by Karen Mariconda
It’s Christmas time yet again and we have to decide what presents to buy for our loved ones… Not an easy decision particularly for those who say don’t get me anything at all!
An unusual and different present would be a tree or shrub that, if nurtured, would stay with the recipient forever.
There are many plant gifts that are low maintenance and even suitable for the most inexperienced gardeners (so you would not be giving them something that had to be constantly looked after):
Low Maintenance Plant Gift Ideas and Suggestions
Olive Trees – Olea Europea
An olive branch being a sign of peace this tree is one of our favourite gift plants and always welcome in any garden. It is also easy to maintain particularly in pots. The silvery foliage is a joy to look at on the coldest winter days and the established trees have proved very frost hardy through the coldest of winters here in the South-East. A good sized 9 year old olive tree available from around £35 each.
The Trachycarpus Fortunei Palm is the hardiest palm in the world and one of the slowest growing. Therefore it is as suitable for pots as it is to plant in the ground. A joyous plant, always looking attractive whatever the weather, and as a feature architectural plant it can be underplanted with colourful bedding or perennials. Prices start from around £25 each for Trachycarpus Fortunei palm around 1m height.
This unusual and rare conifer originates from the 200 million year old Araucariaceae family – similar to a Monkey Puzzle but with much softer and non-prickly branches. Unique gift for any special occasion – works well in pots or planted in the ground. This also has proved very hardy in our coldest winter in 100 years (2010-2011). Prices start from around £95 – but as they are slow growing large tree around 2-2.5m height £250 each.
Prunus Serrulata Multi-stem – Ornamental Mahogany Bark Cherry
Whilst any of the ornamental cherry trees are wonderful trees to own because of their attractive structures, flowers and fairly slow growth rate, the Prunus Serrulata has a mahogany coloured bark which looks great particularly during the months it loses is leaves (between Nov-Feb). The foliage also changes colour in late autumn and white flowers appear in early Spring. Suitable as well for either pots or planting in the ground excellent for any size garden.
Azalea Japonica, Viburnums, Camellia Japonica and Magnolias
The flowering shrubs have been grouped together because they all make wonderful presents because of their incredible colour or fragrant flowers appearing either early Spring to late Summer.
Many sizes, prices and shapes available. The evergreen varieties (ie still have their leaves in winter) include Camellia Japonica, Azalea Japonica, Magnolia Grandiflora and Viburnum Tinus Trevor Eve. Of particular interest is Viburnum Tinus Trevor Eve which has pink buds at Christmas time changing to white flowers in New Year to early Spring. Prices start from £35 for an established bushy shrub around 15l pot size dependent on variety.
Daphne Odora Aureomarginata
This evergreen small compact rounded shrub is of particular interest in December because the fragrant flowers start to appear – first as pink buds and later in fragrant flowers. Grows well in pots and as it originates from China is hardy in harsh weathers.
Ilex Crenata Japanese Cloud Trees
If money is not an issue and for a very special occasion the Ilex Crenata Japanese Cloud Tree is the most spectacular tree. Easy to maintain and to keep in a planter or raised bed. These ornamental shaped trees are rare, unusual and very old. Prices from around £645.00 each for 1m height, 1.3-1.4m height for around £1250 and 2m height around £3400 dependent on shape and structure. I know it’s expensive but if you see them you will know they are worth it!!
(Prices above include VAT and subject to availability).
Just a few ideas out of hundreds of plant varieties available but if you really can’t make a decision then plant gift vouchers also available from our plant centre….
Happy Christmas and a prosperous New Year to all our Customers!