Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

A Tree Is Not Just for Christmas; Plant with Purpose, for Privacy or Simply for Beauty Support National Tree Week

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

A Tree Is Not Just for Christmas; Plant with Purpose, for Privacy or Simply for Beauty Support National Tree Week

Article excerpt

Byline: Pattie Barron

NATIONAL Tree Week, at the end of this month, celebrates the start of the winter tree-planting season. There is no better time to plant a tree, but on your own plot, you need to be creative.

Plant with a purpose. In London gardens where space is limited, a tree has to make a major contribution. Consider, for example, a line of high-level pleached hornbeams to screen out a neighbour's intrusive windows; an Amelanchier lamarckii just beyond the kitchen window to mark the seasons with spring flowers, summer fruits and autumn foliage; a group of silver-barked birch trees to light up a shady corner, or an ornamental cherry such as Prunus serrula, with glossy red bark and a fine show of blossom, to make magic in the front garden come springtime.

SPIRIT OF THE MED Instead of a climber that takes time to cover, you might instantly transform a wall with a series of vertical green columns. Pencil cypress trees summon the spirit of the Mediterranean and, provided you keep them in containers, will take up little space, but have great presence. They are also content to stay in pots for years, as is a fig tree, another Med habitue. It will bear most fruit when planted against a warm, southfacing wall, or make a great focal point in the centre of a sunny courtyard.

Don't shy away from a fig just because it loses its leaves in winter. That palebarked, curvy silhouette can look equally as striking bare as when it is clothed with giant-fingered leaves. And there are the figs as tasty as any in the Med after a good summer.

YEAR-ROUND GREENERY If you want an evergreen tree that will block a view or simply provide yearround foliage, you might consider strawberry tree Arbutus unedo. It is a compact tree with reddish bark, scarlet stems, shapely leaves and white, bellshaped flowers in autumn, at the same time as the hanging, strawberry-like round red fruits. It will grow happily in a container, which restricts any tree's growth and so widens your choices.

The inventive landscape designer Amir Schlezinger planted a windproof Scots pine on a roof terrace and added glamour to an urban courtyard with a fat-trunked tree fern an ideal choice because tree ferns thrive in low levels of light and, uniquely, need only a thin layer of soil to do well. …

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