The Albizia Julibrissin (also known as the Persian Silk tree) is one of the most admired plants in my garden. It is a perfect tree for a small garden, with an “umbrella” look, never growing to more than ten feet tall, with mimosa-like leaves which have the charming characteristic of closing up at night. The delicate pink flowers appear at the top of the tree, so it is best positioned where it can be viewed from above, which is why I have three examples on the lowest terrace of my Italian garden. Here in Japan I’ve been delighted to see the Albizia growing in its natural habitat, almost like a weed, at the sides of roads and in natural woodland. In the warm, wet, climate of southern Japan it grows into a full sized tree, 25 ft or more and tends to lose its characteristic umbrella shape. It made me think how lucky we are to garden in England, where our temperate climate allows us to grow a far wider range of plants than in most countries of the world. The hedgerows in Nagasaki are full of my favourite plants, such as Cannas and Tradescantia Purpurea which, together with the Alizia, all do well in Grange- but very few of the plants which thrive naturally in Grange would survive the hot and humid conditions of Nagasaki.
The photo is of an Albizia Julibrissin in the gardens of Huistenbosch, Nagasaki.