Francesca’s Top 5 Favourite Trees!
My Top 5 Trees in no particular order!
Liquidambar styraciflua Worplesdon: I am sure many would agree with me in selecting this as a favourite tree! The predominant interest of this tree is its autumn colour however personally I like the tree all through the growing season with its leaves like a petite version of a Norway maple which always seems to look bright and green even when other trees are struggling with our varying weather.
Moving into autumn, although there is the finale red everyone is looking forward to, its transition between green, yellow, purples and reds is a multi-coloured display I think is unrivalled by another species. Something about the mix of colours makes me think of sweets.
The eventual autumn colour of the Worplesdon Sweet Gum is probably a little toned down from that of its parent but is equally as spectacular and overall grows with a beautiful pyramidal habit.
This tree is an excellent choice for someone with a larger garden or area to plant in as Liquidambar is capable of reaching a good mature height in the UK although generally not quite as large as in America where this species is native to. It would also make an impactful avenue tree where something more unusual than a typical lime is sought after.
Sorbus aria Lutescens: The main reason this Whitebeam is in my top 5 is for its foliage colour. Especially when the young leaf emerges, this was on the first trees that caught my eye when I first joined Barcham.
The leaves are quite early in the season so stand out against the bare twigs and green foliage other trees offer coloured somewhere in between a grey/silver/blue.
Other trees like Populus alba offer a similar silver colour to the leaf but in general are not as suitable for all planting sites given their invasive nature and large mature stature.
This Sorbus also grows as a well-rounded specimen which is in keeping with my love of uniformity!
Autumn sees orange/red berries produced by this tree which contrast with the silver foliage which turns yellow and falls soon after.
I would recommend this tree as a good choice to break up a lot of green in a planting scheme, a good singular garden tree which will also act as a good screen through summer or even an avenue tree where smaller specimen are required.
Prunus cerasifera Nigra: Purple is probably my favourite colour, so unsurprising, a tree with purple foliage throughout the season is something I like! The colour varies from day to day
but I think it often looks better on dull days when it appears a much deeper colour.
The Purple Leaf Plum doesn’t have the frilliest flower out of all the flowering cherry we stock but it is still pretty adorning the bare branches of this tree in early spring just as the foliage is also beginning to emerge and would certainly be something to look forward to if this tree was planted in your garden. The blossom colour occupies a white/pink middle ground with a dark maroon centre so is excellent if you are trying to avoid a mass of candy floss and still benefit from an abundance of flowers.
This Prunus is suitable for smaller gardens but not ideal close to buildings or paved areas given that the root systems of cherry blossoms can sometimes be invasive.
Magnolia Galaxy: It’s a little hard to choose between all of the different Magnolia’s out there but I have settled on the Galaxy which we grow as a standard tree at Barchams.
My reasoning is this cultivar grows in a perfect goblet shape which gets filled with pink tulip shaped flowers in the spring.
Weather dependent this tree can also give a smaller floral display in the summer which is another reason it’s a pretty choice when looking for an ornamental tree.
Its large leaves are quite a bright green so there is no need to worry about this tree creating a dull atmosphere.
I would recommend planting this tree as a feature specimen as it ideally needs its own space to shine. It is great for a driveway centre piece or the middle of a lawn where it can be viewed from all angles.
Carpinus betulus Fastigiata: As I am a big fan of uniformity in the trees the cultivations of Hornbeam are great given their upright/rounded branching habit which remains with relatively
This hornbeam probably isn’t the most interesting or ornamental tree but I think it has excellent practical merits.
This tree can often be a great choice for screening as despite being deciduous each specimen has a generous covering of foliage and for many people, screening is mainly required
through the summer months anyway and with this in mind it should not put you off planting one of these.
Hornbeam in general is very versatile as it can be planted as a singular specimen or used to as a hedge.
I would recommend this tree for deciduous screening, either stilted or from ground level.
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