Sunday, January 31, 2010

Our Garden in Winter

The witch hazels are just coming into their pomp at the moment - though photographs never do justice to them. They always feature in my opening garden blog of the year. These are about ten feet tall - and you can note the spidery flowers which appear in close-up on the next photograph. We grow several different types of Hamamelis, including some of those with orange flowers. But the best is the old favourite, Hamamelis mollis. I think this one is named 'Pallida'.

The most striking feature of our garden at the moment is the white stemmed birches. They are at their best as dusk. Some of these are getting on for ten years old. We have planted a few new Betula utilis or jacquemontii during the winter as part of a redesign of one of the borders. When I was ill a few years ago, we planted 'hundreds of shrubs and small trees - which are now forcing out the herbaceous plants. There will be much less work, but less colour. Choosing trees with attractive trunks was our compromise.

And this is the best stemmed tree of all - the Acer griseum. Its a truly spectacular small tree, with 'peeling' bark all the year through. Its called the 'paper bark maple'. Its a tree with everything, including really strong leaf colour in the autumn. When this tree reached ten feet, I trimmed off lots of the lower 'leafed' branches, to maximise stem exposure. Acer griseums are not cheap, but they are a must have.

Another great tree for stem colour is the Prunus serrula. Perhaps they're a touch too strong for the small garden, but the trunks are just so shiny and colourful that we've planted a few of them. Behind is a little clump of river birches. Not sure of the botanical name of these, because we've planted several betulas that were labelled 'river birch' over the years - and they have turned out to be different. Makes no difference, because they are all attractive.

1 comment:

Peter Williams said...

I like to see your slightly off-topic posts because we all need a rounded view of the world around us and not ever be totally obsessed and unbalanced by politics. . . there are some nice Witch Hazel photographs here:

>>Re Boris: a great post today, and also recorded by me with due veneration at: