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Which garden tree?

(27 Posts)
Levanna Wed 05-Jan-05 01:02:01

We are planning to plant a tree in our garden, having removed 3 large leylandii when we moved in. Does anyone have any suggestions? We had been considering an ornamental cherry, but are worried about the amount of 'mess' due to cherries and stones following the blossom .

anteater Wed 05-Jan-05 01:04:53

Ornamental cherries do not have a fruit, nice blossom but does not last 2 mins..

JanH Wed 05-Jan-05 09:04:26

Ornamental cherries don't have particularly attractive leaves either.

How about a lovely acer? We have the first one on this page - it starts out with very pale green, almost yellow leaves, then goes through deeper shades of green all summer and ends up glowing orange/red (unless it's a wet autumn).

There are various different leaf shapes and colours. Worth a look. You can buy bigger ones than this to begin with, I've seen them at eg B & Q for about £60 but might be better from a garden centre.

Marina Wed 05-Jan-05 09:58:14

Acers are gorgeous - can I also suggest an acacia? We had one in our garden when we moved in, love it, and it gets a lot of comment. Blossoms on ours are a bit weedy but the pretty leaves are a lovely light green and provide only light shade, so the lawn is not affected and the garden not too overshadowed. It is a very graceful tree.
We also have an inherited magnolia stellata in the front garden which is attractive all year round (silvery grey bark) and has very pretty pale pink strap-petalled flowers in early spring, a real morale booster.
I would consider some fruit trees too...the birds will thank you, and hoover up all the cherries...

TheDragon Wed 05-Jan-05 10:03:58

Acer! They are simply gorgeous. Magnolias are also beautiful but make an appalling mess when they drop their petals :O

Marina Wed 05-Jan-05 14:10:41

Ah, but the weedier petal formation on stellatas makes them the acceptable alternative to the usual variety!

morningpaper Wed 05-Jan-05 14:21:48

Acers are great, I'm a big fan! Although they won't provide year-round cover like a leylandii will. Depends what kind of job you want them to do.

Word of advice though - the leylandii will have leached the soil of ANY nutrients, so make sure you dig in a shedload of compost before planting something new.

Good luck!

helenmc Wed 05-Jan-05 21:59:58

How about a Rowan/Mountain ash - flowers in spring, berries & leaf colour in autumn - plus brilliant for wildlife

Levanna Thu 06-Jan-05 00:20:04

Thanks so much for your suggestions and for the link janH. I'll go and look the others up now.
Thanks also for the tip about the soil. The leylandii were extremely large, monsterous in fact! Most of the garden was paved too, so the poor soil has been 'dead' in a sense for quite some time.
So, I've started collecting veg scraps for the recently ordered compost bin!

SofiaAmes Thu 06-Jan-05 01:20:29

We have an ornamental cherry in our front garden and hate it. It looks totally boring about 95% of the year. How about a lilac (we've got one and it's lovely) or a birch tree or a eucalyptus or an olive tree.

JanH Thu 06-Jan-05 14:09:01

Useful information for you Levanna, from the Tree Council ! Click on Trees Love Care. You can print off a tree-planting leaflet.

phoebeki Thu 06-Jan-05 14:27:00

Ornamental cherries are not good news. The blossom only lasts five minutes and makes a dreadful mess in the rain. Also cherries send off 'runners'which can be a pain in other parts of the garden and they along with weeping willows are blamed for lots of subsidence cases. How big is the garden?

Levanna Thu 06-Jan-05 23:15:58

Thanks for the further info . The garden isn't large, about one quarter is being devoted to the veg patch, one quarter to a patio and the other half to 'garden'. I prefer a more traditional look, cottagey type plants, some lawn etc. I'd like a tree that will 'fit' in this sort of garden. Height wise, we had thought about 5m, we would like some screening from the nosey rear neighbours, but not deprive the veg patch and rear of the house of too much light. I'm happy to put as much work as neccesary into pruning and whatnot . I'll go and look up the latest suggestions!

princessinapeartree Thu 06-Jan-05 23:51:58

Agree ornamental cherry boring. Do a google image search on Robinia Pseudoacacia Frisia (beautiful tree, deciduous, wonderful light bright green leaves which go yellow in the autumn, makes me happy every time I look at it, mine is about 25yrs old and 30ft high).
Also look at Cornus controversa variegata (beautiful open spreading tree, with white dogwood flowers in spring and a good red-purple colour to the leaves in autumn, variegated leaves make it very airy and pretty, medium sized - about 20ft max? Also called a wedding cake tree.)
Or if you want a really lovely specimen that will grow quite fast but will take a few years to be really lovely, try a Liriodendron tulipifera or tulip tree - beautiful light green unusually shaped leaved - bit like a gingko - which go yellow in autumn. And tulip shaped flowers on it in the spring. And the most beautiful graceful shape. A really wonderful tree, I planted one last year (gave it to dh for his birthday) and I love it.

But you need to dig in MASSES of organic matter before you plant - much more than you can compost between now and march when you should plant - buy in a really good load and dig or rotavate it in - no tree will do well in those circumstances without it....

good luck! I love trees

princessinapeartree Thu 06-Jan-05 23:57:41

Or looking at sofia's post, a himalayan birch (betula utilis var jaquemontii) is a wonderful tree, with its white peeling bark and dappled light and the wonderful noise the wind makes in its leaves. I have one which I can see out the window when I'm having my bath and it is beautiful all year round - even in the winter when the branches are bare. But it grows very tall (mine about 40ft) and you need room for it, and it makes a terrible mess with leaves and tiny seeds that come through the windows and branches everywhere in a high wind. So maybe not.
Don't under any circs plant a eucalyptus. They are completely inappropriately planted in the UK - they are big trees, grow like weeds, the leaves are completely uncompostable and will clutter your garden/drains/whatever for YEARS and you'll prob end up pulling it out in 5 years time...

Levanna Sat 08-Jan-05 00:59:32

When I saw your name I honestly thought you were about to suggest a pear tree! We are going to attempt cordons or espaliers of apples and possibly pears . Thanks for your suggestions, I've looked them up and they really are beautiful trees. I'll have to pick soon, so I'll post when we've made our final choice!

princesspeahead Sat 08-Jan-05 19:24:03

oh good, glad to be of help!
trained fruit trees are lovely, but you won't get any height from them - i mean if you want something to replac`e the leylandii as a focus/windbreak/bit of height etc then I wouldn't suggest trained fruit trees (although they would be lovely elsewhere - have you ever seen "step-over" espaliered apples about a ft high? brilliant. but if you want to do something like that with a bit more height you could try pleaching - either limes or hornbeam - makes a sort of "hedge on stilts" effect which is great and very architectural, even in the winter without leaves on the trees. I planted a line of 8 hornbeams for pleaching last year, and will start training them this year, looking forward to seeing it develop...

lost a couple of trees in the wind last night but nothing I felt too sad about so that's good. oh and half a plum tree which is sad but not fatal I don't think.

Levanna Sat 08-Jan-05 21:34:46

Sorry to hear about your trees. Mini espaliers sound like fun . In fact you've given me an idea of a better way to utilise the space we have!
I had thought of trying a fedge for a bit of height and interest.
Could you tell me more about 'pleaching' please?

princesspeahead Sat 08-Jan-05 22:17:35

you have to be a little careful with willows, they take a lot of water out of the ground. but if you really cut it back to the framework every year you would probably be OK...
pleaching is a form of training in a sort of espalier way. basically you plant a line (or a double line to make a walk or allee) of suitable trees (lime or hornbeam most usually - need to be flexible stems), with standard trunks, and train them along wires or another framework so that they form a sort of continuous aerial hedge with their trunks sticking down beneath. it is easier to see it - look at http://www.invectis.co.uk/sissing/sslime.htm which shows the very famous sissinghurst lime walk. there is also a good pleached hornbeam walk at Hidcote Manor. You need to have at least 4 trees I reckon to get the effect, the more the merrier though. If you have Monty Don's book he also has some good photos and info in there on pleaching, as does Roy Strong in his book "The Lasket" (about his own garden in wales)

JanH Sat 08-Jan-05 22:49:42

pph, I like "Lime Walk meets the Nuttery"!

How much time do you spend on your garden, as a matter of interest? It sounds like a full-time job...

Levanna Sun 09-Jan-05 00:17:47

Thank you for the link and info. That looks like an option worth contemplating for the 'screening' option. I recognise the formation now I've seen the pictures, I have seen it near to us. Recently they used this effect to surround some newly built properties.
Thanks for the warning about the willow. I'll research it much more thoroughly before going ahead.
Jan, so far none in my case. But It looks like it's going to be all day every day throughout spring and a good portion of summer too . But it's just the sort of thing I enjoy, and with any luck the little ones will too!

goellen Sun 09-Jan-05 00:24:05

Lovely evergreen fringey leaved acacia but check you get the right sort - the tree type one as opposed to the bushier ones.

princesspeahead Sun 09-Jan-05 10:02:17

not as much as I should janh! but luckily I have a full time gardener so he does all the backbreaking stuff and I waft around planning planting schemes...

Hausfrau Sun 09-Jan-05 10:37:51

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

princesspeahead Sun 09-Jan-05 19:02:21

don't you find them really creepy hausfrau? remind me of witches or something.... they scare me!

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