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Filling the space - ideas please.

I would like to add something to this space but keep dithering so would welcome any ideas. 
Ideally I don't want more work that a border would bring so I would like to add, perhaps another small tree and a shrub to plant in the weed filled grass I laughingly call lawn.
The tree is a Malus Royalty which has some growing to do. I like Amelanchiers, Cherries and white/pink flowering trees and shrubs in preference colour wise but open to ideas. 
I think I am more concerned about getting the composition right as then I could choose plants around that. 


  • PlantmindedPlantminded WirralPosts: 1,030
    It depends on the look you're after and how long you're prepared to wait for it!  Personally I would choose British native trees and shrubs, in particular Rowan (Sorbus aucuparia) and Elder (Sambucus nigra).  Both produce flowers and fruit which are attractive to wildlife and will produce a good height quite quickly.  Another tree worth considering is Whitebeam, Sorbus aria, also a British native. 

    Here's a link with some more options for you:

    British Trees and Shrubs To Plant In Gardens - Woodland Trust

    Hope this helps.
  • FairygirlFairygirl west central ScotlandPosts: 46,449
    You'll still need to create a bed/border of some kind in the grass. Just planting stuff directly into grass is never the best idea. Too easy for plants of any kind to get swamped by grass, and too easy to damage trunks/stem with a mower. 
    Do you mean you want to plant alongside the existing tree, or in another part?

    Also - what is the soil like, and your climate? Those are factors in deciding on the right shrubs/trees. No point putting in something that needs nice free draining soil and warmer, drier conditions if you're in a very wet ,cool location with heavy clay soil. 
    It's a place where beautiful isn't enough of a word....

  • alfharris8alfharris8 Posts: 255
    I think what I mean is a couple of (eventually) large specimen shrubs or another small tree and a large shrub to add interest to the space without adding perennials etc like a traditional border.
    I thought I would just make a circular planting space around the plant that I would keep free of grass etc.
    Thanks for the link and the advice re soil/climate etc.
  • FairygirlFairygirl west central ScotlandPosts: 46,449
    The trees already mentioned would be fine, although rowans need plenty of water to stay happy, so that's where the soil and climate come in  :)
    Easy shrubs like Potentilla or Spirea are happy in almost any site. The former flower for along period, and the latter come in various varieties so flowering can vary. White varieties of both.  Deutzias and Exochordas would also be fine, and are easy to keep in check if they get a bit too big later on. The former are summer flowering, and the latter are a bit earlier. Weigelas are also easy and happy in most soils and sites. 
    Viburnums are fairly adaptable - load of varieties.
    Pieris too if you have neutral to alkaline soil which doesn't dry put readily. 
    Bear in mind that if you have any shrub near a tree, they will get more shade as the tree grows, and the soil can become drier, so that's where climate comes into play  :)
    It's a place where beautiful isn't enough of a word....

  • alfharris8alfharris8 Posts: 255
    @Fairygirl - thank you for a lovely reply. 
    Much to consider. 
  • FairygirlFairygirl west central ScotlandPosts: 46,449
    There's also hydrangeas @alfharris8, if the soil's moisture retentive enough. Most like some shade, so that could be awkward until the trees are big enough, but take a look at the oak leaf ones. They can take more sun than most of the others, and have beautiful autumn colour, and white flowers. I have two of them, and it's that autumn colour that I like most about them.  :)

    It's a place where beautiful isn't enough of a word....

  • alfharris8alfharris8 Posts: 255
    They are lovely and something I have considered. Great photo!
  • PlantmindedPlantminded WirralPosts: 1,030
    I can understand your desire not to create a border @alfharris8. A circular space around each tree or shrub will be fine as long as you keep it clear of any weeds and grass - it's not difficult to manoevre a lawn mower around a circle. 

    I have two Rowans in my garden and have never given them any supplementary watering - they survive quite happily on whatever the weather provides.  A young tree, like any, though will need watering regularly until established.   

    I suggest you limit your choices initially, get them planted and then add others as your preferences/likes/dislikes develop!
  • alfharris8alfharris8 Posts: 255
    Thanks @Plantminded
    I think I am being hesitant as a tree or large shrub is more of an investment and not so easy to situate elsewhere if I get it wrong. 
    Have had some helpful responses to this so thanks all.

  • PlantmindedPlantminded WirralPosts: 1,030
    I was thinking the same thing this morning @alfharris8 !  When I was considering which trees to choose for my garden, I spent time looking at the young trees in all the local garden centers and then visiting my local botanic garden and other gardens to see the mature trees in situ  That way you get a feel for the character of the tree and its eventual proportions. Visiting at different times of the year also helps so that you can judge the tree's seasonal interest. 

    I'm not sure what part of the country you are in but if you can visit the arboretum at Wisley, or Kew gardens, or a local equivalent, you'll be spoilt for choice.  Most National Trust properties have well stocked gardens too - if you see a gardener working while you're there have a chat, they are normally more than willing to impart their knowledge! 

    You are right to take your time, make sure that the conditions of your garden are right for the tree, and most importantly that you like it!  You have a fine, open space there which will make an excellent home for your chosen trees and shrubs!
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