A well chosen tree, positioned correctly, can make a wonderful focal point in your garden, giving year round interest of coloured leaves, bark, berries, fruit and blossom.
Choose trees that attract wildlife; give birds a place to nest and perch, berries to be eaten through the cold months, and flowers for pollinators. There are so many compact trees to choose from, Acer palmatum, Amelanchier, Hawthorn and Hazel to name but a few. Here are some more ideas:
Crab Apples offer so much in the garden, and they never get too big. Malus Peter’s Red has lovely burgundy foliage and can grow to a height of 4-5 metres, but you can keep it smaller by pruning it. Before the foliage come pink flowers, followed by deep red crab apples which birds adore. It is a multi-stemmed tree, so has a fantastic shape and gives interest throughout the year.
Crab Apple, Malus toringo ‘Aros’ – image Frank P Matthews
Another Crab Apple is Malus toringo ‘Aros,’ which has glossy purple leaves in summer, deep red crab apples in the autumn and pink flowers in the spring. It won Best in Show at the National Plant Show 2017. It is a slender tree and grows to 3m in height.
Bird feeding on a Sorbus ‘Mountain Ash’ – image MTPR
Sorbus ‘Mountain Ash,’ a Rowan, has delicate pinnate leaves with pendulous clusters of flowers. Berries are different colours on different cultivars, but they are all pest and disease free and a perfect size for a residential garden.
Cersis canadensis ‘Forest Pansy’ – image emeraldplants.co.uk
If you’re looking for great foliage, choose multi-stemmed Cersis canadensis ‘Forest Pansy,’ which has dark plum coloured, heart shaped leaves, turning orange, bronze and red in the autumn. The foliage is striking and the pink flowers in the spring are very pretty.
Silver birch bark
Perhaps you fancy a Silver Birch in your garden? You might want to choose Betula pendula fastigiata ‘Joes,’ which only grows up to 4m in height. Plant evergreens behind it to show off the pale winter stems.
Maidenhair tree leaves
Gingko biloba, the Maidenhair tree, is dated to be the oldest tree on earth, and has been found in fossils dating back 270 million years. It has been cultivated since early human history. It’s great to know that with a particular Gingko you don’t have to own a garden. Gingko biloba ‘Barabits Sztrada’ will grow to 3-4 metres if planted in the ground, but if grown in a pot it will remain small. It is the perfect pot plant for a balcony or patio and combats air pollution, pests disease and wind. The attractive leaf shape stands out, and the beautiful glow of the yellow autumn leaves always make me smile.
And if you want a cherry tree in your garden, choose a Prunus serrula, Tibetan Cherry – red peeling bark, white spring time blossom, they look spectacular at any time of year!