Plant of the Month: February

Specimen Plants

Our plants of the month are specimen plants. These showstopping shrubs or trees provide a focal point. If your garden lacks the wow-factor, a specimen can offer standout appeal.

If you don’t have a lot of space, the Italian cypress or Cupressus is a Mediterranean plant that grows upwards in a narrow column. The statuesque specimen adds height and structure to your garden. Another specimen if you’re limited on space is a topiary, which lower growing plants can grow beneath.

A bay tree will grow large if left unchecked, but if you remove the lower branches, smaller plants can grow around it, especially woodland plants if the bay tree casts shade. Bay trees are hardy and provide dense foliage which is useful to nesting birds. You can also use bay leaves to add flavour to your cooking.

You could plant a specimen in glorious isolation in the centre of your lawn or a gravelled area for a stunning focal point. If it isn’t an evergreen, consider how it will look throughout the year. Some specimens take on an architectural quality when their branches are bare, such as the magnolia, which brings year-round interest, including when on bud.

Get ahead of the gardening season by planting a new specimen. When planting, ensure the soil isn’t frozen or waterlogged. Soak it first in its plastic pot in a bucket of water for about an hour. Dig a planting hole that’s bigger and deeper than the root ball of the plant. Add a generous layer of compost to the base of the hole. You can also mix in horticultural grit to help with drainage.

Once your specimen is planted, firm it in to get rid of air pockets around the roots, which can lead to rot and the plant moving around in the wind. Apply a layer of mulch to help with water retention. Remember to water it during dry spells until established.

Hardy plants from Garsons are guaranteed, so keep your receipt. There’s 20% off specimens at Garsons in February. We have a fantastic selection, so treat your garden to a late winter boost that can reward you for years to come.

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