What is a tree?

A tree is a plant that grows on a single stem or trunk and it offers a certain presence and structure in a garden which cannot be gained from other types of plants. Trees are often thought of as damaging to property but with the right tree in the right place, there should be no problems.

Why have trees in the garden?

Trees have various uses in the garden, and it really depends on the effect you want to create.
You could add multiple trees to create a woodland effect, a single specimen tree grown for its flowers, fruit, leaf or bark colour and texture, or pleached trees for a more formal effect.
One of the most valuable uses is to add shade, which is very welcoming on hot summer days, and to screen unsightly views or neighbouring properties.
From a design perspective, trees also give the benefit of structure in winter and adding height to a garden.

Some good small trees

I personally think that the best trees are those that offer interest two or three times a year e.g. Betula utilis var. jacquemontii (Himalayan birch) offers catkins in the Spring, attractive foliage in the summer and striking bark which shines out in the Winter.

Trees for interesting flowers as well as fruit include Malus (Crab apple),  Sorbus (Rowan) and ornamental cherries.  Some cherries also have interesting bark e.g. Prunus serrula.

Trees grown for their flowers and autumn colour include Prunus (Cherries) and Amelanchier lamarckii.

Some cherries also have interesting bark e.g. Prunus serrula.

Trees for Spring interest include Magnolia, Prunus, Amelanchier and Laburnum x waterii ‘Vossii’.

A good tree for late interest is Prunus x subhirtella ‘Autumnalis’ which flowers from autumn to spring if the weather is mild.

For good foliage in a sheltered area choose a Japanese maple e.g. Acer palmatum ‘Bloodgood’.


Choosing a tree

Although by purchasing a mature tree you will get more of an instant effect, a younger tree will be able to adapt better to the new site and within 3-4 years will reach the same height as mature plants planted at the same time. They also tend to be more healthy and grow more strongly.

Trees can be purchased as either:

  • Bare root - these have been grown in a field and lifted when required but only between November and March. They develop a good fibrous root system and are often less expensive than container grown trees.
  • Container grown - These are grown in containers and are available up to about 1.6m in height.
  • Containerised - These are field grown trees lifted and potted up for sale. This has the advantage that they can be planted at any time of the year.
  • Root-balled - Trees are lifted with a ball of soil around the roots which is then covered in breathable material like sacking.

Examples of trees:

Click on any of the images below to enlarge and read more information.

“We were really impressed with the design service offered by Jayne. Jayne was able to take our initial brief and translate this into a stunning contemporary design that really made the most of the small space we had and provided a great backdrop to our new kitchen extension. The combination of hard landscaping and planting have completely transformed the garden. Over several meetings she was able to communicate the concepts and hone the design and even sample materials. She then recommended and then liaised with the landscaper to ensure the implementation went to plan before completing the final planting.”

Mrs Fenner
Marston Moretaine

"I found Jayne to be very friendly and pleasant to work with. The design is lovely - very attractive. I was impressed with Jayne's willingness to adapt to and take account of our cost constraints and likes and dislikes regarding plants. All work was carried out efficiently and pleasantly. Jayne was always ready to discuss and advise about design and plants and has transformed a boring and rather difficult small garden into an interesting area which will only improve as the plants grow and mature."

Mr & Mrs Barwell
Welwyn Garden City

We love our garden now. Our two dogs had pretty much destroyed it and it had become an embarrassment. We never used it, not even just for ourselves. It now has structure and a proper patio area and is always good to look at even in this bleak weather!

This will be our second spring with it and I'm really looking forward to seeing everything grows again and how it will change this year.

Mr & Mrs Crooke

Jayne was always totally reliable, whether coming out to look at the garden or providing plans and ideas, and is a very knowledgeable plantswoman.

She had a good understanding of what I wanted to do with the garden, and always listened to my ideas and then made suggestions that were appropriate to the location and aspect.

Mr & Mrs Townsend
Houghton Conquest

Jayne's ideas of how to transform a long straight garden into something more interesting were quite inspirational. By introducing shape and perspective the garden now has structure.

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Mr & Mrs Collier

We were delighted with Jayne's approach to our garden and her understanding of what we were trying to achieve.

Her knowledge of plants and what will actually work is fantastic.

Three years on we are still delighted with our garden.

Mr & Mrs Bryant

Jayne has a real passion for gardening and her knowledge of plants is highly impressive. She seems to know exactly which plant will thrive in a particular part of the garden - sunny, shady, soil type and so on. She also thinks about the proportions and overall effect.

To work with, she is extremely flexible and happy to give you just the bits of advice or help you need.

Mel Henson
Welwyn Garden City