Small size, big fea­ture

Sunday Tasmanian - Tassie Living - - HOME - Peter Cun­dall

BIG, vig­or­ous trees can be­come an ex­pen­sive prob­lem, es­pe­cially in a small gar­den, so it’s wise to carry out a bit of re­search be­fore buy­ing.

How­ever, with most sub­ur­ban gar­dens there is great value plant­ing one or two small trees, mainly be­cause so many pro­vide valu­able cool­ing shade in sum­mer.

Small trees are also grown for at­trac­tive spring or sum­mer blos­som, fo­liage, au­tumn colour and even brightly- coloured fruit or berries.

One of the eas­i­est to grow in al­most any soil is the de­cid­u­ous spin­dle tree ( Eu­ony­mus

eu­ropaeus), named be­cause the wood was once widely used for mak­ing spin­dles.

In Aus­tralia it grows to about 5m tall and with­stands the most sav­age frosts.

In late au­tumn it pro­duces su­perb dis­plays of bright scar­let fo­liage that last well into win­ter be­fore they fall.

At the same time the branches are fes­tooned with clus­ters of pink and or­ange berries, an ut­terly beau­ti­ful com­bi­na­tion. They are eas­ily grown from seed.

An­other that can be grown from seed is the 4m tall Por­tu­gal Lau­rel ( Prunus lusi­tan­ica) a glossy ever­green. With its dense, dark green, domed canopy and re­mark­able drought-re­sis­tance, it has a place in any small gar­den.

In spring it is cov­ered with masses of creamy- white flow­ers, fol­lowed by glit­ter­ing black clus­ters of berries.

The Nepal Straw­berry ( Cor­nus cap­i­tata) presents an amaz­ing sight in spring, when the round- headed canopy is cov­ered with large, sul­phur- coloured bracts.

They are fol­lowed by huge, bright- red straw­berry- like fruit, which give the tree its com­mon name.

Seeds ger­mi­nate freely and, luck­ily for Tas­ma­ni­ans, th­ese small trees thrive here, even in our cold­est ar­eas.

Most peo­ple are fa­mil­iar with the com­mon Rowan tree with its clus­ters of bright or­an­gered fruit. Not so well known is the Chi­nese Rowans ( Sor­bus hu­pe­hen­sis) and S. eburnea. This ex­cel­lent, un­ob­tru­sive small tree thrives in sandy soils with per­fect drainage.

The maple fam­ily is enor­mous, with more than 150 species and a seem­ingly end­less stream of mag­nifi cent cul­ti­vars.

How­ever, it is the many forms of the much smaller Ja­panese maples ( Acer japon­icum and

A. pal­ma­tum) that play the most sig­nifi cant role in small to medium gar­dens. Ja­panese maples are fa­mous for their grace­ful, del­i­cate fo­liage. In au­tumn and early win­ter, the bril­liant shades of scar­let, crim­son and rich reds are fea­tures at spe­cial fes­ti­vals in Ja­pan. An­other pop­u­lar maple is the Chi­nese va­ri­ety

( A. da­vidii ssp. grosseri), which has ex­traor­di­nar­ily beau­ti­ful grey- green bark marked with con­spic­u­ous, ver­ti­cal white stripes. This tree thrives in all parts and rarely grows more than 4m tall.

How­ever, it’s the golden form ( G. ‘ Sun­burst’) which has re­ally stolen the hearts of tree lovers every­where. Grow­ing to a height of roughly 4m and with a spread of about the same, the Golden Honey Lo­cust stands out like a green-golden bea­con in any land­scape.

All th­ese highly- at­trac­tive small trees are avail­able for plant­ing now, ei­ther from large pots or even bare- rooted. If buy­ing ad­vanced spec­i­mens, make sure they are firmly se­cured to sup­port­ing stakes af­ter be­ing planted.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Australia

© PressReader. All rights reserved.