As GardenSIte's plant specialist I always keenly anticipate the HTA National Plant Show. This is my chance to visit nurseries, find out what's trending in the horticultural world and source new stock, all from under one roof.
The acer family has always been renowned for providing some of the great classical trees found in British Arboretums. Robert Hall discusses his suggestions for the best acers to invest in for your garden.
Go to Westonbirt Arboretum in Gloucestershire this week and make straight for the Acer Glade. The effect is dramatic. Seeing such an impressive collection of autumn colouring acers will indelibly stamp a picture in your memory that will remain forever.
Shades and tints of copper, orange, bronze and scarlet reflect a coal fire glow when lit by the autumn sun. Each and every leaf responds to nature's call and in unison they draw a canopy of complementary colours over their supporting branches.
The acer family has always been renowned for providing some of the great classical shrubs of the horticultural world like the low growing Discectum Atropurpureum or the soft yellow Japonicum Aureum.
Both are excellent acers for the garden particularly with their first flush of spring colour, but cannot hold a light to Heptalobum Osakazuki for flaming autumn colours.
Osakazuki matures from a mid-green in spring through to a deeper olive green by summer before exploding to fiery scarlet before the fall. It is undoubtedly the most brilliant of all late colouring acers. Though fairly slow growing it will eventually form a large bush or small tree with a low, rounded head.
Plant Osakazuki in association with camellias, rhododendrons, azaleas and other woodland shrubs in moist well drained soil. Alternatively grow it in isolation as a specimen feature plant but ensure it receives some protection from the cold east wind. For it is the one element that will eventually blow the Osakazuki fire out.
If you want to purchase an acer for your garden, I suggest you contact your local Independent Garden Centre for stock availability.
You might not be familiar with the UK Men's Sheds Association but this is a fast growing organisation that, as David Coton discovered, encourages camaraderie and a sense of achievement among its members.
The Wildlife Aid Foundation recently purchased several animal ornaments from GardenSite and David Coton, one of our partners, thought that this charity carried out such terrific work that we made a charitable donation to assist with the cost.
With high winds increasingly affecting most parts of Britain, many people are likely to be contacting their insurance companies at some time regarding damage caused to sheds, greenhouses, fences and other garden property. Robert Hall explains how GardenSite.co.uk can help with an independent insurance quote and claim.
Here in Birmingham, the weather has been as changeable as ever, very warm just before Easter followed by a cold spell only last week. During May the threat of further frost will largely pass and, with spring well under way, Robert Hall is in no doubt that this is going to be a busy month in the garden.