Trees are an integral part of our landscape. Whilst most gardening articles focus on the beauty of trees in autumn, we feel they are often overlooked in winter. However, the wintry charms of trees in a garden should be recognised and celebrated.
Deciduous trees are those that loose their leaves in autumn. In winter they rise to glory for their stunning naked silhouettes. Additionally, their lack of leaves makes wildlife spotting from the comfort of your warm house easy and many an hour can be spent watching birds hop from branch to branch. In 2018, the amazing freezing rain we had additionally adorned branches to create mystical baubles of ice.
Many deciduous trees give their best show in winter. For example the remarkable twisted stem of contorted hazel become visible and the bright white trunk Betula varieties lift a border.
Our top picks for deciduous trees include:
Fagus sylvatica ‘Pendula’ AGM (RHS Award of Garden Merit). This weeping beech needs a vast garden as it grows to a huge domed crown with cascading branches to the ground. However, if you happen to own a nice estate with room for a 17m (56ft) high and wide tree this is the one for you. Available from our nursery as an open ground specimen for just £40.00.
Betula utilis ‘Snow Queen’ offers real winter wow factor with its snowy white, exfoliating bark. Medium sized, ovate mid-green foliage is complemented by yellow/brown catkins in spring. In autumn the foliage turns a beautiful golden yellow, completing the year round interest. Its slender form suits smaller gardens. It will grow to a height and spread of 7 x 3.5 metres in 20 years and it is a tough tree suitable for virtually all soils and conditions. We have open ground trees available from just £20.00.
Prunus serrula is a small cherry tree reaching 6-9 metres (20-30 feet) in 20 years. The smooth bark is brownish red and it has prominent horizontal stripes called lenticels. We have open ground specimens available from just £40.00.
Sorbus Aucuparia: This is a Native tree and boasts delightful spring flowers alluring to bees and other beneficial pollinators, in autumn the leaves put on an amazing colourful show of fiery colours. and dazzling ruby-red berries which can be used to make rowan jelly. In winter the form gives a beautiful silhouette.
Evergreen trees keep their leaves all year. A real boon if you want to keep an area private. Some have glossy leaves which reflect and glitter winter light, whilst other variegated leaves can inject some much needed winter colour into a garden.
Here are our favourite evergreen trees:
Acacia dealbata AGM, commonly called the mimosa. This large shrub/small tree has sea green/grey leaves which look like a foil behind the yellow winter flowers. The only downfall is that it is only relatively hardy. It would struggle on the hills of Dartmoor or other very exposed sites. We grow specimens from just £16.00 each.
Olea europaea – the olive. There is currently much concern over plant health of olives and although there are rigorous tests and controls in place and because of this we would advise against buying imported plants. Our olives have been grown on our nursery and we have specimens currently 45-60cm tall for only £26.50. The olive has beautifully round crowns and glistening silver foliage.
Ilex aquifolium Holly is an easy to grow tree that suits any sized garden as it can be pruned into shape and size. The tough, glossy, dark green foliage is sought after for Christmas arrangements. However, berries will only form on female trees therefore ensure you plant a male and female. The benefit of this is you could plant a variegated and non variegated form.
We have many more deciduous and evergreen trees in our garden centres. Why not visit us and have a chat with one of our plant specialists to find a tree that will suit your garden needs?