Tell me your favourite small(ish) trees

(22 Posts)
Rhubarbgarden Wed 28-Nov-12 16:18:15

The overgrown and overblown Leylandii hedge that blocked out the sky has been removed today. I'm bouncing with excitement at the prospect of planting some interesting trees in their place. I've got lots of ideas but interested to hear what others would choose before I draw up my shortlist. They need to be not too big and preferably wafty rather than ultra shady (birch, for example would fit the bill). Autumn colour would be good.

I'm hankering after a Cornus kousa but don't know a great deal about them. Anyone grown one?

ComeIntoTheGardenMaud Fri 30-Nov-12 20:23:46

Eucalyptus, if you can keep on top of the trimming so it doesn't become vast?

Viburnum tinus makes a small tree and can easily be pruned.

Would amelanchier be too big?

discrete Fri 30-Nov-12 20:26:54

Japanese maples, unless you are in a windy place.

Crab apples.

Magnolias.

I'd love to know what eucalyptus is smallish? Do you just cut them down every year and grow them as a bush?

Rhubarbgarden Fri 30-Nov-12 20:28:47

No, amelanchier is about the size I have in mind. I'd forgotten about those - good idea. I'll definitely be planting some viburnum tinus as I also need some good big shrubs, and that's always a good do-er. Eucalyptus have been vetoed by dh as our old neighbours had a huge one that blew down in high winds and narrowly missed squishing our futility room.

ComeIntoTheGardenMaud Fri 30-Nov-12 20:31:22

Yes, with eucalpytus you need to give it a drastic prune every year - pollard it, pretty much - to keep it (reasonably) small and to keep the round (juvenile) leaves. If you let it get huge, the leaves become long ovals.

The RHS knows more than I do.

Rhubarbgarden Fri 30-Nov-12 20:32:49

I get overwhelmed by choice whenever I try to buy Japanese maples. Do you have a favourite, discrete?

I love magnolias but they tend to get very wide, don't they? Star magnolia could work though. I'd love a magnolia grandiflora, but I think with one of those I'd be back to blocking out all the light again.

PiggeryJokery Fri 30-Nov-12 20:34:05

Euonymus or sorbus both very pretty and beautiful in autumn. Another vote for Malus - Evereste or John Downie both good.

Rhubarbgarden Fri 30-Nov-12 20:34:29

I didn't know you could pollard eucalyptus. How interesting.

ComeIntoTheGardenMaud Fri 30-Nov-12 20:35:21

Malus Golden Hornet is rather nice too. There is a circle of them at Highgrove.

GrimmaTheNome Fri 30-Nov-12 20:35:43

We have an amelanchier but it got crowded out by rampant pyracantha so its gone a weird shape. Our other small trees are all good - crab apple, a sorbus (yellow berried, but trad mountain ash is good too); silver birch, hornbeam. We had a flowering cornus when we lived in the US, it was nice. We have the other sort of dogwoods now, for the coloured winter stems but the golden-leaved one is nice year round.

Ponders Fri 30-Nov-12 20:39:40

Acer palmatum dissectum

beautiful from spring to autumn. we have one that's about 12' tall & I love it.

It is in a very sheltered corner though

discrete Fri 30-Nov-12 20:47:07

Yes, magnolias do get very wide. I had a star magnolia in a teensy tiny london garden and that worked fine, though. Not as nice and flashy as the others, but OK. Magnolia grandiflora is definitely the most beautiful but would take at least as much space as a leylandii (eventually). I wonder how long it would take to get there?

IKWYM about japanese maples. I actually only like the ones that look like small trees, so that narrows it down a bit. I don't care for the ones with the really filigree type leaves which grow really small and curve over bonsai style at all.

I personally like the ones that go green in the summer. I used to have a bloodgood which was nice but I found the purple summer leaves a bit, hmm, weird, I guess. I think my favourite one is actually Osakazuki. I also love one which goes yellow in the autumn, I think it's sango-kaku, it has beautiful stems. It's fairly 'bred' though, so wouldn't really put it in a woodland type setting iyswim.

Ohh, I'd love to be able to have Japanese maples again. Sadly my current garden is far too windswept for them (not to mention it being in a mediterranean climate and drought stricken for 4 months of the year....)

Rhubarbgarden Fri 30-Nov-12 20:47:51

Ponders, Architectural Plants is my absolute favourite place in all the world. Well, favourite nursery anyway. That is indeed a very pretty, frondy acer. I can feel one of those coming on.

I'm not a big fan of crabapples. I don't know why. They are good for birds though aren't they? So I should be.

discrete Fri 30-Nov-12 20:48:26

The judas tree is really pretty too, and can stay quite small and fairly tidy.

discrete Fri 30-Nov-12 20:56:57

Koelreuteria paniculata is a gorgeous little tree. I've never grown it but I saw it once at the Chelsea flower show and absolutely fell in love with it. So much that I tried to talk them into selling me that particular specimen but they weren't having it, it was their show one.

Now I've remembered it I want to go out and buy one for my garden!

Rhubarbgarden Fri 30-Nov-12 20:57:55

Discrete, I am envy at your drought-stricken Mediterranean climate and refuse to feel sympathy for your inability to grow acers, as I stand here with footrot it's been so damn wet... but a judas tree is a good idea!

ComeIntoTheGardenMaud Fri 30-Nov-12 21:00:26

Oh lawks, yes. I have footrot too and my garden is a swamp. Sob.

Rhubarbgarden Fri 30-Nov-12 21:01:16

Koelreuteria paniculata - I had to google that. Looks beautiful. Wide, again though. I can probably accommodate one wide-ish one but the rest really need to not be.

discrete Fri 30-Nov-12 21:01:59

I know, I know....I love it apart from when it's bloody cold 90mph winds in Jan and feb, then I actually miss living in the UK.

I'd still love to have a proper English country garden. Maybe in my next house I'll have a well with endless supplies of water and will feel less guilty about watering plants which are thoroughly unsuitable for the climate...

discrete Fri 30-Nov-12 21:03:14

Yes, I do tend to favour spreading trees.

How much space do you actually have?

Abzs Fri 30-Nov-12 21:24:47

Across our back wall we have small examples of the following

Forsythia, Amelanchier, Pyracantha, Viburnum (self seeded, specifics unknown), Laburnum (multi stemmed), Rose and Honeysuckle on the gateway and a Rowan. We also have a Hazel and a Prunus Niger on the bank between us and the road.

Ours are all under 6-8ft depending on time of year and pruning, but the viburnum down the road I suspect ours came from is more like 10+ft.

Rhubarbgarden Fri 30-Nov-12 22:49:33

Space-wise it's a moveable feast really. I could, theoretically, put in a whole row of spreading things. But then I'd have less room for other grand plans. It's tricky.

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