Seeing the wood for the trees
As I mentioned on an earlier page
, birds like trees to perch on before they dive onto the peanut feeder.
However, our garden is a typical 25' x 30' town house garden, not exactly huge so the trees that we planted had to be small and non-spreading. Luckily there are many trees described on their leaflet as "ideal for the small garden". We wanted trees that would feed the birds, or be otherwise attractive to wildlife, so no oaks, beeches or other stuff like that.
List of trees
Our garden is split into two equal parts. From the house there is a patio area from one side of the garden to the other so nowhere to plant any trees directly in the ground. Any trees here would have to go into patio pots.
Our first tree was a crab-apple
, Malus 'Gorgeous'
which is a small tree that flowers in April and May and gives persistent red fruit throughout the summer (although not ripe until late summer or even autumn). You can make crab apple jelly from the fruit or leave it for the birds (which we do). In February 2004 I planted a number of Primula
(Primrose) in the patio container for this tree, as shown in these two pictures here(taken with my new digital camera see grey bar, right, for more details).
Such was success with this first tree we planted several more in quick succession, but this time in the part of the garden beyond the patio. This used to be a lawn area before we pebbled it all (no more grass cutting for us!). We scraped back the pebbles (which are laid on a plastic sheet) and dug a hole. Into the hole we put a Acer negundo 'Flamingo'
, a variegated Box Elder
, also known as a Ash-leaved Maple. This has delicate pink foliage that gradually turns green with white and pink variegations. Very pretty and the birds love sitting in it.
The next one was another crab apple, Malus 'Royal Beauty'
, very different from the first one. This one is a weeping crab, with small red fruit that do not drop off. Ideal for birds to eat. It flowers in May with purple reddish flowers with the fruit following in the autumn.
(pronounced Ko-tony-aster, nothing to do with Easter or Coton) was next, which has masses of red berries in the autumn and is weeping too.
Finally, and not having a chance to do anything this year, was an Akebia quinata
: this is a semi-evergreen hardy climber that we are growing up the trunk of an old conifer tree that we had cut down last year as it was taking over the garden and blocking out the light. The Akebia is supposed to have a chocolate scent!
More importantly, the flowers are eye-catchingly purple and have a spicy scent - not that we have had the chance to witness this yet and we planted this very late in the year, just to get it established for Spring 2004.
The idea was to provide some greenery in our garden during the winter for our birds, but it is so tiny at the moment that it has had no effect yet.
Our final tree is a non-weeping Willow. All Willows are of the genus Salix, and this is a Salix Flamingo
, which has red variegated leaves and produces an enormous range of colours in the garden, says the accompanying leaflet.
It certainly was pretty last year, but was very small. It grew well, and I had to prune a couple of shoots that were going mad.
This tree is planted in a patio tub and sits, as you would expect, on the patio. In the tub I planted some
to give some colour during the drab winter months.
It certainly brightened up our patio and the birds have taken to using the twigs to perch on. I don't know if they will be able to do that once the leaves cover them, though!
Any tree can be planted in a patio container - just make sure you water it well, because it can get no moisture from elsewhere. And some fertiliser in the spring would not go amiss, either.