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Margaret's Blog

 

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 MG_2774


Laburnum is often referred to as the Golden Rain tree, or sometimes people call it a weeping willow (which of course it's not, but its racemes of golden flowers give that illusion).
Whatever its name, it is a most wonderful tree that can grow in the most exposed garden.
If you can remember it in flower last year, you'll recall it was absolutely magnificent, one of the best years ever. There is a specimen one near Dripsey bridge, which was breathtaking last year.
Laburnum is very easy to grow but needs lots of feeding. It loves well drained soil and a sunny position.
Where to grow this lovely tree? Laburnum are great at an entrance, or better still, make an arched entrance of laburnum. A bower or walkway of Laburnum would be stunning in any garden.

This beautiful tree is one of the most feared of the poison plants (and produces the most searches of all of them) but in reality, it does not deserve its harmful reputation.

Many people who remove it from the garden, leave other more dangerous plants in place.
All parts of the tree are poisonous: roots, bark, wood, leaves, flower-buds, petals, and seedpods. The harmful part of the plant is the seedpods which are mistaken by children for peapods, usually after they have been shown how to eat fresh raw peas straight from the plant in the vegetable garden.
I have never heard of any dangerous incidents with Laburnum, but we must advise people that it is poisonous (as are loads of other common plants!). Laburnum vossii is the most typical variety offered for sale and this doesn't set as many seeds. ‘Vossii’ is by far the best variety of laburnum, producing a lavish display of extremely long clusters of yellow flowers. The poisonous seeds are not as abundant as on other varieties, and if removed it can ensure good flowering the following year. It can be easily trained on an overhead structure and looks good planted with Allium hollandicum ‘Purple Sensation’ and Cotinus coggygria ‘Royal Purple.

People are often unnecessarily put off the Laburnum because of the fear of the poisonous seeds (never ever had any animal or any of our children eat the seeds, they would need to be on stilts or a trampoline to collect them!) which is a shame as this tree came through the recent hard winters unscathed, copes well with wind, and is great for bees.

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