Trees for small gardens!

Last time I wrote about birches for medium to large gardens, now here are some trees for small gardens. The most popular choices are the smaller varieties of ornamental cherries, crab apples, sorbus and hawthorns. At flowering time they’re covered in pretty, colourful blossom and most produce fruit of some description. The most common varieties can be bought bare rooted and will cost less than the container grown specialist trees.

One of my favourites is a beautiful tree that would suit a border or grow as a lawn specimen is a Redbud known as Cercis Canadensis ‘Hearts of Gold’, it produces lavender flowers on bare stems in spring, followed by golden foliage.

Another is Euonymus europaeus ‘Red Cascade’ or commonly known as the Spindle Tree, it has arching branches and green leaves that turn a vivid red in autumn. In autumn the birds can enjoy the showy bright red fruits that open up to reveal orange seed cases. It has the R.H.S. Award of Garden Merit.

Some other options are small standards that have bushes grafted on the top of the stems. The stem won’t grow any taller, but will mature thicker. The bush above will grow depending on what its name is. Whenever you see these types of little standards the label is usually describing the plant that is grafted on top. The other thing to remember is to always remove any growth from below that top graft point so that the strength isn’t taken away from the plant above.

These little standards make wonderful specimens, like Salix caprea ‘Kilmarnock’ (The Kilmarnock Willow) and Pyrus salicifolia var. ‘Pendula’, also known as The Weeping Willow Leaved Pear.  The first has trailing branches, and produces soft, silvery catkins early in the year; the latter also has a weeping habit with soft silvery leaves producing white flowers in spring.

Another favourite of mine and real ‘eye catcher’ is the Prunus serrula stem with Prunus nipponica var. kurilensis ‘Brilliant’ (Japanese Alpine Cherry) grafted above. The trunk is a bright mahogany colour that exfoliates and the top will produce lovely white flowers that fade to pale pink during spring. I have Prunus serrula (Tibetan Cherry) in my garden and admire it all the time, its bark stands out in winter, it also has the R.H.S. Award of Garden Merit.

By Anita Chisnell