Today I went to have my last look at the trees at Deepdale Trees in Potton, Bedfordshire before they are delivered on site this Friday (20th). As this was my fourth visit there since February, my last one being in May when a few 'swapsies' went on, I was just expecting to double confirm everything was looking great etc., etc.
Ah, if only everything in life was that simple! The Acer davidii for the Maple Glade looked great (I did some swapping last time) as did my Crataegus and the Tilia x euchlora (although I had been having doubts beforehand): the Betula 'Swiss Glory' which forms part of the landing on the building, was debated and compared with every other of it's namesake in the row. My original choice fared a possible de-selection well and remained. It's cousin, Betula nigra, has not done so well. Two were perfect but I need three the same size and shape. This seemed an easy task in February looking at the silhouette of the trees before they went into leaf after winter. The problem is that these trees are a bit temperamental, and not all of them decided to show any foliage. Mark Godden from Deepdale raced back to the office for an extra long measuring stick and we duly walked to and fro' amongst a couple of rows of B.n, trying to find the third match. Impossible! Too short, too wide, not enough peeling bark.....
These three trees are pretty key to the year round plant interest in the garden and feature in their own picture window at the back of the garden building. I had my heart set on the seductive peeling bark of the Black River Birch, but it was not to be as I can't have three trees that don't match. I looked at Mark: 'Prunus serrula?' I said, looking hopeful and clutching at straws as we looked and discounted a few other alternatives. I breathed deeply and calmly as we approached the Prunus row. Were their canopies going to be too wide, was the bark going to be second best to my peeling birch? Three gorgeous Prunus s. smiled languishingly at me as I approached them. Sold!
Today is also the first day on site at Hampton Court show ground. Scotscape, the landscaping contractors, have been there getting things ready and tomorrow I'm up at the crack of dawn to see the site marked out.