Spring bursts into blossom

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BLOSSOMS, blossoms everywhere as we go into the real start of spring in Canberra – October.

The blossoms contrast with every shade of green of the emerging new leaves of deciduous trees.

We can enjoy a succession of ornamental, deciduous blossom trees from mid-winter to November/early December, plus the blossoms of fruiting plants – the more blossoms, the more fruit.

WEEPING trees have one of the most spectacular blossoms. Ideally, plant as a specimen tree and give it plenty of room to be admired. Weeping trees are grafted and I always recommend a tall graft to two metres to allow the branches to weep naturally from on high.

Prunus “Cheal’s” cherry is one of the most beautiful weeping trees with its emerging bronze-green leaves. Its deep pink double flowers are freely produced giving a spectacular show.

Cheal's weeping cherry at Tulip Top Garden, open to October 13.
Cheal’s weeping cherry at Tulip Top Garden, open to October 13.
Rivalling this is Prunus Subhirtella “White” with its single white flowers flowing down in a compact form or, equally, P.Subhirtella “Rosea” with its small, pale lavender-pink flowers in bud, fading to soft pink on opening.

FOR some reason, Syringa or Lilacs, once a feature of most gardens, seem to have diminished in popularity, despite its range of flower colours being awesome and combined with a heady fragrance.

Lilacs ask only for a little patience. They take two to three years to become established and then repay you generously over a three-to four-week period with an abundance of blooms.

The famous Goulburn Lilac Festival takes place in early November and is well worth a visit.

THE all-time favourite crabapple, Malus ionensis plena, is truly spectacular in full bloom at this time with its double pink flowers.

Spectacular crabapple blossom at East Basin Park.
Spectacular crabapple blossom at East Basin Park.
Looking at the floral displays in the older suburbs, I feel sorry for the folk of Belconnen with just eucalypts. In the older suburbs they have been interplanted with blossom trees to enhance our concept of a “Treed City”. How can you not find a place for at least one blossom tree? Check them out at local garden centres as they come into flower.

WANT your garden in top shape throughout the year? Help is at hand with Jennifer Stackhouse’s new book, called simply “Garden” with the sub-title “Everything you need to know to keep your garden thriving and beautiful throughout the year” (ABC Books, rrp $35).

Stackhouse is a qualified horticulturist and former editor of the ABC’s “Gardening Australia” magazine.

There is a myriad of garden books available and then there is this one, which I highly recommend for its practicality.

The perfect companion book is “The Canberra Gardener”, published by the Horticultural Society of Canberra. This is the bible of gardening specifically for our climate. Available from bookshops and major newsagents.


  • When planting a hedge, leave space either side for clipping.
  • Prune Camellia sasanquas now. Reduce scraggly plants by one third.
  • Roses need Neutrog’s Seamungus plant food, a combination of seaweed and chook poo to help bud development.
  • Prune off last year’s dead growth on fuchsias.
  • Plant bedding begonias for a summer-long display.
  • For a continuous display of gladioli, plant a few each week over several weeks. They take 90-100 days from planting to flowers.
  • Plant potatoes now, the largest selection I have seen is at the Heritage Nursery, Yarralumla.

Win a book

CEDRIC has a copy of Jennifer Stackhouse’s new book “Garden, everything you need to know to keep your garden thriving and beautiful throughout the year” (valued at $35) to give away.

Simply list three words that represent a perfect garden on the back of an envelope (with your name, suburb and phone number) to “Garden Book Competition”, CityNews, GPO Box 2288, Civic 2601. Entries close on Friday, October 19 and the winner will be announced in Cedric’s column in the edition of October 24.

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Cedric Bryant
Trained horticulturist and garden designer with over 30 years experience in the industry.

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