Valentine’s Day

For this was on Seynt Valentynes day, 

Whan every foul cometh ther to chese his make,

Of every kinde, that men thynke may;

And that so huge a noyse gan they make,

That erthe and see, and tree, and every lake

So ful was, that unnethe was ther space

For me to stonde, so ful was al the place.

Prunus Thundercloud flowers in Invercargill, last spring.

The words above are the first known reference to Valentine’s Day.  They come from the poem ‘Parlement of Foules’, written around 1381 by Geoffrey Chaucer.  The 699 line poem depicts the coming together of birds to choose their mate.  There is no mention of gift cards, chocolates or booking an expensive restaurant.

It’s interesting to note the scene for the first mention of Valentine’s Day is set amongst the trees and plants.  For nothing else says ‘I love you’ and refreshes the heart as much as the sweet, aromatic fragrance of flowers.  Not a bouquet mind, but a plant that can grow as love does.  Then when the flowers bloom every year, they serve as a reminder of affection and desire. 

They also make for a hastily arranged Valentine’s Day gift when carefully snipped and arranged in an attractive vase.  So there’s that too.

Photo: Cotinus coggygria foliage in Invercargill, this Summer.

For a special Valentine’s gift this year, we heartily recommend these red-purple foliage trees:

ACER palmatum “Bloodgood” – Red Japanese Maple

The slender pointed palmate leaf structure creates a delicate looking aesthetic that is actually anything but. This smaller Japanese Maple’s leaves reach a depth of purple few trees can achieve before moving onto a bright and vibrant red in Autumn. A smaller tree welcome in any garden, it will grow to 4m and do a good job of resisting the cold.

Suitable for: Courtyards, group or specimen plantings in sheltered areas.

Features: Fine deep red–purple foliage in summer.

ACER palmatum dissectum ‘Tamukeyama’ – Red Weeping Maple

A wonderful weeping maple, the cascading, lacy leaves make for a soft aesthetic, introducing some gentleness to the landscape. The colour will last from spring to Autumn, when the purple-red is ignited to a fiery, dramatic red. We highly recommend placing this small, deciduous tree next to a pond. It simply works. Eventually, this maple will reach 1.5 x 1.5 m.

Suitable for: Feature planting.

Features: Fine purple foliage and cascading form.

COTINUS coggygria “Grace” – Smoke Bush

A spectacular hybrid with purple foliage. Feathery flower clusters are borne in summer – giving the name smoke bush. Vivid scarlet-red autumn leaves. A strong, upright-grower with a rounded head. Excellent street treeHardy, deciduous, grows to 3 x 2m.

Suitable for: Feature planting, street planting.

Features: Feathery flower puffs in summer, attractive purple foliage, red autumn colour.

Prunus cerasifera ‘Thundercloud’ – Purple Flowering Plum.

The deep purple foliage of spring is darker than nearly everything else. It adds an element of drama to a landscape. And like all good dramas it changes, with some levity ushered in with the arrival of a pale pink blossom in late spring. This small deciduous tree is well suited to group plantings and avenue locations, eventually growing to 4 x 3 m. 

Suitable for: Avenues, specimen and group planting.

Features: Deep purple foliage, one of the first trees to blossom early spring.

We deliver in both South and North Island, give us a call to check prices or come to see us. We are always happy to take you on a nursery tour and help you to choose the most beautiful tree. Gift vouchers also available..