Colourful Trees and Shrubs
On May 09 2019, five Northumberland Master Gardeners traveled to Thornhill Ontario
to visit the garden of Marion Jarvie and to listen to her garden talk -Best Colourful Trees
and Shrubs – Perfect Plants for Igniting Your Garden.
Marion describes herself as a passionate plantswoman who has been gardening for more
than 40 years. She lectures extensively all over North America and in the UK.
Marion believes trees and shrubs are the “bones” of the garden and are its most
significant part. Flowers come and go but the permanent structure, shape, texture and
colour of small trees and shrubs last for 365 days of the year.
To become a part of Marion’s garden a plant must have at least 2 seasons of interest.
There are no forsythia, lilacs or mock oranges in her garden!
Japanese Maples are the star of Marion’s garden and she has many, many different
varieties in all colours. She noted Japanese Maples are not as tender as feared and it is
worth trying them. They can be pruned anytime to keep them the shape you want.
Rhododendrons are plentiful in her garden. Look for Yak hybrids. They flower in May
and are typically very tough plants, hardy for our gardens.
Magnolis are another favourite plant; they come in both tree form and shrub form.
Magnolia – Leonard Messell with its deep pink star like flowers has been voted one of the
best magnolias. It is noted for its frost resistance. Another hardier magnolia is Magnolia
And then there are dogwoods. Cornus kousa “Wolf Eyes’ with attractive foliage, Cornus
florida, and Cornus venus bred for very large flowers.
Some less common shrubs and trees mentioned were Pieris japonica, Gingko biloba
‘Beijing Gold’ (rabbits don’t like it), Ulmus parviflora ‘Geisha’ – a dwarf elm and Acer
campestre ‘Carnival’ – a maple with early near white leaves .
In addition to a large selection of woodies Marion also includes a host of dwarf conifers
which also come in many shapes and colours. A stand out was Picea pungens ‘Niemetz’
with its creamy white spring new growth.