Branching out into small spaces

: PA Photo/FrankPMatthews Nursery
: PA Photo/FrankPMatthews Nursery

If any of you think that you can only plant a tree if you have a large garden, think again.

There’s a plethora of trees out there, which are compact, but look amazing as stand-alone features in a small space, providing colour, texture and form to a smaller garden.

So don’t delay, do your bit for National Tree Week, the UK’s largest tree festival, and plant a tree which won’t take up too much of your garden space, but will make a spectacular difference. Here are some of the best:

Amelanchier: These unsung heroes have started to become popular at the large horticultural shows in recent years and among the most gorgeous is A. x grandiflora ‘Ballerina’, which produces profuse white spring flowers before the bronze tinted young leaves emerge. A. lamarckii, the snowy mespilus, is often grown as a multi-stemmed type but can be trained as a light standard. Its elegant branches carry copper-coloured leaves in spring at the same time as starry white flowers, while in autumn the small oval leaves colour brilliantly.

Japanese Flowering Cherry (Prunus Shogetsu): This is a stunning stand-alone specimen which enjoys a long season of interest, from its spring blossom of double pink-and-white flowers to its bronze leaves which turn fiery red throughout autumn. It prefers a sunny spot with moist, well-drained soil. The blossom on flowering cherries can be a fleeting delight, but the slim, upright Prunus ‘Amanogawa’ is ideal for a narrow garden, which takes up little space and is adorned with double pale pink flowers in mid spring.

Flowering dogwood: These are ideal small trees if you have neutral to acid soil. Among the finest of the conical types is Cornus florida f. rubra, which bears beautiful pink blooms in early summer followed by rich autumn leaves. Other showstoppers include C. florida ‘Cherokee Chief’, which produces deep rose-red bracts, and C. ‘Porlock’, which displays flame-coloured autumn hues on some of its leaves enhanced by the profusion of strawberry-like fruits which hang from the branches. Flowering dogwoods do best in well-drained but fertile soil rich in organic matter.