Garden Bloggers' Blooms Day - Photinia 'Red Robin'

Photinia 'Red Robin' flower

I planted Photinia 'Red Robin' when I created VP Gardens nearly 20 years ago. I chose it for its shiny evergreen foliage and new-growth red leaves to brighten one of the darker corners away from the house. Sadly I've allowed it to grow unchecked until recently and now it is far too dominant for its position.

The same applies to most of the border in which it resides and I've started on a slow revamp. Slow because the soil needs feeding (a combination of my neglect and a neighbour's towering conifer hedge sucking everything dry); I want to ensure I've removed every scrap of bramble and ivy that's hopped over the fence from the public land next door; and that area is currently a major flight path for nesting birds so I'll leave them in peace whilst they nurture their broods.

I was going to remove the Photinia completely until I saw how huge its trunk and roots are. It is really is more like a small garden tree rather than a shrub and is currently beyond the tools I have in my possession for safe removal.

So last Autumn I trimmed it back to give me some time to think about what to do. Not only has it rewarded me with some beautiful fresh growth, it's flowered for the first time. Funny how the threat of removal gets a plant to perform isn't it?

Crown lifted Photinia as seen at Malvern Spring Festival last week

I'm still thinking about what to do... renovation pruning is one option, which I didn't know about until I observed the regrowth and googled it; another possibility is to grow it as a standard, which I've seen in a garden nearby on the estate.

An extension of that idea is the possibility of crown lifting to reveal the branch structure below, similar to what I saw on my return to Malvern last week (see the photo above). This is dependent on having a pleasing structure in place, or from what might develop after renovation pruning. I've had a peep and the signs are promising, but not perfect. I'm drawn to this idea because it would be good to have something a little more architectural in the garden. I also like the additional possibilities for growing shade plants underneath in what I'm now mentally calling 'the woodland border'.

Whatever happens, I can enjoy the flowers for now, safe in the knowledge there is plenty of time to decide and experiment.

Garden Bloggers' Blooms Day is hosted by Carol at May Dreams Gardens. Happy May Carol!


  1. I love that photinia. It is glorious! Sadly, I cannot grow that one but Bloom Day allows me to enjoy yours.

  2. Looks lovely in flower. xx

  3. Mesmerizing beauty ...Have a great week ahead.

  4. It's true what they say, "To each his own." I hate photinia! Hate it totally. Did before I moved to my current home where there was one so overgrown it was a tree! Way bigger trunk than yours. It was huge, and took at least 8' from the yard (it was planted by a fence). I'm sure the neighbors were happy to see it gone too!
    Photinia and junipers... nope.
    I do love your free form planting area it's monopolizing!

    1. I understand Lisa. There are plenty of examples locally to me which look awful. Another example of a plant needing the right place?

  5. Thanks Layanee, Flighty and Arun xxx


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