Including a tree in a scheme is an essential part of any planting design for me. Recently a planting commission comprised entirely of trees the use of mature specimens transformed the whole look of the building instantly.
With specimens available in containers all year round there is no longer a restriction on the time of year that this work can be done. Although with the recent hot weather a good watering system is essential for the success of any new planting.
Small spaces are obviously a tricky place to put a tree. In some cases it is possible to incorporate trees that are outside of the garden, making the best possible use of the shade, shelter and structure they provide. Trees that are in the distance become a backdrop to your scheme.
A recent project was planted with variegated foliage that contrasted with the back drop of purple beech, creating a stunning effect within the grounds.
Certain shrubs can attain tree like proportions if left to their own devices. Commissioned to renovate a border that had not been maintained for some 15 to 20 years, gave me opportunities of pruning and shaping existing shrubs into interesting and architectural structures.
It takes some time to clear the undergrowth and select the branches to be retained but with some patience and effort, an area can be cleared and space made for a new layer of planting to be developed. The existing shrubs add maturity, structure and interest to the scheme and within six months it will all look like it has always been there.
Clearing and starting again would have left the scheme looking new for a number of years. Trees can be used to provide instant impact within a scheme.
Some varieties have fabulous bark and are best placed close to a path so that they can be touched.
Prunus Serrula is a good choice for this. Trees with a lighter canopy such as a Betula can be used to create a lace curtain effect, helping to breakup unsightly views without blocking all of the light.
Acers will provide beautiful foliage and stunning autumn colour, andthere is a huge choice of trees for flowers, foliage, bark and fruit.
If you have room for just one in your garden there should be something available that will like the site, soil and aspect that will give you many seasons of enjoyment.