Tiny trees for smaller gardens-our expert Karen Murphy finds the perfect fit for your space...
No matter the size of your garden, I can guarantee there’s a little tree just for you, perfect to add style and substance to that corner you’ve been meaning to revamp. It’s the prime treeplanting season, so now’s the time to decide which one’s right for you. I urge you to plant a tree or two, if you have any room, for many reasons. It automatically adds focus and maturity to any garden, and a distinct, natural touch. Trees provide the ultimate shelter, nesting sites and food for birds and other wildlife, and bring year-round joy in leaf, berry and flower. If home-grown beauty is important to you, plump for a native. Crab apples, holly and rowan all stay very compact, never usually reaching more than 8m tall at the very most. All will grow in most locations, as is the natural wont of a native, and some don’t mind a bit of shade, particularly holly. The crab apple variety ‘Admiration’ is naturally dwarf, available from www. crocus.co.uk, and reaches 4m tall. Grow it in a large pot and it’ll be perfectly happy. There are many trees you can pop in a pot – not all native, though. Acers are a prime example, fantastically colourful little trees that are slow-growing and real stand-out features. The very best are ‘Osakazuki’, a flaming scarlet-leaved beauty in autumn, or one of the dissected-leaved types, such as green and red-tinged ‘Emerald Lace’. Use a slightly acidic compost, with equal parts soil-based John Innes mixed with ericaceous. If your plants jostle for air space, go for a columnar species, such as the slim cherry tree ‘Amanogawa’, covered in lovely cherry blooms in spring but with upright stems that stay pencil thin. For a sense of permanence and yearround structure, even though you might have very little space, you can plant up a mini forest of dwarf conifers. No need for a great big, overbearing leylandii! You can get a whole range of colours – juniper ‘Blue Star’ is one such bright blue beauty, at 40cm tall and a metre wide, and tiny spruce ‘JW Daisy’s White’ is a delight in yellow-white. To finish off your colourful trio, fluffy little Pinus mugo ‘Humpy’ is a charmingly named rounded pine in dark green (pictured). Add them to an alpine planting scheme for superb effect.
The cute and compact Pinus mugo
Karen writes for Garden News magazine which is packed full of tips, inspiration, plant and product news and great money-saving offers! On sale every Tuesday, or subscribe and try your first four issues for just £1. Call 01858 438884 or visit www.greatmagazines.co.uk/YFIG and quote YFIG. T&Cs apply.