Over the course of this year, I will be including within TurfPro, a returning feature where I shall concentrate on a given plant, bulb, tree or shrub.
The aim of the articles will be to inform regarding some popular garden plants that during a particular month have caught my eye and offer a fanfare of colour, form or shape.
During May there were several plants that caught my eye, ranging from lilacs, flag iris, and aubrietia - however for me it was the sensational flowering shrub Photina 'Red Robin' that this year stood above many others, mainly as it seems to have blossomed beyond belief.
Photinia Red Robin is a popular evergreen shrub known for its vibrant red foliage. It is a hybrid plant derived from the crossbreeding of Photinia glabra and Photinia serrulata. 'Red Robin' is the most common cultivar of the Photinia genus and is widely cultivated for its ornamental value.
Consisting of around fifty species, Photinia have glossy evergreen foliage and brightly coloured new growth. One of the most popular and commonly used variety in gardens is Photinia × fraseri Red Robin, with its superb colour and texture all year round making it suited to being used as a feature tree or screening.
For front gardens, borders and patio pots, the smaller compact size of Photinia x fraseri Louise and Photinia serratifolia Crunchy make can them an ideal choice.
They are relatively easy to look after and tolerate most soil types, though some species grow better in acidic to neutral soil. They grow well in full sun to partial shade, but do prefer a sheltered position where young shoots will be protected from cold and drying winds.
Requiring only minimal pruning, they can be pruned more frequently to encourage the brightly coloured new growth and to keep hedge forms looking smart. Overgrown Photinia can cope with hard pruning in Spring to get them back in shape.
The name Photinia comes from the Greek word for shiny, in respect to their leaves. Their common name is Christmas Berry tree because of the small fruits that are sometimes present from autumn until Christmas.
Here are some key characteristics of Photinia Red Robin.
Foliage: The most distinctive feature of 'Red Robin' is its brilliant red new foliage. As the leaves mature, they gradually turn dark green, providing an attractive contrast. The plant maintains its red colour throughout the growing season, making it a standout in the garden.
Size: Red Robin can reach a height of 10 to 15 feet (3 to 4.5 meters) and has a spread of 8 to 12 feet (2.4 to 3.6 meters). It grows in an upright, dense, and rounded form, making it suitable as a specimen shrub or for hedges and screens.
Flowers: In spring, Red Robin produces small white flowers in clusters called corymbs. Although the individual flowers are not particularly showy, they attract pollinators like bees and butterflies to the garden.
Berries: After the flowers fade, Red Robin may produce small red berries. These berries are not typically eaten by humans and are mainly ornamental. However, they can be a food source for birds.
Sun and Soil Requirements: Red Robin thrives in full sun to partial shade. It prefers well-drained soil that is slightly acidic to slightly alkaline. It is important to provide adequate moisture, especially during dry periods, to ensure healthy growth.