Even the most dedicated maintenance cannot make a large tree suitable for a small garden, and there is a list of smaller garden trees that are ideally suited to such a calling. All of them are rated by the RHS as H4, or ‘hardy’ so will be suitable for most gardens, and all are quite easy to grow. Just because your garden is small, don’t think you can’t have trees.
If your garden is very small, it might be best to choose a deciduous tree that will lose its leaves in winter, thus allowing your home to receive much-needed winter sun for warmth in the colder months. A small evergreen tree in garden might be ideal for providing privacy for your garden from neighbouring upstairs’ windows. In small gardens, it is a good idea to prune the lower branches of trees as they grow to allow more light into the garden or house.
Winter has its ups and downs, whilst we’re treated with festive cheer and an excuse to eat all the food we can stomach, we must also suffer cold weather and darkened days. The flower garden too can produce a surprising number of blooms during the winter months, with everything from jasmine to aconites around to provide a splash of colour during the colder months. But, while the sun may be dimmed, winter gardens have never been brighter and here are ten reasons why:
1. Cornus alba ‘Sibirica’
Otherwise known as Red-barked Dogwood, no pun intended, this cultivar has been granted the esteemed honour of Award of Garden Merit, based on its beauty and hardiness despite a very low level of maintenance. Deciduous garden shrubs and more rarely small trees with four-petaled flowers in early spring. Grown in full sun it will yield bright red bark and need only be trimmed once every spring to provide best results.
There are several types of Ivy – German Ivy, Swedish Ivy, Ground Ivy etc. Here we are dealing with the ‘True’ Ivies plants which are all varieties of Hedera. These Ivies thoroughly deserve their good reputation as decorative plants, and have long been a basic feature of Pot Groups. As climbers they can quickly clothe bare surroundings, provided you choose a vigorous Hedera helix variety.The stems bear aerial roots which cling to wallpaper, woodwork etc. The larger leaved, slower growing Canary Island Ivy does not possess these clinging aerial roots, so adequate support is necessary.
Ivies are not only climbers. They are just as useful as trailers in hanging baskets or as ground cover plants between larger plants, and it is here that the smaller bushy varieties come into their own. Examples of suitable types are Eva, Glacier and Needlepoint Ivy.
Many fine gardens evolve gradually through the loving attention of their owners with little or no outside help. But when it comes to creating a new garden design, or taking over an existing one that has fallen on hard times or that does not suit your taste or needs, it is well worth seeking advice from a professional garden designer.
The issues involved can be surprisingly complex, from drainage and construction through to siting trees and planting a border. How to deal with slopes and levels? How to forge a harmonious relationship between house, garden and surrounding landscape? What materials to use? How large to make a patio or pergola, how to site a water feature, pond or lake? How and where to incorporate outdoor lighting? Might planning permission be needed for any of this, and what order of costs might be involved?
Some people enjoy the natural look of a clay pot, especially when the appearance of the plant rather than its furnishing value in the room or garden patio is all-important. The overall effect of most Specimen Plants is, however, improved by being placed in a pot holder. These pot holders come in many materials, shapes and prices – you can buy ones made of wire, plastic, pottery, wood, glass fibre, cane or metal. Apart from these shop-bought types there are also many ordinary household objects which can be used – popular examples include copper bowls and kettles. The one rule for any pot holder is that either the lower part or all of it must be waterproof.
You don’t want to be caught out at the last minute when it comes to planning your winter garden. The coldest months of the year are also the most barren when it comes to the natural world, so if you want to avoid your garden looking like a plant and shrub graveyard, it’s time to start thinking about how you’re going to ensure your yard keeps up with the season. It’s a common misconception that gardens during the winter have to look drab and dull compared with their summer counterparts. This is simply not true. By selecting the correct plants to put in your garden during December, January and February, you can add a splash of colour and more to help brighten up those cold wintry days.
So what can you do to help your winter garden survive the cold?