Jim has asked the team to each choose their best tree for a small garden and is planting them all in Beechgrove to compare and contrast.
Saughton Park is a faded, hidden garden gem in the south west of Edinburgh. The Royal Caledonian Horticultural Society, or the Caley, as it's affectionately known, has taken up the challenge of renovating this once-grand park and garden. George will visit the project on a regular basis during its design and build.
It was not a bad morning weather-wise at Beechgrove but temperatures are still dropping at night so be careful with your tender plants. Carole and Jim were looking at the splash of colour shown by the spring bedding. Last year the display consisted of varied spring bedding with the bulbs planted throughout the entire scheme which did not really work because the bulbs obscured the bedding
plants. This year the bulbs are in the centre of the display and the spring bedding has been planted around the perimeter. Narcissus ‘Rapture’ (a cyclamineus Narcissus) looked lovely with its reflex petals. Narcissus ‘Silver Chimes’(Jonquilla) is a multi-headed variety which is highly scented like jasmine or hyacinth.
Carole was not too sure of the mixed colours of primula but they seem to work well with Tulip ‘Concerto’. Tulip ‘Foxtrot’ is a late flowering variety with apple blossom coloured blooms. It is already flowering in pots but it is later flowering in the bed. It coordinates well with the white Polyanthus. The daddy of all the bulbs was a Tulip that we don’t know the name of. We had ordered Shakespeare but Carole wondered if the bulbs had been wrongly named as she knew ‘Shakespeare’ as a compact tulip with stripy leaves and yellow to orange blooms. This variety turned out to be too tall to show off the blue polyanthus underneath but is a real show stopper... whatever it is.
The typical size of a UK garden is 14 square metres which means that many people have limited space in which to garden so it is really important that you choose the right tree for the job for proportion and decorative value. Each of our 5 presenters has chosen their favourite tree for a small garden to add to the trees already at Beechgrove. Criteria for their choices included shape and size, rate of growth, pruning regime, autumn colour fruit etc. Into each of the planting holes went mycorrhizae to aid root establishment and a bit of fertiliser. Jim also demonstrated a range of staking techniques. There are two main reasons for staking young trees, particularly if they are tall specimens and if the site is exposed. Firstly, to anchor the root ball preventing it from moving about. Secondly to keep the main stem vertical, whilst realising that swaying of a stem does help to strengthen and thicken it. Presenter’s trees for a small garden choices: Jim: Prunus ‘Snow Showers’ – a lovely little weeping cherry suitable for most gardens, with an estimated height and spread of just 3 x 3 metres in 20 years. Th is tree will grow in most sites but does not tolerate very wet soil. Chris: Cornus controversa ‘Pagoda’ – spring flowers,autumn berries and stunning autumn colour foliage. This is a slightly more vigorous form of the more common variegated form C. controversa ‘Variegata’Height – up to 10 m spread to 8metres. Carole: Sorbus vilmorinii – beautiful lacy foliage, springflowers, autumn berries and can be grown in most soil types. Eventual height and spread in 10 – 20 years – 2.5 – 4m. Garden staff: Crab Apple ‘Royalty’ –Malus Royalty is an ornamental crab apple with attractive solid dark red flowers. The autumn fruits are a deep red colour, whilst the bronze leaves are impressive from spring to autumn Height – 3 – 4 m after 5 – 10 years. George: Amelanchier ‘Rainbow Pillar’ – white flowers, autumn colour and grows on most types of soil. A lovely new introduction from Ohio which will grow to 5 m in height and 2.5m spread. Brian: Acer grosseri var. hersii – a snake bark maple with grey green foliage and beautiful snakeskin bark. fast-growing tree with year-round interest. Reaches specimen size quickly. Growth then slows. Eventua height and spread – 7 – 9metres.
1. No apparent staking, the root ball being anchored below soil level. Three wooden pins are put into the soil around the rootball and then these are attached to horizontal cross pieces. This is mainly used for bigger specimens.
2. Double upright stake to 30cm above ground - 30-40cm apart (with crossbar 30cm above
ground from prevailing wind side.)
3. Oblique stake.
4. Single upright stake to 30cm above ground.
5. Single upright stake to start of ‘head’.
6. Double upright 30-40cm apart with crossbar to start of ‘head’. (Crossbars to be screwed to the
Other trees already at Beechgrove suitable for small gardens are:
The Siberian Pea tree – or Caragana arborescens.This is a very small, weeping tree and so is ideal for any small garden and makes a very attractive feature tree. In May it has with yellow, pea-like scented
flowers that are popular with bees. It is very tough and will do well in poor soils, semi shade
and has good drought tolerance once established. Caragana will reach 3 x2 m (or less) in 20 years so is perfect for smaller gardens. Another of Jim’s favourites is Prunus serrula – the Tibetan cherry which has been in the Beechgrove garden for about 20 years and still really well contained and could be planted in any small garden. Again, it is a good all-rounder, growing in most soil types and
positions. Ultimate height and spread in 20 years is 8 –10m. It features wonderful peely red bark.
Another topper in Jim’s opinion was Amelanchier lamarckii (the Snowy Mespilus). This is small, tough and graceful, and is ideal for an exposed or difficult position. April brings a profusion of star-shaped, white flowers with bronze tinged young leaves, followed later in the year by striking red autumn colour. Height and spread in 20 years is only 4m x 3m.
|The Beechgrove Garden ep.4 2017|