prunus-serrulaThis is the Tibetan Hill Cherry, widely valued as a fine ornamental tree.

Why is it valued so much?

It is a smallish tree, a vigorous grower, which has leaves narrower than many other cherries; they show fairly drab autumn colour. The habit is a little variable, and may be affected by pruning when the tree is young. The flowers also are mediocre, pale, small, and hardly profuse. So what is it about the tree that is so special?

The answer strikes you as you approach the tree from a short distance, at any time of year. It is the bark. The bark is extraordinary and outstanding. It has a metallic sheen, highly polished, burnished even: the colour is a rich lustrous chestnut brown, like Brazilian mahogany, most attractive. The outer layers peel in spiralling ringlets; these can be gently encouraged without tearing the bark itself, to reveal the layers underneath in their full glory.

The Tibetan hill cherry is not a difficult tree to grow. It must have reasonable drainage, in common with nearly all other garden trees. It can be grown in any ordinary garden soil, and tolerates most aspects provided it gets some sun. It is happiest in an open sunny position, in soil that is not acidic. It needs thorough watering during establishment.

Training techniques for this tree are often aimed at maximizing the impact of the bark. Traditionally grown as a standard tree, it is now becoming increasingly popular as a multi-stem. In either case, small wispy shoots from the main stems are removed as soon as practicable, and untidy twigs are cut out altogether to allow a frame of mature stems to develop.

Prunus serrula is frequently used by good garden designers to add year round interest to a design. The stems and branches have a tactile quality that is hard to match in nature.

If you would like to enquire further about buying one of these beauties, ring the nursery office on 01777 702422, or email