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Multistem tree??

Hi all, been on and off with this one so any new options welcome!

See pic. The patio will eventually go, to be redesigned with planting / more privacy / interest etc. Before this happens i want to get a head start and plant a couple of specimens, shrub or trees.

we’re kind of moving towards a ‘tropical’ ish planting scheme but we’re open to suggestions.


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  • Ps: I’m planning on lifting a couple of slabs and planting at the corners of the existing patio
  • BorderlineBorderline Posts: 4,687
    I think Sambucus Nigra 'Black Lace' would be a nice addition in those slots. Contrasting colour and can be pruned to allow you to see through the area. If you plant something too thick and tropical looking at the front, it may obscure the view to the rest of your garden/border.
  • FairygirlFairygirl west central ScotlandPosts: 49,107
    I think that would be a nice choice. There's already a lot of trees, so anything too 'hefty' could just end up being oppressive. 
    There's also a bright green Sambucus - Sutherland Gold - which would be brighter, as you already have quite a lot of dark colours in the garden, with the wood  etc.
    It's a place where beautiful isn't enough of a word....


  • Thank you @Borderline and @Fairygirl I love these ideas. Will they grow to 3m ish? Are they ‘standard’ as in a trunk and bushy top??? Thanks again!!
  • FairygirlFairygirl west central ScotlandPosts: 49,107
    No - they're technically shrubs. I doubt you could successfully make them into a tree shape, but perhaps someone has tried it  :)
    It's a place where beautiful isn't enough of a word....


  • Gotcha @Fairygirl. No reason I need a standard shape I suppose. Height wise do you think they’ll reach 3m? That height will give his privacy Into the kitchen from the windows beyond
  • FairygirlFairygirl west central ScotlandPosts: 49,107
    In theory - yes, they get to around that size. Takes a while though, and your soil and climate conditions will have an influence, as with any plant. 
    It's a place where beautiful isn't enough of a word....


  • ObelixxObelixx Vendée, Western FrancePosts: 28,567
    I had a sambucus Black Lace in my last garden that definitely grew to 3m and a bit more.  I encouraged it up by "lifting the crown" which simply means that when it's about 2m high you remove the lowest branches to given height and then also remove the lower stems from the remaining lower branches so that you get a tree like shape and some transparency rather than a solid blob. 

    After that, when the stems are bare in winter, you can see any other small stems or bigger branches need removing or shortening to give you clear growth without crossing stems that rub.   You also need to rub off any new buds that appear on those lower, bared stems in spring.

    I did the same with a eunoymus europa (spindle tree) and a parrotia persica (Persian Ironwood).
    "We don't stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing." - George Bernard Shaw
  • cmarkrcmarkr Posts: 141
    An alternative with a more 'tropical' feel could be a fatsia (japonica or other species), or a fruiting fig. More naturally provide multistem architecture (although I'm not sure how long it would take to get to a few metres) with large glossy palmate leaves.

    I do like the sambucus cultivars though, never considered lifting the crown on them though, will consider that for my own black lace once it's larger.
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