Top trees for small gar­dens

The Daily Telegraph - Gardening - - Rhs Plants For Places - Gar­dens to in­spire...

Trees reach ul­ti­mately at least 23ft (7m) tall and although most “gar­den trees” at­tain 30ft (10m) or more at ma­tu­rity, there are many ex­am­ples that stay smaller. Most gar­dens can find space for the small­est trees, un­der 30ft high at ma­tu­rity. Here are three ex­cel­lent ex­am­ples: Cer­cis canaden­sis ‘For­est Pansy’ AGM, with large heart-shaped pur­ple leaves, of­fers rich au­tumn colour; Cor­nus kousa ‘Miss Satomi’ AGM, with won­drous white early sum­mer flow­ers fol­lowed by red dim­pled fruits, reaches 18ft (6m) height and spread. Sor­bus vil­morinii AGM, 15ft (5m) height and spread, has del­i­cate fo­liage with cream flow­ers fol­lowed by clus­ters of red berries that fade to white. A valu­able sub­sec­tion of small trees are fasti­giate (up­right or colum­nar in form). They cast lit­tle shade and have a small “foot­print”: Sor­bus ‘Au­tumn Spire’ AGM, 24ft x 12ft (8m x 4m), has white flow­ers, yel­low berries and fiery au­tumn fo­liage. Prunus ‘Amanogawa’ AGM is de­servedly pop­u­lar be­ing re­li­ably nar­row at 26ft x 13ft (8m x 4m) and car­ry­ing masses of semi-dou­ble pale pink flow­ers. Malus ‘Adiron­dack’ AGM, 26ft x 13ft (8m x 4m), has white spring flow­ers and lit­tle red crab ap­ples in au­tumn. For good or­na­men­tal value, trees with spring flow­ers and au­tumn colour In tight spots, large shrubs can ful­fil many func­tions – shel­ter, pri­vacy, wildlife ben­e­fit and some height – although it may not be pos­si­ble to walk un­der their canopy. One com­monly used is Bud­dleja al­terni­fo­lia AGM, with abun­dant sum­mer flow­ers, which can be trained with a sin­gle stem into a 9ft (3m) “tree”. Ja­panese maples are the best all-round per­form­ers of the large shrubs, the up­right Acer pal­ma­tum ‘Kat­sura’ AGM, for in­stance, can reach 13ft (4m). mag­no­lias have a ded­i­cated av­enue, and there are many ma­ture or­na­men­tal trees that al­low grow­ers to as­sess habit and size. Blue­bell Nurs­ery in Le­ices­ter­shire sells trees, mostly un­usual ones, not least at RHS flower shows, and also grows its trees in an ar­bore­tum on heavy Mid­land clay. Vis­i­tors can see a huge range of trees grow­ing and get a first­hand idea of habits and space re­quire­ments. As well as be­ing a re­mark­able coastal gar­den, How­ick Hall in Northum­ber­land has an ex­ten­sive ar­bore­tum, just 10 years old, with an amaz­ingly rich col­lec­tion of over 11,000 trees from all over the world, grown from legally har­vested wild seeds planted in ge­o­graphic groups. The trees are a lit­tle young to show full growth habit and many might not be read­ily avail­able, but for the tree lover this is an in­spir­ing col­lec­tion.

Au­tumn riches: trees pro­vide pri­vacy and colour in small spa­ces

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