Trees for Small Gardens
Trees offer so much to our incredible planet. We owe it to Lady Nature to conserve, care for and nurture our trees and where-ever possible plant more of them.
There are so many suitable trees for small gardens; we really have no excuse for not planting some.
I am passionate about trees, they hold a special place in my heart. Without them our planet would die because they are the living, breathing lungs of the Natural world; we cannot survive without them.
They provide much-needed, food, shelter and habitat to any number of birds and animals/wildlife.
They clean the very air we breathe.
Trees evoke strong emotions. They speak to our spiritual side, they are soulful and being amongst them is like being with best friends and loved ones…
Of course it is necessary from time to time to remove trees. If they are diseased, dead or damaged they must be taken down to prevent the spread of disease or if they present a danger of falling down and causing injury or damage to property, but for every tree that is lost, we should be trying to replace them with more.
Things to Consider when Choosing a Tree
Space can be found in any size garden to grow a tree. Ok so maybe you can’t have an arboretum on your patio but do not despair, there are lots of beautiful trees that are perfect for the smaller garden. Even a balcony could sport a Japanese maple or a fruit-bearing tree in a container.
However, we need to consider the amount of space, aspect, boundaries, height whilst making decisions on which trees to introduce.
Research is key, find out the ultimate height of the tree you wish to plant and how long it takes to reach that height.
Some species are slow growing and might have plenty of room in the early years, but they may end up at a height and size that will eventually block out light, over shadowing other plants and/or your house.
They can also potentially cause damage to buildings if they become too large for the available space.
There are any number of tree species and cultivars with compact growing habits.
A well-chosen tree, positioned effectively, can make a beautiful focal point and will provide colour, form, texture and seasonal interest.
You could also choose trees with berries that will attract birds, providing them with food as well as nesting sites.
Obviously fruit trees have the added bonus of producing edible produce.
Varieties of apple, pear, plum, cherry, peach, etc can all be grown as espaliers, which take up very little space and make use of bare walls or fences.
Fruit trees as well as many others can be grown in containers, a consideration for anyone with a small patio, yard or balcony.
If you’re not sure where to place your tree, grow it in a pot, this could be the perfect solution!
Place it in different locations until you are happy with where it is and you could also take it with you if you move. Planting in containers is useful if you need to protect the tree in winter.
The following are just a few examples of suitable trees for small gardens.
- Acer palmatum are stunningly beautiful, slow growing Japanese maples, that won’t take over.
Lots of choices of these valuable seasonal trees. They offer a blaze of autumn colour unsurpassed in my opinion.
Easy to grow and maintain, and happy in large containers with ericaceous compost. They all need pretty much the same conditions,
- sun/partial shade.
- sheltered situation.
- Free draining soil.
- Keep well watered in summer or dry spells.
- Coral Bark maple Sango Kaku is a beautiful maple offering bright pink stems and branches with yellow/orange new foliage, turning gold in Autumn.
- Bloodgood maple
These wonderful trees are deciduous, but prior to loosing their leaves in winter they give a wow factor of autumn colour with amazing reds and oranges.
Their summer foliage is purple red.
- Magnolia Stellata
Also known as the Star Magnolia this is a slow growing deciduous shrub or small tree with a rounded habit.
White flowers with a tinge of pink in spring followed by vivid lime green leaves.
Easy to grow with little or no maintenance.
Prefers full sun or partial shade in a sheltered site.
- Espalier fruit trees
Ideal for space-saving, these fruit trees are best grown against a warm, sunny wall or fence. Choose one that has several fruit varieties grafted onto one tree for an abundant harvest, Springtime blossom, colour, fragrance and edible harvest.
- Amelanchia (Juneberry)
Small deciduous trees or shrubs with showy white flowers in early spring, red to purple fruits. Autumn foliage is orange and red, achieved when grown in full sun.
Easy to care for, they are happy in most situations in well drained, lime free soil.
- Ornamental cherry
Cherries are versatile, compact and suitable for growing in containers making them a perfect choice for small gardens.
Smothered in pink or white blossom they are a bit of a show stopper in springtime.
Prunus accolade and Prunus pink perfection are both delightful choices with leaves turning vivid red and orange in autumn to provide added seasonal colour too.
Under plant with spring bulbs followed by summer annuals for more interest.
- Sorbus Pink Pagoda (Rowan)
There are many lovely varieties of Sorbus, I have picked pink pagoda simply because I love the name and it’s pink berries!
Happy in most aspects. It is a medium-sized, deciduous, upright tree with blue/green leaves, small creamy white flowers in late spring followed by pink berries.
Leaves turn a bright red in autumn.
- Sambucas nigra Black Lace (Elder)
A deciduous shrub or small tree with very deeply dissected purplish-black foliage in spring and autumn, giving a very pretty and distinctive lacy effect. Umbels of tiny pinkish flowers are abundant in summer with a characteristic grape scent.
Purple-black berries follow which are edible when cooked. However all other parts of this tree can be toxic if ingested.
Grow some Soul in your Garden
Trees are joyful, I hope that here I have persuaded you to make room for them in your gardens and your hearts.
Trees are wonderfully rich, they endow our lives with colour, interest, flora, fauna and soul.
Planting a tree is an investment in future generations and the future of our world. As well as a source of enjoyment, they contribute to our overall well-being. Gardening for Well-being, Why Gardening is Good for your Health.
Plant them, grow them, love them!