eaten, contract wilt, suffer with vine weevil (in pots) or have to be re-dug up and moved, just as they were getting established.

susan maclean 02/04/2016 - 9:00 am

Morning Sunil! just found a website that mentions a British-published book, and has some pics which might interest you. I am very excited to say that I have been in Thomas Jefferson’s garden! (one of the pics). And yesterday, I went plant shopping. Will blog about that and the site soon. x

Sunil 03/04/2016 - 5:29 pm

Hi Mrs Mac, thanks, I’ll bookmark and take a look on a lunch break. My collection of garden books is small but growing and I’m always looking to add to the existing stock.


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