Go to virtually any garden centre and the tree section will have a wide variety of species. Many of these will be fruit trees but in amongst the apples, pears and so on will be the non-fruiting ornamental trees. Most of these will be labelled, especially if they have been container grown but even so, you need to plan carefully what you will plant in your garden. If you buy the wrong trees, it will be a costly mistake. |
The first thing to do is to decide why you want a tree or trees in the first place.
If you want an orchard or simply a tree that produces your favourite fruit, that is easy. A garden centre or tree nursery is better than buying online as the staff will be passionate and knowledgeable and give you advice as to what varieties are available and what might be the most suitable for your garden and growing conditions. They will probably be happy to offer advice about after care as well for example, they can confirm if the species and variety in which you are interested can be grown espalier style or if it needs to be left to grow naturally.
If you are looking for an ornamental tree, then you have to make some other decisions too. First of all, you need to decide on an appropriate size for your garden. Planting a lime tree in a pocket handkerchief sized garden in central London would be wholly inappropriate whereas planting a dwarf tree in a lrge garden in a London suburb like Sutton upon Thames would probably work. Many small trees are ultimately not particularly small and most will grow to at least 15 feet tall when mature so it would be best to choose a slow growing tree as that would be a lot easier to prune and keep artificially small. The downside of pruning is that, when done by an amateur, it shortens the life of a tree, sometimes significantly so it is best to call in a professional tree surgeon to do the work properly to ensure that your investment lives to its full lifespan.
You may be looking for a tree to add colour at certain times of the year. The obvious trees for this are the deciduous varieties as all will give beautiful and vibrant greens in the Spring and reds/yellows in the autumn. Most gardeners will simply go for the acers, usually the japanese varieties as they are the best known. To be different and make your garden stand out, why not go for the native field maple or Witch Hazel or maybe something a little more unusual such as the Tulip Tree or the white oak, both of which are seldom seen in British gardens.
For winter interest in the garden, you might choose an evergreen, there are some really nice vareties of spruce and pine trees, for example, the Scots pine. They beat stuff like Leylandii hands down. There are some really slow growing varieties too which would work well in smaller gardens. Deciduous trees that can add winter interest are the ones that have an interesting bark. Probably the most common choice is the dogwood, varieties of which have yellow or red stems that look great in the winter. Other trees with interesting barks are eucalyptus and the paperbark Maple.
Finally, you may be looking for a tree that copes with certain conditions in your garden such as a very wet soil or perhaps a cold and shady corner that receives very little sunlight. The choices will be more limited and you will probably need to do some research either at the library where the librarian will be able to point you in the right direction for helpful books to use, or of course on the ubiquitous Internet. Once you have listed some ideas, you can then get down to sourcing your tree. In many cases, even if your local garden centre does not stock them, they will have the contacts to locate and order the tree or trees of your choice.
If you need advice from London landscape gardeners contact Graftingardeners (London) Ltd who are also professional tree surgeons in Richmond.
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