2016 Year of the English garden

Named year of the English garden, 2016 promises to be an exciting year for UK gardeners. 2016 also marks the 300th anniversary of Capability Brown. Born in 1716, he is arguably the most acclaimed of all British garden designers with iconic gardens such as Blenheim Palace and Chatsworth to his illustrious name. He is famed for his open natural landscapes complete with rolling hills, water features that look anything but artificial and dramatic use of majestic specimen trees. There will be many events throughout the country all through the year celebrating his gardens and gardens inspired by his designs. More info on the Visit England website…

Plant a Tree in 2016!
In this year of the English garden, we could do a lot worse than to have a New Year’s resolution to each plant a tree. Capability Brown made a strong feature of specimen trees in his gardens. He was particularly fond of the Cedar of Lebanon tree (Cedrus Libani) which he used to dramatic effect in his landscape designs.

You can never have too many trees and here the UK we do need more trees to be planted. Most of us are not aware that we are one of least wooded countries in Europe for example! With a forest area of only 12%, the UK some catching up to do when compared with a European average of 35%.

Trees improve the beauty of any landscape. Trees offer support and provide homes for our precious wildlife. Providing shelter and shade, trees encourage us to spend more time in our outside spaces.

Eucalyptus trees, planted 20 years ago, already impressively mature
Eucalyptus trees, planted 20 years ago, already impressively mature, proudly showing off their dramatic bark

 

Which Tree to Choose?
British native trees include the evergreen Yew Tree. Also evergreen, the Holm Oak tree has been growing happily in the UK since the 1500’s. For something more exotic, UK-hardy palm trees such as Trachycarpus Fortunei (Chusan Palm) are ideal for a more tropical effect. If you don’t have a lot of space (Cedar of Lebanon Trees can grow to 40 metres in height!), there are plenty more modest options (in terms of size) to choose from.

For small, narrow spaces consider tall yet slim Italian Pencil Cypress trees. For ornamental flowering consider flowering dogwoods Cornus Kousa and Cornus Florida, highly ornamental trees that generally don’t get overly big.

Pencil or Tuscan Cypress trees used to dramatic and elegant effect here in their native Italy
Pencil or Tuscan Cypress trees used to dramatic and elegant effect here in their native Italy

 

Fast growing options include evergreen Eucalyptus Trees and Leyland Cypress (Leylandii). If you prefer a fruit tree, you could go for a hardy Olive Tree or a Cherry Tree.

Pair of Yew trees of varying maturities
Pair of Yew trees of varying maturities adding structure and a contrasting deep green to the landscape