Now is the perfect time to plant trees and shrubs. Recently, I’ve had a question from Charles Windsor, who lives near London:

“We have a small garden with little space, but would like a tree

to emphasise the vertical dimension. What would you suggest?”

It’s amazing what putting strong verticals into small spaces does- somehow it defines the space and it looks bigger! Trees that have a narrow profile- otherwise known as fastigiate– would be best in your garden, Charles. Some possibilites include:

  • Prunus serrula ‘Amanogawa’– a flowering cherry with double pink flowers and good autumn colour

  • the ‘Maidenhair Tree’ (Ginkgo biloba), in its fastigiate form, the leaves of which are larger versions of those of the maidenhair fern and which turn yellow in autumn

  • Chamaecyparis lawsoniana ‘Alumii’– a blue-grey form of of the Lawson Cypress

  • Taxus baccata ‘Fastigiata’– a narrowly growing Yew

If you have a garden which is a little bigger (it can take trees with a wider spread), for trees with good all year round interest, try:

  • Arbutus unedo– the ‘Strawberry Tree’- shining evergreen folioage, clusters of white flowers in autumn and early winter, and red fruits which change colour slowly through the year until they mature the following autumn. It grows to around 4 metres tall and needs a mild climate, though it can withstand gales.

  • Ornamental Crab apples (Malus) grow to between 3.5m and 6m tall, are hardy, easy to grow and attractive for most of the year, with crimson, red, pink or white spring flowers, yellow or red fruit and good autumn colour, wiht purple leave sin sowem varieties.

  • Amelanchier lamarckii (‘Snowy Mespilus’)– white spring flowers followed by black berries and wonderful autumn leaf colour, this and other species/cultivars (we have Amelanchier canadensis here at Old School Garden) grow to a mature height of between 6 and 10 metres.

Further information:

Trees for smaller gardens- RHS

10 Best trees for smaller gardens- The Guardian

Trees for Small Gardens- Gardeners’ World

Old School Gardener

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