Prunus serrula – the competition from Kew Gardens


Prunus serrula, a young specimen just inside the Victoria Gate of the Royal Botanic Gardens at Kew –

Prunus serrula is rather better known, I think, than the Himalayan Cherry, Prunus himalaica, with its darker glossy bark. It is a small but vigorous deciduous tree of which the main attraction is the glossy, copper-red bark. The leaves are narrow and willow-like and the small, white, single flowers are produced at the same time as the leaves towards the end of Spring. Introduced by Ernest Wilson from western China in 1908. A chance to compare and contrast with the darker hues of the Himalayan Cherry I saw yesterday at the RHS Gardens Wisley. Hmm, which IS my favourite?

I make no apologies for taking every chance to call into the Gardens at Kew. While some of the highlights are naturally going to be a distance from the main gates, a little single-mindedness and even an hour can be well used. Today I was working in a private garden in Kew, assessing the continuing work needed to bring the lawn back to full health (after building work, mostly). Some late planting of tulips into containers, too and a general tidy up after the storms around Christmas. Afterwards, an opportunity to call in to Kew Gardens for an hour before my next job – clear blue skies and slanting sunshine doing any last persuading that may have been needed. Just enough time to take in the Woodland (beneath the Temple), the formidable Alpine Beds and Alpine House, the grass borders and out again.

A surgical strike and while only a tiny fraction of the gardens, some real highlights (snowdrops, alpine Irises, coloured dogwood stems, Indian Currant, swathes of golden grasses, scented Viburnum and Chimonanthus praecox) plus a chance meeting with my friend Kat, doing a wonderful job in the Woodland Gardens.


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