Good things do come in small packages, and when it comes to ornamental trees for the home garden, big isn’t always better. Choose carefully when planting and purchasing trees, and ensure you select the right tree for the job. If you require shade, choose a tree that provides a canopy, or if you wish to have autumnal tones pick something that changes its foliage colour as the seasons cool. And remember if you don’t know a lot about trees when you arrive in store, the staff at Mitre 10 do, and they love to share their knowledge, so let them do the hard yards for you in selecting the right tree for the job. If water and soil are the lifeline of the garden, then trees certainly must be the skeleton. They provide the framework which forms the structure and features of the garden. Trees are classified by having one (or maybe a few) main trunk which supports the entire plant, branches, side shoots and laterals – which all appear from the main trunk(s). Generally trees are more substantial than shrubs. Trees do comes in all shapes and sizes, in this issue we look at how and where to use smaller ornamental trees ideal for the home and garden.
Kids love lollipops, and so does the garden. Mop tops, which are sometimes called the lollipop trees, are brilliant for the smaller garden. Trim them back hard every winter and next spring as the lush foliage appears they will command centre stage in the garden.
Ideas of places to use small ornamental trees
- Small courtyard garden. Upright tall, thin plants such as Thuja smargd, maples, dwarf apple trees, pleached or espaliered trees. Wall plaques, tall narrow containers and upright slim line water features are effective. The key here is not to choose something that is too big and wide which will make the area feel smaller.
- For dark, shady corners plant Cornus ‘Eddies White Wonder’, Japanese maples or Michelia sp. Garden lighting will enhance the garden at night complement with pale coloured shrubs to lighten the area such as hostas or astelias for all day interest. Pale coloured pots or limestone statues and mirrors will add appeal and a sense of interest to these areas.
- Entrance ways: try a pair of large planters, with a plant that has strong form and clean lines. Portuguese laurels, standard bay trees under planted with black mondo grass look fabulous and are easy care. Lime washed pots and planters will enhance beds the outdoor areas. Lime trees can be pleached or espaliered too, and look remarkable all year round with their gold bark in winter and lime green foliage the rest of the year.