Not long now.

Discussion in 'Maples' started by Houzi, Mar 1, 2015.

  1. Houzi

    Houzi Active Member

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    Well several seedlings have been tentatively puttiing leaves out the past couple of weeks besides several frosts.My new grafts should be opening up in a week or so.Many maples in the garden have swelling buds but the good news is my 'early warning' maple has just started to leaf out now,it did this mid January last year!...hopefully things will be a bit later this year though there is a lot of activity now.
    After a major repotting exercise last year most of my maples became defoliated.I lost heart in the garden and didn't visit this forum much or post anything....I simply had nothing to show :( So I've just finished repotting most of them in a soil-less mix(mainly cat litter),worked out quite expensive but now I can just water any time and not worry :) I'm hoping for a much better year and it'll be interesting to see if a few 'stunted' maples I've had for years finally get to grow.There's a useful link here for anyone wanting to try this,just go forward to the next pages for sourcing outside UK.
    http://bonsai4me.com/Basics/Basicscatlitter.htm
    The best news was I stumbled across a little white dead looking twig of a plant with a few buds on today...it was a 'Beni Tsukasa' I grafted 3years ago and has been overlooked and assumed dead since.In the brief time(1 season) I had the original plant I really liked it so that's now residing in the gritty mix now :)
    Here's hoping the worst of winter is over now,I know some of you have had a tough one :)
     
  2. Schattenfreude

    Schattenfreude Active Member

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    Welcome back, Houzi!

    I'm anxious to hear how your soilless planting medium works out for you, as I, too, have been using a similar "gritty mix" for most of my potted maples the past two years. While I've not lost any trees to excessive moisture, and the trees have looked healthy enough, I'm not seeing as much growth as I'd expected. I suspect that I'm not fertilizing enough or as frequently as I ought to. So this year I plan to fertilize more often with a diluted liquid fertilizer to see what happens. Maybe all I need to add is a granular slow-release fertilizer? I'm also going to keep most of my potted trees buried to keep the roots cooler and less prone to drying out, i.e. less watering required.

    I can attest to the fact that this medium is excellent for seedlings. I have pulled up numerous oak trees which sprouted from acorns that had fallen into my pots. The root structure on these little trees is always far superior to those I pull up from the ground around my yard. I can only assume that my tree roots also are looking this good (crossing fingers). This month, I plan to do some root pruning on several trees to see if this is indeed the case.

    Winter is far from waning here in the Midwest---- just yesterday we received our heaviest snowfall this winter, a mere 4 inches! But the frigid temperatures have kept us reminded that it's indeed winter, despite the lack of snow. I'm hoping that we will start seeing some more moderate temperatures soon so that I can get out and do some repotting.

    Good luck with your trees this summer. Please keep us posted.

    Kevin in KC
     
  3. Houzi

    Houzi Active Member

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    Cheers Kevin.Good to know the potting mix kept your trees healthy...did you find yourself having to water more often?I'm hoping for better results this year and must remember that the only nutrients these plants will get are supplied by me.I potted them with some slow release in the mix but I'll also give them a boost when they leaf out with some soluble.With our weather there never seemed a chance to use soluble when you wanted to for fear of waterlogging but now I'll have no fears.As I said I've got some maples which are actually less of a plant than when I got them so we'll see if this gritty stuff is all it's cracked up to be hopefully.
    Hope you and your garden survive the weather...to be honest I'd rather my plants came out later,always a worrying time,but then again I wouldn't enjoy the harsh conditions myself :)
    Since posting this this morning,'Taylor' has advanced during a sunny day,probably be the first actual cultivar yet again(helped by it's sheltered warm position)
    Good luck with the potting up when you can,though it was a very labourious task by the end for me ha ha.
     
  4. Schattenfreude

    Schattenfreude Active Member

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    Yes, I did find myself watering more often--- mainly due to our hot and windy summer here. We have the exact opposite problem here with moisture in the summer, or better said, LACK of moisture. But with the mix, you can never overwater, which is nice to know. When I repot the trees later on this month, I'll be sure to take some pics of the roots.

    I'd like to know what else you added to your cat litter. I primarily used small pieces of pink bark to aid in moisture retention, but also added chicken grit (small pieces of granite). I was able to find turface locally, so did not use kitty litter. In the future, I'll probably give the quick-dry from NAPA or Autozone a try, as it's bound to be cheaper and nearly identical in substance and granule size. In one batch of soil, I added compost and peat, as well. I pretty much used "Al's Gritty Mix" recipe as my base, then modified it here and there.

    I think you'll be pleasantly surprised this year with your trees in the new mix. Drowning them will never be an issue :-)

    Kevin in KC
     
  5. emery

    emery Generous Contributor Maple Society 10 Years

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    Hi Houzi,

    Were you able to get the Tesco litter? I used the My-Cat brand quoted in the article, and while it didn't break down I found it retained too much water. So I've stopped using it; now I do a combination of fertilized coconut chips, pine chips, coconut fiber and pouzzolane. The coco chips (or brun brand) hold a lot of water too so you have to be careful not to add too much. The maples seem to like the mix though.

    Good luck with Taylor, I've killed a couple and given up on it completely, as have some others I know.

    As of 1 March I got the last of my maple planting done, quite a few trees and the basic structure for a free hedge: 10 palmatums at 3m intervals! :)

    Here are the new trees in the ground this year:

    A. campestre 'Red Noses'
    A. campestre 'Nanum'
    A. capillipes (wild seed)
    A. cappidocicum ssp sinicum
    A. cissifolium (wild seed)
    A. davidii (replacement in the davidii hedge)
    A. discolor (wild seed) x 2
    A. erianthum
    A. hyrcanum 'Alma Mater'
    A. hyrcanum ssp sphaerocarpum
    A. catalpifolium (wild seed)
    A. maiotaiense
    A. negundo ssp calfornicum
    A. palmatum 'Koshi mino' (moved after years)
    A. pectinatum 'Sirene'
    A. spicatum

    I think the data base is missing some plant date numbers, but that's already a lot of holes to dig! :)

    -E
     
  6. ROEBUK

    ROEBUK Contributor Maple Society

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    Houzi.. Like yourself i am seeing the gardens are now begining to show the first steps of new life once again after a miserable winter.

    Picture 1&2 Murasaki kiyohime well into the budding stage, same for the 3rd picture of Kashima to think both of these will be in full leaf in just over a month :) always my first JM to appear in the spring.

    The MK is performing so much better since it was moved from a far sunnier spot two years ago to a more sheltered area, also the ground where it's planted is pure shale and it thrives, never seen this one look as good.

    Emery the white stuff in the pictures came last night :( opened the bedroom drapes this morning and had a 'Victor Meldrew' moment 'I don't believe it'. (UK Expression)
    Just when i thought i had seen the back of the snow here we go again ,should be gone in two days hopefully.

    Hope every body else is starting to see the onset of spring and the coming months of colour growth and delight.
     

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  7. Jaybee63

    Jaybee63 Well-Known Member Maple Society

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    Mine are budding up, but not as advanced as Roebuks, and we are usually ahead this far south.
    Just finishing off the last of the repotting, I tend to root prune aggressively now, I've become more daring in how far I go each year, but the maples seem to thrive on it, even when planting out, if root bound, I cut sides and base of the football and tease out.
    Houzi, how often do you repot? I used to every 2 years for, but this year it's been done on a yearly basis.
    I' ve never added extra grit, use John Innes no 3 mixed 50/50 with coarse pine chips, later of sharp grit in the bottom and top dressed with 30 to 40 mm granite chippings. I'm no expert, but it seems to work for me.

    John
     
  8. emery

    emery Generous Contributor Maple Society 10 Years

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    Gawd, Roebuk, the snow... not what anyone wants to see once the sap starts running. The only palmatum section maple I have as advanced as the Murasake kiyohime is oliverianum ssp formosanum, which is always disturbingly early.
     
  9. Houzi

    Houzi Active Member

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    Actually Kevin I'm just using the cat litter with chopped pine bark.I've been chopping it myself for a few years but this is the 1st time I've sieved it.I was amazed at how much undersize stuff was there,about a third so up until now I've probably been doing more harm than good.I'm only putting it in for something for any microbes to live on,the litter will be the main growing medium.It looks good enough not to require a 3rd element(I hope),doesn't appear too wet,can be used straight from the bag(very little dust)and once wetted supports the plant better than compost and is quite heavy.....but we'll see,it's my 1st go at soil-less so may need modifying....I hope it's not holding too much water as Emery discovered with his.
    Yes Emery it is the Tesco cat litter.I've made 3trips to Tesco,each time purchasing 10bags and was asked by the cashier''how many cats do you have?''...when I said I don't have any she certainly looked puzzled ha ha.
    So you've also been very busy re-potting,seems everyone has.A very varied selection of species you've got there Emery.....must have a lot of room on your 'estate' he he.A. campestre 'Red Noses'sounds intriguing..is it a comic relief thing? :) just jokin' Actually some of them would probably do better in my alkaline soil than the JMs...they are very slow growing but I just don't have room for a 'proper' tree.Oh yes I've lost a 'Taylor' too,on it's own roots which also didn't help.It's really in a sheltered place where I can see it daily and mollycoddle it.
    Brrr Roebuk you've just sent a shiver thru my body...haven't missed not getting the white stuff one bit.Apparently it's probably been the sunniest winter on record.You'd think with frosts quite regular the plants would stop their progression but they still seem to be marching on.By the way I did get a tiny 'Hinotori Nishiki' as you suggested(ugly grafting though)will be a nice companion to 'Taylor'(or substitute if..!!)
    Hi John,like yourself I usually inspect the pots every 2years but because of last years disasterous repotting have had to do it all again.It's surprising how quick they can fill a pot,even big ones.My largish 'Shin Deshojo' had a brilliant year a while back,grew a lot of girth and produced a lovely creamy pink after the bright red initial flush.When it came to inspecting the container I had to dig deep under the pot and chop away quite substantial roots that had grown into the soil...if only they'd perform that well when actually planted in my soil :(
    I must say I used to use exactly the same mix as you(no.3&bark)but it still caught me out occasionally....you know,the plant starts shrivelling leaves and you can't decide if it's lacking water or not...so you give it some and make it worse....too many times I've done that. Last year I used grit instead of bark and just wasn't displacing enough water from the pots I guess as there was less volume of grit than if I used bark.We've all used grit/bark etc. to reduce the amount of water in the pots but must be aware that the compost will be just as wet as without...it helps only because there's less of it and hopefully the plant will consume the water before it becomes an issue.I'm also pretty aggressive with root pruning,the worst bit is trying to bare-root the plant.It looks like the gritty mixes will make this task a lot easier.
    Geesh I better shut up now he he
     
  10. maplesandpaws

    maplesandpaws Active Member

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    Kevin, I'm guessing you too had those two 'teaser' weekends earlier in February? Such a cruel trick! I was able to get a few conifers re-potted and one new maple potted, but since then, it's been far too cold to do anything. This week will be colder for the most part (got 4" of snow here too over the weekend), but the forecast is showing a warm-up for the weekend and next week; I really hope it sticks around finally!

    I need to peek under the deck again, but last I look, some buds were swelling, though not by much. The trees in the ground are in roughly the same state, but if we do end up warming up into the 50s like they're calling for, things will proceed very quickly...
     
  11. Jaybee63

    Jaybee63 Well-Known Member Maple Society

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    Houzi, you will need to keep us all updated on how the new mix works.
    I don't use fine ground pine bark, the chip size is very coarse. Upto 40mm in size with no fines, it's sold as pine bark nuggets and it's worked for me, ke ps the compost open and very free draining.
    I've had good results since using, and hence have repotted all my potted maples this year, well nearly complete.
    They are nearly all in square terracotta unglazed shallow pots, I believe this helps the compost breath.
    I like square pots, the roots don't seem to wrap around as they do in circular pots and it's easy to trim the football with a pruning saw, straight cut on each of the 4 sides and then take off the bottom.
    We did buy a few glazed pots last year so am going to compare how they do.
    I've added a large Criisspa about 6-0 and Toyama Nishiki, 5-0 so far this year, can't wait for leaf out.

    John
     
  12. Schattenfreude

    Schattenfreude Active Member

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    Andrea,
    Yes, we also had two teasers of toasty warmth early on in February and I found tulips and daffodils pushing up an inch or two afterwards! I was unable to do any repotting at that time since all of my pots are buried and frozen solid. We also had some snow over the weekend, but only 3 inches at most. Like you, I'm hoping that the warmer temps this weekend are here to stay.... but I won't be making any bets that they do!! Actually, I'm anticipate those 8 inches of wet, heavy snow we seem to get every March! Just hoping that the week of my spring break mid-March is warm and I'm able to get out and do some yardwork!

    Thankfully, all of my trees seem to be still asleep. I'm just trying to keep the squirrels and birds fed so that they will stay away from my maple buds when they DO start to swell.

    Can't wait to see everyone's pics this spring!

    Kevin in KC
     
  13. ROEBUK

    ROEBUK Contributor Maple Society

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    John.. Interesting to know you have aquired a Toyama nishiki keep us informed on how it shapes up colour wise throughout the year.Bought one around 5 years ago and this year is the 3rd time i have decieded to move it yet again to see if i can get better colouring in the leaves

    Planted out originally where it had just morning sun and relative shade in the afternoon this was fine but the colouring was very sparse,you had to look very carefully to see the variagation on the leaves ie: red white green and from a distance just looked like a standard green dissectum.

    The second planting i did the reverse actions no morning sun but good afternoon light and again i had basically the same showing in the leaves.The good thing i have found though is it's a prolific grower and this one has certainly put on some amazing growth in the few short years i have had it in the ground,plus it always has lovely fall colours.Post a few pics during the year will be interested to see how yours performs.

    This year i have lifted and placed in a 40 ltr container and situated where it will not receive any sun until the last dying rays in the evening. Hopefully i might get to see better colouring in the leaves this year, if so it will be planted out there for next season.When i repot i use a sandy peat topsoil mixed with JI no 3 and pine bark chippings,have a small electric chipper which i put my bark through, this gives a good small particle, i always go for plastic containers mainly due to the size of JM that i have in containers from 10ltr up to 120ltr i can usually move anything up to 60ltr by myself, anything above i have to have help because of the weight constrictions

    I have one Inaba shidare in a ceramic 30 ltr pot and this is a nightmare to move!!! saying that it's quite happy and this will remain there in it's pot for another 3/4 years before i think about re-potting, the only sad thing is i will have to break the pot to get it out, planted it in one of those onion shaped pots and once they are in they will not come out because the branches really weep down the sides of the pot and i would probably end up breaking some branches trying to remove it, not worth the stress of tree damage.

    Mark
     
  14. Jaybee63

    Jaybee63 Well-Known Member Maple Society

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    Hi Mark,
    I have a 1 year graft of Toyama Nishiki I bought last winter and this received some sun, but also dappled shade being on a south facing patio, but shaded by other maplese and a taller tree.
    It had no leaf burn and coloured up well with plenty of varigation.
    I am going to plant this in the ground under the shade of a very large evergreen Magnolia grandiflora. I have a large Orange dream under this tree which thrives with no leaf burn, so hopefully ideal for the Toyama.
    I use a sack truck to move pots if need be, but like the terracotta as it lets the compost breath and stays fresh.
    We did source a few ceramic oriental glazed pots last year which have been planted with Japanese maples, but I'm expecting to have to be much more careful with the watering.
    I actually prefer the large size pine bark chunks, compost drains well with it and stays open.
    Most of the square terracotta pots I use are quite shallow compared to normal designs.

    John
     
  15. Houzi

    Houzi Active Member

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    John,your mix seems to be doing well for you so no hurry to change.My mistake was chopping the bark in a similar way to Roebuk but not sieving it,there was a lot of extra fine stuff in there I've just found out.Along with wet winters and especially springs,the many very young plants really suffered or died,and the larger ones struggled.In future I can access a 'mini bark' similar to yours,(quoted at up to 20mm though it's a bit rougher than that) which will save a lot of work.It's not pine bark though but is already sieved.
    Emery,I'm surprised you're having issues with your cat litter.As you know the theory is that water runs off the bigger particals giving us the air pockets we so desire.I would of thought holding more water was a bonus as long as the water is only within the cat litter,not sitting outside.I wonder if your litter has many holes/peaks and troughs allowing water to adhere to the outside of each partical? Mine resembles a fine gravel when wet,you wouldn't think it was porous.It looks shiny when wet but I can only see water between the granules in the bottom 3/8" of the pot.
    Incidentally,by weighing it both dry and saturated but drained,it appears to hold almost exactly half it's volume in water(0.5l water/l litter)which seems quite a vast reservoir of water.I wonder how much the average compost retains.
    Well time will tell...it may be a disaster but I'll keep you posted.
    Oh yes Roebuk,am I correct in assuming you think 'Toyama nishiki' will benefit from very little sun? I've just got a tiny but I believe related 'Hana Matoi' and was thinking of giving it a fair amount of sun before reading this.
    Cheers
     
  16. Jaybee63

    Jaybee63 Well-Known Member Maple Society

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    Houzi, as far as I'm aware the variegated need some protection.
    I've been after a Hana Matoi, from what I've read and been told it's the best variegated dissectum.

    I've not found anyone in the UK who has a 5ltr or larger specimen. I visited Curry Mallet nursery last year and purchased a few maples, all excellent, John had very small 1 year grafts of Hana Matoi.

    Roebuk, 120 ltr. That's one big container.

    John
     
    Last edited: Mar 3, 2015
  17. ROEBUK

    ROEBUK Contributor Maple Society

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    John.. Few pics of the TN from last year, the first two pics shows the tree from 2nd to the 4th week of May the leaves have all come out nicely and there is some good showing of variation on the leaves has you can see quite clearly.

    The last picture is at the end of August, now you can see that there has been quite a loss now in the colouring on the leaves, plus there is a more greenish hue to the overall appearence of the tree.

    Note the sunshine in picture three this was taken at 13.30 and the sun will take another 2 hour+to move fully around the back of the workshop,so it will then have it's shade period, also note i have placed a large 'Heartbeat' at the side to give it some more protection.What i have found though it does not suffer from any type of leaf drying/scorching what so ever,i think it's a lovely tree but i would be that little bit more happier with a longer period of colouration, super golden/orange fall colours.

    So hopefully by placing it by the back of the house where it's very shady i am looking to see the colour variation on the leaves hold for a longer period.

    Like your self i am also looking for a 'Hana matoi' but with no success.

    Yes a 120 ltr is a fun container to move and fill !!! but i sleep well at nights knowing nobody can steal it :) or any of the other ones going down wards for that matter.
     

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  18. Jaybee63

    Jaybee63 Well-Known Member Maple Society

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    Roebuk,

    My Toyama graft sat in the dappled shade of a large leaved Cercis, so I guess it's fair to say it had dappled shade all day, never any leaf burn, but plenty of vvarigation right through the season, hence the purchase of a large specimen.

    You have a knack with a camera and your maples are well documented through the seasons, it's a habit I need to pick up. I find this forum great when researching cultivars, so many pictures at different times of the year, long before I posted on here I used to visit to view pics.

    Houzi,
    I use the brand Cambark and it's fairly large pine bark nuggets and I would say no fines.

    I need a bigger garden!

    John
     
  19. emery

    emery Generous Contributor Maple Society 10 Years

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    Houzi, I think the cat litter I was using was not as good as the Tesco brand. I can't remember what the mineral is, (and not home to look at a bag), but it was certainly not the same stuff. You're right, it's not at all regular in aspect.

    One thing I'd like to mention that I find absolutely essential for health of maples in pots: mycorrhizae. This is commercialized by Rootgrow in the UK but there are now a number of other brands. Our various gritty mixes are basically bereft of any mycorrhizal support. Since I have been regularly adding Rootgrow or equivalent I've seen an increase in root volume of approximately 3:1. I have done comparisons, the effect is very marked.

    Gorgeous pic of Toyoma nishiki, Roebuk!

    John assuming you mean Mallet Court Nursery, it is one of the very best.

    -E
     
  20. Jaybee63

    Jaybee63 Well-Known Member Maple Society

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    Emery, yes Mallet Court, James the owner showed me around and spent time with me, very knowledgeable. It's not local to me, but was well worth the trip.

    Thanks for the tip on mycorrhizal, I use it when ground planting but haven't used with pots.
    With the bark element in the potting mix I tend to see the fungi when repottimg.

    John
     
    Last edited: Mar 12, 2015
  21. Jaybee63

    Jaybee63 Well-Known Member Maple Society

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    First one out, koto hime is in full leaf, looks like Wilsons pink dwarf will be next closely followed by Katsura.
     
  22. ROEBUK

    ROEBUK Contributor Maple Society

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    John ... Good to hear that everything is starting to bud out, just thought i would post a pic of a 'Little princess' i picked up today at my local garden centre,only went to buy a bag of rose and tree compost which cost £5.99 and happened to see this tucked away in the 'bargain bucket' area where they put everything they want to get rid of.

    Lovely young tree well shaped full of buds and cheaper than the compost only£4.00 and i don't actually have one of these even better!!!! can't pass on something this cheap.

    All of mine are coming on nicely at the moment new buds every where you look,bit of a worrying weather forecast for next week though!! arctic conditions coming down from Siberia apparently, fingers crossed this just passes us by? ATB Mark
     

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  23. Jaybee63

    Jaybee63 Well-Known Member Maple Society

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    £4.00, absolute bargain!

    I have a very old little princess in a pot, it's one of my favourites, very small leaves and develops as a nice "bush" I think bush best describes it's growth habit.

    It's full of character if left to develop on it's own, one of the few that doesn't need a helping hand to develop a good shape.

    I visited Bartelemys maples today, mentioned Koto Hime was now in full leaf and I was given a large end of roll of the fleece they use and told to cover it up, I've been warned.
    I am now the proud owner if a Hana Matoi, finally after much searching went back to Mallet Court and ordered a small plant I saw there last time I visited, had hoped to find something larger, but wasn't to be.

    Don't tell the wife about the "one more maple" picked up another 4 at Barthelemys, I'm sure to be in trouble, maybe she won't notice.

    John
     
  24. ROEBUK

    ROEBUK Contributor Maple Society

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    Will have the same problem myself next month when i go to 'Packhorse' and 'Hippopottering' asked Hilton last year if he would try and source me some more established varieties of certain cultivars.

    Need a new Kinran to replace the only one i had from last year, which i unfortuneatly lost , just hope neither of them don't have lots of new varieties.

    Must admit it's getting to the point where i know that i have enough now, all of which blend well together and create the look in which i am trying to acheive in my garden.
     
  25. Schattenfreude

    Schattenfreude Active Member

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    A mere 4 quid for that gorgeous little tree??? Man, am I green with envy!
     

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