SMALL GARDEN TREES
No garden should be without a tree: they add height, structure and a feeling of permanence and timelessness. But if your garden is small, it's hard to imagine shoehorning in a tree as well.
Well: that depends on what kind of tree it is. Of course if you plant large trees in small gardens they swamp the space and make it difficult to grow anything else – but there are dozens of smaller trees which never get much more than 7m (25ft) high and behave themselves perfectly.
You'll find a superb selection of smaller trees in our garden centre in Mullingar: to help you choose, here are our top ten favourites.
Japanese maples are all fabulous choices. Acer griseum has curling cinnamon bark, A. palmatum var. dissectum has filigree leaves that turn scarlet in autumn, and low-growing A. shirasawanum 'Aureum' has broad, graceful leaves in brilliant yellow.
Silver birch (Betula utilis var jacquemontii) has pure white bark that shines out in a winter border: grow a multistemmed specimen for maximum impact.
Crabapple (Malus x robusta) has the bonus of a heavy crop of edible fruit in autumn for making delicious crabapple jelly. 'Sentinel' is brilliant red, while M. x zumi 'Golden Hornet' has yellow fruit.
Star magnolia (Magnolia stellata) is the one to choose if you don't have enough room for the big magnolias: it stays to a compact 1.5m tall and still has big, pure white whirligig flowers in spring.
Strawberry tree (Arbutus unedo) gets its name from the fat red fruits it produces in autumn. It's great value, with glossy evergreen foliage and small bell-like white or pink flowers in spring.
Rowan (Sorbus aucuparia) is an easy-to-grow small tree about 5m (16ft) tall. It looks good most of the year, with white blossom in spring, good autumn colour and vibrant red berries.
- Snowy mespilus (Amelanchier lamarckii) is another hard-working tree, with delicate white blossoms arriving at the same time as the coppery young foliage in spring, followed by spectacular autumn colour.
Please ask the staff in our Mullingar garden centre for more information and advice about choosing trees for small gardens.