1. March Species
Our hedging species of the month is Photinia Red Robin. The Photinia Red robin hedge plant (Photinia x fraseri) is a marvellous alternative choice for an evergreen hedge because of its brilliant red glossy young leaves, which give a spectacular display in spring and summer before maturing to dark green.
It is not a particularly dense shrub, so it has some movement in the breeze, attractive for many sites but not recommended where a security hedge is required. It develops clusters of small white flowers in mid and late Spring, sometimes followed by red fruit, but it is the Spring foliage that sets this hedging shrub apart.
Its growth rate is average, growing approx 30cm each year. Photinia should be trimmed to a formal hedge shape in Spring and Summer or can be left informal, just being trimmed down in height and width when needed.
It prefers a sunny site but will tolerate partial shade and although frost hardy young plants should be protected in Winter. It will do well in any well drained soil. The Photinia shrub can be prone to leaf drop. If this happens, prune it back but dont cut into leafless wood and apply a slow release fertiliser in spring and water if necessary and you will be rewarded with vigorous bright new growth.
- Planting Conditions: Suitable for normal, clay or chalk soils, full sun to semi shade and inland or exposed sites
- Growth Rate: Average growth, expect 20-40cm per year
- Height: Easily maintained at 1-4m
2. Gardening Advice
Continue to plant deciduous hedging plants, shrubs, trees and climbers. Stakes and rabbit guards should be put in place at the time of planting trees, to prevent damage to the rootball or bark. This is the best month for planting roses in heavy soils or in cold areas. Avoid planting in areas where roses were previously grown, otherwise new introductions may suffer from replant disease. Towards the end of the month, you can plant evergreen shrubs and trees left unplanted since the autumn.
Many summer or late-summer flowering deciduous shrubs can be pruned between January and March. Examples include Buddleja davidii, Caryopteris clandonensis, Ceratostigma, Hydrangea paniculata, Leycesteria, Lavatera, Perovskia, hardy fuchsia, and deciduous Ceanothus species.
Delay pruning spring-flowering shrubs until after they have flowered, otherwise this year’s display will be lost. Do not prune slightly tender evergreen shrubs (such as Choisya, best left until April), but do tackle hardier examples (such as Prunus laurocerasus, the cherry laurel), if necessary.
Prune winter-flowering jasmine once the flowers have faded. Remove any dead or damaged shoots, tie in new shoots to the main framework, and then shorten all the laterals coming off the main framework to 5cm (2in), cutting to a bud. This will keep the plant neat, and improve flowering next year. It is a good idea to feed and mulch after pruning, as the plant will put on lots of growth in response to cutting back.
Summer-flowering jasmines may also be pruned (if necessary), providing that they are reasonably hardy in their situation. With these you should remove a couple of stems completely to ground level, and avoid cutting back laterals, as this would damage the current year’s flowering potential.
3. Garden Design
See how striking Photinia Red Robin can look in your garden!
5. Impact Plants Story Of The Month
The poster project spreading ‘happiness and kindness’ to NHS staff
Artist Andy Leek is best known for his posters spreading positive, motivational messages in cities around the world.
In his latest project, his notes directly address NHS staff workers.
Over 600 of the posters have appeared in staff rooms and breakout areas around the UK.
View the video here.