Acer (maple). Trees in this genus range from forest specimens to mere shrubs. The main appeal of the smaller trees is their vivid autumn colouring, attractive bark and winged fruits. Mostly they need moist, well-drained, lime-free soil, plus protection from direct sunlight and cold, drying winds.

There are many attractive forms of A.japonicum and A. palmatum, both known as Japanese maples. Average height is 6 m.

‘Aconitifolium’ has deep lobed leaves which are crimson in autumn.

‘Aureum’ is slow-growing, with yellow leaves turning red in autumn; ‘Vitifolum’ turns a rich ruby-red in autumn.

The leaves of A. palmatum turn to orange and red in autumn. The purple summer foliage of A.p.

‘Atropurpureum’ becomes more intense as the season advances.

‘Osakazuki’ shows several changes of shade.

‘Senkaki’ (coral bark maple) has young branches of a lovely coral red during the winter.

The so-called snake bark maples have distinctively striated or marbled bark in addition to good autumn colouring. Under this general heading come A. capillipes, A. davidii ‘George Forrest’, A.forrestii, A. grosser and its variety bersii, A. henryi, A. pensylvanicum, A.p. ‘Erythrocladum’, A. miinerve and A. ‘Silver Vein’. Average heights are 4.5-6 m.

Other small maples of note include A. ginnala, 3-4.5 m (10-15 ft), which has beautiful red autumn foliage, and A. griseum (paper bark maple) growing to 12 m (40 ft) with age. This name refers to the peeling bark, revealing a reddish-brown trunk. Distinctive trifoliate leaves turn bright orange-red in autumn.

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Finally, there is A. psettdoplatanus ‘Brilliantissimum’, which is very slow-growing and has young foliage of a striking shrimp-pink. A worthy specimen tree may attain about 6-9 m (20-30 ft). Alnus (alder). Hardiness and a preference for damp, heavy soil make this a useful genus of deciduous trees for situations where many others might not prosper. Alders will, in fact, grow in most soils other than shallow chalk.

A.firma, reaching 3 m (10 ft), is worth considering for its interesting cone-like fruits. A. glutinosa ‘Imperialis’, height 10-20 m (33-66 ft) is a tall, graceful tree but grows only slowly. It has lovely feathery leaves.

A. incana (grey alder) eventual height 18 m (60 ft), is a very tough tree with leaves that are grey beneath. ‘Aurea’ is smaller and slower-growing, reaching about 3-12 m (10-40 ft). The young shoots are red and the early foliage yellow.

Amelanchier (snowy mespilus). This deciduous rival, in both spring and autumn, to the flowering cherries has a multi-stemmed habit and grows well under similar conditions to the alders. A. lamarckii, height 6-9 m (20-30 ft), is laden with white blossom in spring, while the autumn foliage is ablaze with red and crimson.

Aralia elata (Japanese angelica tree) is a deciduous species of variable height. Of shrubby habit, a tree-like form is obtained by removing suckers, this giving a small, exotic-looking tree with large, pinnate leaves. The flowers, whitish and foamy, rise above the top cluster of leaves in early autumn. There is a variegated form which is even more attractive but in short supply.

Cercissiliqttastriim (Judas tree). Height 6 m (20 ft). This is a slow-growing deciduous tree of great charm, the purplish-pink, pea-like flowers appearing in clusters ahead of the delicate olive-green leaves. In a good season the flowers ‘set’ to produce masses of brown pods, which persist all winter.

Cornus (dogwood). This variable genus ranges from ground-cover plants to shrubs and small trees. Of particular appeal is C. kousa var. chinensis, which attains a height of about 6 m (20 ft).

The masses of white flowers, in June, are for the most part bracts. The small central flowers turn to ‘strawberries’ in a good season. As autumn approaches, the foliage becomes plum-col

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oured and then crimson. When this has fallen, the patchily-coloured bark remains attractive. Not for alkaline soils.

Cotoneaster frigidus, height 7.6 m (25 ft), makes a welcome addition to the garden when trained to a single stem. It is semi-evergreen and heavy-fruiting, with persistent red berries. C.f.

‘Fructuluteo’ has yellow berries.

Crataegus (ornamental thorn). Few trees are tougher, for they will withstand extremes of climate and are tolerant of most soils. Growing from about 4.5-7 m (15-23 ft), they mostly attain the size of an orchard apple tree.

The flowers are generally white, opening in May, and are followed by red-berried fruits, or ‘haws’. All species are deciduous. Some of the many attractive species include:

Crataegus crus-galli (cockspur thorn). Glossy leaves, colouring in autumn. Long-lasting berries. C.flava (yellow haw) has orange-yellow berries.

C. monogyna ‘Biflora’ (the Glastonbury thorn) sometimes flowers in winter as well as in spring. Cm. ‘Stricta’ is a more erect form, suitable for restricted areas.

C. oxyacantha. This species offers a wider range of flower colours. Among the more worthwhile forms are ‘Aurea’, with yellow berries; ‘Paul’s Scarlet’, with double scarlet flowers; ‘Plena’, with double white flowers; ‘Rosea Flore Pleno’, with double pink flowers.

C. x prunifolia is notable for its good autumn colouring and persistent, showy, red berries. It makes an attractive specimen tree. C. tanacetifolia is very nearly thornless, with greyish, tansy-like leaves and yellow, apple-like fruits.

Eucalyptus niphopbila grows to about 5 m (16 ft) and, like others of the genus, is evergreen. It is, perhaps, the hardiest of the smaller species, but avoid exposed positions and also alkaline soils. The trunk displays a patchwork of greys, greens and browns, and the young foliage is particularly attractive.

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Ilex (holly). Separate male and female plants occur in this evergreen genus. Although some of the females bear a reasonable crop of berries when planted alone, better results are produced when there is a male nearby. I. x altaclarensis and I. aquifolium are by far the most widely grown, and there are a good many named forms of each. I. x altaclarensis ‘Camelliifolia’, a female, has splendid glossy leaves which are almost spineless, and large berries. Height is up to 9 m (30 ft). I. aquifolium ‘Golden Queen’ is, oddly enough, a male form. The leaf margins are yellow. Height up to 10.5 m (35 ft). I. a. ‘J. C. van top, a female but reasonably self-fertile, makes a tall tree of 10 m (33 ft) and over. It is almost spineless and bears masses of red berries. Laburnum (golden chain). The common species, L. anagyroidcs, which grows to about 4.5-6 m (15-20 ft) has green leaves.

All laburnums are deciduous. Unfortunately, the seeds are poisonous, a danger which may be lessened by growing L. x xvatereri ‘Vossii’. This sets less seed than others. Mains (crab apple). Grown primarily for their flowers and fruits, the range of species and varieties is quite extensive. In general, these deciduous trees differ little from culinary apples, and the larger forms may be kept within bounds by similar pruning.

M. coronaria. Height to 5.5 m (18 ft). Fragrant pink flowers and good autumn colouring. M.

‘Dorothea’ is a slow-growing tree that remains a dainty 3 m (1 o ft) after many years, but may be difficult to obtain. M. floribunda. Height 3.6-4.5 m (12-15 ft)- Laden with pinky-white flowers that open from crimson buds in May.

The young leaves of M. ‘Profusion’ are copper-coloured, the fragrant flowers a mass of red. It grows 4.5-6 m (15-20 ft). M. ‘Royalty’, growing to a similar height, has crimson flowers and reddish-purple leaves.

Prunus. Within this genus of deciduous trees come the flowering cherries, of which there are very many. Choice should be governed not only by their flowering qualities but also by autumn colouring.

P. x hillieri ‘Spire’ makes a narrow tree up to 7.6 m (25 ft) high. It has pink flowers, and crimson leaves in autumn. P. ‘Kursar’ grows slowly up to 9 m (30 ft) high. The pink flowers are borne quite early in spring, and the autumn colouring is early, too. P. ‘Pandora’, attaining 4.5m, has an upright habit and carries pink blossom as early as March. The autumn tints are red.

Two trees of special note among the Japanese cherries are P.’ Amanogawa’ and P. ‘Jo-nioi’, both up to 7.6 m (25 ft) high. The former makes a narrow column and has double, shell-pink flowers which are scented. The latter has a more spreading habit, with strongly perfumed, single white flowers.

Rhus triebocarpa, growing to 4.5-6 m (15-20 ft), makes a splendid small tree; the downy leaves are green when young but turn deep orange in autumn. A better-known species is the suckering Typhina (stag’s horn sumach) which attains 3-4.5 m (10-15 ft), tolerates a wide range of growing conditions and displays superb leaf colouring from late summer onwards. R.t. ‘Laciniata’ has deeply-cut leaves. All species of Rhus cultivated outdoors in Britain are deciduous.

Robinia pseudoacacia (false acacia) is a deciduous tree well worth planting for its fragrant flowers in late spring and for its attractive pinnate leaves. It grows to about 9 m (30 ft) high, and the creamy-white blooms are carried in racemes. R.p. ‘Frisia’, which has golden yellow leaves, can be pruned to keep it under control if it becomes too large.

Sorbus aria (whitebeam) is noted tor the silvery undersides of its oval leaves. It grows to about 6 m (20 ft) and, like other Sorbus species, is deciduous. Creamy, hawthorn-like flowers open in May, and the autumn leaves are tinted. The young leaves of S.a. ‘Lutescens’ are creamy-white. 5. aucuparia (rowan or mountain ash) is unrivalled for the colouring of its fruits and autumn leaves.

‘Chinese Lace’ is worth considering for its delicate foilage. This turns reddish-purple in autumn and the fruits are red.

Styrax (snowbell). A moist but well-drained lime-free soil in a sheltered position suits this deciduous tree. II these conditions can be met, consider planting S. japonica, which grows to about 3 m (10 ft). In June, bell-shaped white flowers are carried in pendulous bunches.

Syringa (lilac). The following plants are sufficiently tree-like to be included here. Other lilacs will be found in Planning a Shrub Border. All are deciduous and grown for their late spring flowers.

S. vulgaris, (common lilac) grows to 6 m (20 ft). Some of the more attractive forms are ‘Charles X’, with single purple- red flowers; ‘Mme. Lemoine’, double white; ‘Primrose’, single pale yellow.

Weeping trees suitable for small gardens

Alnus incana ‘Pendula’. Height 3-10 m (10-33 ft)- A handsome grey alder. Betula pendula ‘Youngii’ (Young’s weeping birch). Height about 5 m (16 ft). Cotoncaster ‘Hybridus Pendulus’. Evergreen. Grafted, it grows to a height of 3m (10 ft). Red autumn fruits.

Crataegus monogyna ‘Pendula’. Height about 5 m (16 ft). A graceful weeping thorn, with white flowers in spring and crimson leaves in autumn.

Ilex aquifolium ‘Pendula’. Height about 5 m (16 ft). Evergreen. A free-fruiting holly.

Laburnum alpinum ‘Pendulum’ (Scotch laburnum). Height about 3 m (10 ft). A slow-growing tree. L. anagyroides ‘Pendulum’ (common laburnum) Height about 3 m (10 ft).

Mains ‘Echtermeyer’ (syn. M. x purpurea ‘Pendula’). Height about 4 m (13 ft). A weeping crab apple, rosy-pink flowers and purple fruits.

‘Red Jade’. Height about 5 m (16 ft). Pink and white flowers, persistent red fruits.

Morns alba ‘Pendula’ (weeping white mulberry). Height about 5 m (16 ft).

Primus ‘Hilling’s Weeping’. Height about 4 m (13 ft). Superb white spring flowers and autumn colouring. P. subbirtella ‘Pendula’. Height about 3 m (10 ft). A lovely canopy of white flowers. P.

‘Kiku- sludare Sakura’. Height about 7 m (23 ft).

Bronze foliage, pink flowers.

Pyrus salicifolia ‘Pendula’ (weeping silver pear). Height about 5 m (16 ft). Graceful, willow-like leaves.

Salix caprea ‘Pendula’ (Kilmarnock willow). Height about 3 m (10 ft). Stiffly pendulous branches. S. purpurea ‘Pcndula’ (purple osier). Height 3111(10 ft) at most. Spring catkins before the leaves.

Sophora japonica ‘Pendula’ (Japanese pagoda tree). Height about 3 m (10 ft).

Creamy flowers in late summer.

Sorbus aria ‘Pendula’. Height about 3 m (10 ft). A small, weeping whitebeam.

S. aucuparia ‘Pendula’. Height about 5 m (16 ft). A wide-spreading mountain ash.

Ulmus glabra ‘Camperdownii’. Height 3 m (10 ft). A small but elegant elm.

U. x hollandica ‘Hillieri’. Height at most 1.5 m (5 ft). A miniature weeping elm.

Conifers suitable for planting in small gardens

Cedrus atlantica ‘ Aurea’ (golden Atlas cedar) eventually reaches 3-5 111 (10-16 ft). Its rate of growth is much less than the species. C.a. ‘Glauca Pendula’ a weeping form of the blue Atlas cedar, makes a fine specimen planting. Its dimensions may be about 1.5-2.4 m (5-8 ft) after 10 years. C. dcodara ‘Aurea’ (golden deodar) grows to 3-4.5 m (10-15 ft) after perhaps 25 years.

C. libani ‘Nana’ is a very slow-growing version of the cedar of Lebanon, eventually reaching 3111(10 ft). Cepbalotaxus barringtonia var. drupacea (cow’s tail pine). More shrub than tree, it barely reaches 3 m (10 ft). This yew-like species will grow in shade and chalky soil, the female plants bearing olive-like fruits.

Clamaecyparis lawsoniana ‘Columnaris’ may be tall – 8 m (26 ft) – but its narrow form occupies little ground space. Its growth rate is 5 111 (16 ft) after 20 years, and its blue-grey foliage forms a striking focal point. C.l. ‘Ellwoodii’ grows slowly to form a blue column some 6 m (20 ft) high.

C. nootkatensis ‘Compacta’ makes a globular column, with light green foliage, some 3-4 m (10-13 ft) high. Its rate of growth is moderately slow. C. obtusa ‘Crippsii’ slowly reaches 5 m (16 ft). The foliage is a rich gold.

C. pisifera ‘Boulevard’ is a soft-foliaged ‘bush’ reaching some 3-4 m (10-13 ft) high. It has steel-blue foliage tinged with purple in winter.

Cryptomeria japonica ‘Elegans’ is an attractive conifer that grows at varying rates, depending on position, to about 6-8 m (20-26 ft). The blue-green foliage becomes bronze-coloured in winter. C.j. ‘Globosa Nana’ is a rounded compact bush which may eventually reach 1 m (3 ½ ft).

Ginkgo biloba (maidenhair tree). Although growing to 20 m (66 ft), this distinctive tree, which does not look like a conifer, grows extremely slowly and remains acceptably small for decades. The deciduous fan-shaped leaves turn bright gold in autumn.


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