Thursday 12 April 2012

Judging Japanese Cherries

The exquisitely beautiful Prunus 'Gotenza' - a hybrid involving P. incisa, forming a smallish tree covered in flowers.

Chris Lane may be best known for his knowledge of and collection of Hamamelis, but at his nursery in Kent he has gathered together collections of a wide range of woody genera, notably Wisteria, Syringa and Prunus. With great generosity he has made these available for assessment by the Royal Horticultural Society as an off-site trial for which resources would not otherwise be available. At present, with the cherries working through their flowering season, attention is focused on them and a panel of members of the RHS Woody Plant Committee is making weekly visits to assess them, principally for recommendation for the Award of Garden Merit. I joined the panel today, spending most of the day walkling up and down the rows of trees, considering each cultivar in turn. With about 230 distinct cultivars in the trial this takes a long time.The results and comments are collated over the three years of inspection, and awards will be decided at a meeting at the end of the trial period (this year) when all opinions are correlated and considered. So it is premature to make any announcements, but here are a few that I particularly liked.

Prunus campanulata, flowering freely despite its reputation for tenderness.

The panel, led by Chris Sanders (centre), discusses Prunus campanulata.

The very rare P. incisa 'Semiplena' - a delightful small tree.


Not only flowers: the bark of P. rufa Beer 412.

Part of Chris Lane's cherry collection.


  1. If Prunus 'Gotenza' is really covered in flowers it must be an amazing site. The colour is so delicate.

  2. John a friend of mine who is a spends his free time exploring China for new plants told me about your blog as he reads here aswell. I really like the Rufa beer as it's a real bonus to have a tree with interesting bark aswell as pretty flowers in the garden and makes for a great topic of conversation on a garden walk around with visitors.

  3. @Brian: yes, it is indeed covered and a gorgeous sight - an exceptional plant. I think it will become extremely popular.


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