Nottingham Post - - YOUR GARDEN - With David Domoney

WOOD­LAND walks are one of the most won­der­ful things about au­tumn. Spec­tac­u­lar hues of golds, reds and am­bers flush through the leaves. And strolling be­neath a tree canopy can do you the world of good.

Re­search shows that walk­ing through a nat­u­ral space boosts your mem­ory, in­creases pro­duc­tiv­ity, re­duces blood pres­sure and stress, and in­creases pos­i­tive emo­tions. A walk in an ur­ban area can have com­pletely the op­po­site ef­fect.

So we should get close to na­ture for our own health and happiness – and for that of our chil­dren too.

To get rec­om­men­da­tions of win­ning wood­land walks near you, take a look at the Wood­land Trust web­site at wood­

Put in your post code to find your near­est one.

The Wood­land Trust is a mar­vel­lous or­gan­i­sa­tion that aims to con­serve and re­store an­cient wood­land.

It plants new woods in the UK full of na­tive species, which sup­port lo­cal wildlife and have a pos­i­tive im­pact on the na­tion’s health.

It even gives out free trees to schools and com­mu­nity groups. This year, the trust has been run­ning a fan­tas­tic na­tional cam­paign to find the tree of the year – one with a fan­tas­tic his­tory.

Some of the trees that have been nom­i­nated date back hun­dreds of years and have seen so much change in the land­scape dur­ing their in­cred­i­ble life­times.

We re­ally should embrace trees and have them in our own gar­dens. You could plant and name a tree on your child’s birth­day, plant a tree in mem­ory of some­one spe­cial, or plant one just be­cause it makes you happy.

There are lots you can plant in your own gar­den. Here are my favourite ones for dif­fer­ent sized spaces.

If you don’t have a big gar­den, don’t worry. There are plenty of trees suit­able for smaller plots.

Salix caprea ‘Kil­marnock’ – Kil­marnock wil­low – is a mar­vel­lous dwarf tree that grows up to head height. It has an um­brella of weep­ing pen­dula branches that drape down from the top of the tree all the way to the ground.

Early in the year, it has clear stems cov­ered in beau­ti­ful sil­ver catkins. It looks like snow is crum­bling from the tree with lit­tle sil­ver gems turn­ing sul­phur yel­low right be­fore it leafs up.

Through­out sum­mer, the tree pro­duces gor­geous green leaves. It is per­fect for grow­ing in bor­ders or even large con­tain­ers.

Prunus ‘Amanogawa’ is a de­light­ful pen­cil cherry that is tall and thin. It doesn’t spread out too much, so if spread is your worry, this would be the per­fect choice. Its co­pi­ous leaves pro­duce beau­ti­ful shades of colour through­out au­tumn and, as a flow­er­ing cherry, it has spec­tac­u­lar dis­plays of spring flow­ers too – a flush of pink buds that open up into fab­u­lous white blos­som.

Acer pal­ma­tum – Ja­panese maple – is a very pop­u­lar choice these days and pro­duces spec­tac­u­lar sum­mer and au­tumn colour.

Ab­so­lutely ideal for pots, these are es­pe­cially suited to smaller gar­dens where they can be used as a fea­ture piece on the pa­tio. Mov­ing on, there is a lot to choose from if you are in need of a medium-sized tree. But I have to give a spe­cial shout-out to ap­ples.

There are bush ap­ples or smaller half-stan­dard ap­ples that will go in any sized plot. If there are ap­ple trees in neigh­bour­ing gar­dens, that is fan­tas­tic as they will pol­li­nate your ap­ples and help your tree pro­duce fruit.

If there are none nearby you can buy a va­ri­ety such as ‘Lax­ton’s Su­perb’. These pol­li­nate them­selves and en­sure a bumper crop.

Don’t for­get with ap­ples, it is not all about the fruit. Spec­tac­u­lar pink and white blos­soms are also pro­duced. Ap­ple blos­soms in spring time are a mar­vel­lous thing.

For big­ger trees, Acer drum­mondii – Nor­way maple – is a tough one to beat. Its leaves have a lovely mar­gin of cream on the edges and a lime-green cen­tre. You can also get va­ri­eties that have bright red fo­liage, such as ‘Royal Red’ and ‘Gold­worth Pur­ple’.

For truly stun­ning au­tumn colour, Liq­uidambar styraci­flua – sweet gum– has multi-coloured leaves in au­tumn, which make a real state­ment in a large gar­den.

So embrace au­tumn and en­joy na­ture by tak­ing a walk in a wood. You may be in­spired to plant your own tree.

Sweet gum glow

Ap­ple blos­som

Colour­ful trees make the sea­son

Get reddy with a Ja­panese maple

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