Trees in your garden

An olive tree.

16-09-2019EFE

If one’s garden is large enough trees can be a lovely addition. Once planted we just have to wait for them to grow. It depends really on what you want them for, some are planted in the middle of the lawn for shade whilst others may be planted along the perimeter in a hedge formation. There are many properties I have seen where a row of Cypress trees left to grow tall are the ideal windbreak from our winter winds, they can also be kept cut into a lower hedge which grows quite compact for complete privacy. This type of tree will need regular cutting to keep it in shape.

A Weeping Willow can provide that wonderful sought after shade during the heat of the summer. Left to its own the tree needs little or no attention and will happily grow just from a branch being planted in the spot where you need it. I have two of these trees in the middle of lawns that are now 45 years old and apart from having to sweep up the leaves in the autumn have never demanded any great attention. Unfortunately they are showing their age now with some of the bark rotting back but one still produces a wonderful crop of mushrooms growing up the trunk, we discovered quite by accident that these wild mushrooms are edible and now look foreward to several crops a year with one picking just this last week.

Should any type of mushroom appear in your garden, especially now after the rains have started, be sure you know what they are before eating them, remember there are as many poisonous ones as there are edible mushrooms.

There are of course trees that just appear in the garden, their seed having been blown in on the wind. Bay trees seem to grow just where they want, plant one and after their tiny fluffy yellow flower has died back it may well surprise you just how many saplings will pop up all over the garden, I have counted at least thirty all around the garden. Here again the first tree was planted some forty five years ago and is now ten foot tall. Several others are just as tall, some more shrub like and never cut whilst one has been reduced to just one trunk and encouraged into the traditional standard shape. The rest are just single saplings taking root just where the seed must have fallen where it was, wanted or not even in the cracks in the paving stones. Try transplanting some into pots to give to someone with a patio.

Another tree that grows all over the place is the Olive tree. In their wild state they need grafting to produce an edible olive but left to their own devices, little wild olive trees will pop up all over the garden just where the tiny black black olive has fallen. Here again I am talking about dozens of tiny trees that just need to be pulled up if you don’t want an olive grove in your back garden, they do tend to have a fairly long root that really needs some pulling to get it all out.

Now an interesting tree that has crept into the garden is an Evergreen Oak or otherwise known as the Holly Oak. The leaves are the shapes of Holly and when the tree is mature, it has acorns similar to that of the Oak and are eaten by pigs. I have no idea where this tree has come from because I have never seen one in the vicinity, maybe the seed carried by birds if not just simply blown in on the wind.. It gets no special treatment, its just there at the bottom of the garden where it has been growing for the last two or three years. A garden can really be full of surprises and this is one of them.

Some years back we lamented the loss of our Palm trees brought on by the Red beetle that plagued the island. We are still aware of the top fronds tipping over when the beetle has got into a tree so the plague has not yet gone away. When it is obvious that the tree cannot be saved we are recommended to have it professionally cut down and removed. I had two such trees that were full of flower and fruit when in season. These trees self seeded and now I have Palm trees popping up all over so all was not lost when we had to have our first Palm tree cut down.

This is a tree that needs a lot of room whilst in its early stages with the most lethal spikes on the lower ends of the fronds, the spikes grow almost as long as knitting needles and will get at you no matter how carefully you cut them back.

Once it has formed a trunk the palm fronds will be out of reach but that takes several years so pull the tiny saplings up if you don’t want to live in a Palm forest.

There are so many more trees that look lovely in a garden as well as those grown for their fruit like Orange and Lemon trees. Citrus fruits are all grafted onto Bitter Orange or Pomegranate root stock and take about eight years to mature and produce fruit so this is one tree that is best purchased from a grower with fruit already showing.

We gardeners from northern countries always dream of growing something that does not survive in colder climates so an orange or a lemon surely is a must in every garden. Some variety of lemon are perpetual having ripe fruit, green fruit and sometimes flower all at the same time. The different types of oranges usually start ripening just before Christmas with the late varieties still on the trees in May.

The blossom of citrus fruit trees has the most wonderful fragrance so much so that the Valencia Coast of Spain is known as the Costa Azur, the name given to the fragrance from citrus fruits because at blossom time that is all you can smell.

So just one tree in the garden can cause just the same pleasure as well as picking the fruit when ripe.

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