The Perfect Trees For Small Gardens
Cercis canadensis ‘Forest Pansy’:
At the moment, my absolute favourite tree is Cercis Forest Pansy. This small tree is beautiful throughout spring, summer and autumn. It has delicate pink flowers that emerge on bare branches in the spring, just before the leaves start to appear. The leaves themselves open as tiny red hearts that transform into big heart-shaped green-purple leaves that seem to drip from the braches. They hold their purpley shades through summer, then gradually change into the most delightful mix of rusty autumn shades, that glow in the autumn sun. Every garden should have one.
This is a truly beautiful crab apple. The blossom begins to open from dark pink buds in late spring, to yield hundreds of white flowers that cover the tree. During autumn, clusters of small crab apples ripen to red-flushed, rusty orange fruits that cling to the tree well into winter. This variety is one of the most disease resistant crab apples, and will bring interest to any garden in the spring and autumn—not to mention the fruits are apparently very good for making crab apple jelly…
Prunus ‘Fragrant Cloud’:
If you are struggling to choose the perfect tree, you can’t go far wrong with a flowering cherry. Prunus Fragrant Cloud is a charming tree with delightfully scented, semi-double blossom that blooms in late spring. The large flowers open up white, and gradually fade to the palest pink. The leaves emerge just before the blossom as a coppery colour that turns mid-green for summer and then orange in the autumn.
Amelanchier ‘La Paloma’:
This graceful tree provides early spring interest with a profusion of dainty star-shaped flowers blooming in March. The blossom emerges alongside the young leaves which open a lovely dark red-bronze colour, fading to bronze-green in summer, and finish off with a vibrant mix of red and orange in autumn. This tree looks beautiful as a simple standard tree, but also lends itself well to a multi-stem form.
Pyrus calleryana ‘Chanticleer’:
This is on the large end of the ‘small tree scale’, although it’s neat, tight, conical habit means it can be used in similar situations to smaller trees. It’s another great blossom tree, with white flowers opening from pink buds in spring, and glossy dark green leaves that turn striking shades of red, orange and yellow in very late autumn. Although this is a deciduous tree, it is one of the last trees to display it’s autumn colours, therefore staying green well after many other trees have already dropped their leaves. This is a quality that makes it very good for screening!
From left to right: Cercis canadensis ‘Forest Pansy’, Malus ‘Evereste’, Prunus ‘Fragrant Cloud’, Amelanchier ‘La Paloma and Pyrus calleryana ‘Chanticleer’