Available space in London can be limited – we have to be careful when selecting trees to fit our small gardens. Here is a selection of our favourite trees that would work within a cosy little space.
- Olive tree
This Mediterranean species can be easily grown in the London micro climate adding a special silver leaf holiday-feel to our garden. Can be used in containers where we can prune the crown into a globose shape or planted in a border where it will grow slightly taller. We need to keep an eye on it and cut back regularly to maintain the desired shape.
- Specimen Acers
These trees are one of the most beloved of all: they remain small, they have a beautiful shape and their autumn leaf colour is amazing.
The most common ones are the Acer palmatum- Japanese maple cultivars, including ‘Bloodgood’, Sango-Kaku’ and Osakazuki.
- Multistem Juneberry trees
An edible fruit bearing tree that will delight you through all seasons: the smooth silver-brown branches for the Winter, the scented white flowers for Spring, tasty berries for Summer which will attract birds into the garden as well and the amazing red Autumn colour of the leaves.
- Dwarf Beech treeFagus sylvatica species are endemic trees in Southern England and they naturally grown up to 35 meters. But you can have a dwarf species in your garden if you are really into this trees: Fagus sylvatica ‘Purpurea Nana’ or Fagus sylvatica ‘Asterix’ are your best choices.
- Smoke tree
One of the best trees for Autumn colour. You can buy many different cultivars for Cotinus coggygrya, the best purple varieties are the ‘Royal Purple’ and ‘Flame’. You can train them to be small trees or shrubs as well.
- Birch trees
Not many tree can compete with the white bark of the Betula species. Even though these trees can grow quite tall, their foliage is loose and light, making it into the perfect tree when we requite some dappled shade. A row of Betula trees can create excellent rhythm and frame for a border.
- Judas treeAnother small, Mediterranean and highly ornamental tree: Cercis siliquastrum. The flowers are the born on the old brachnes and the trunk of the tree: this botanical phenomenon is called cauliflory.
- Multistem Crab Apples
Another multistem and edible tree that will look great in a border, especially with ornamental grasses. The crab apples will invite wildlife into the garden as the flowers need bees and butterflies to pollinate and the fruit is a favourite feed for songbirds. For human consumption they need to be cooked and sweetened, like a jelly or jam.
- Portugal LaurelThe best tree for crown screening is the Prunus lusitanica ‘Angustifolia’ – the stems are usually 1.8 m high and that’s where the foliage will start, creating perfect privacy form undesired view.
- Tree ferns
A must-have for an exotic themed garden: these tree ferns are native to Eastern Australia, but will love the climate in London.
They look especially good when under lit with decorative lights.