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Feature tree suggestions

Hi - we have a new circular raised bed in centre of our drive/parking area - 4m diameter by 1m deep. We would like to put a tree in the middle of it - year round interest, attractive foliage, providing some shade to sit under if possible. We are in SW France so hot in summer but also we are exposed to strong winds. Any suggestions on what we might plant? Acers have been suggested for example. Many thanks.


  • Acers, nah. Not if it's windy AND hot. Go for locally growing subjects to be sure of success. Olive comes to mind immediately, a chunky older tree with a bit of height. Look for things with smaller leaves that won't get wind battered.  


  • Kitty 2Kitty 2 Posts: 5,150

    Hello again Rogerimage  Although Acers are stunning as a feature tree, I think one would struggle in a windy site as they can suffer from wind scorch and prefer a sheltered spot. 

    There have been lot's of recommendations for "amelanchier" this year on the forum, I don't have one but it seems to tick the boxes for year round interest.

    There are some forum members who have stunning gardens in France (Busy Lizzie and Papi Jo spring to mind), I hope they are able to offer some expert advice.

  • Thanks H-C - olive is one we are thinking about but acer comment very helpful - Roger

  • Thanks again Kitty - I have seen beautiful acers near us but they are in sheltered spots - ours is going to be completely exposed! Perhaps the other Frenchies will have ideas too - Roger

  • DovefromaboveDovefromabove Posts: 83,784

    What about the Mount Etna Broom?  Genista aetnensis

    A glorious sight when in flower with fabulous perfume, providing light shade all summer and a wonderfully architectural shape.  


    Last edited: 04 October 2016 11:48:02

    Gardening in Central Norfolk on improved gritty moraine over chalk ... free-draining.

  • Busy-LizzieBusy-Lizzie Posts: 21,676

    I am in Dordogne. Definitely not an acer in the wind and heat! I have a big one in a sheltered part of the garden but it's really a Maple and too big for your place.

    A tree that has surprised me is my Silver Birch, Betula Jacquemontii, which has done surprising well. It has a neat habit, white bark in the winter and not too heavy looking in a garden. It would need watering for the first couple of years.

    I don't know how big a tree you want, but 1 metre deep isn't deep enough for big trees, what's under that?

    Dordogne and Norfolk. Clay in Dordogne, sandy in Norfolk.
  • Thank you Dove and Lizzie - nice suggestions - bed is concrete based with drainage - appreciate it is not very deep so probably needs to be a compromise between the size we might ideally want and what we can realistically get away with - if a tree proves impractical we will have to think of another option tofill the space

  • DovefromaboveDovefromabove Posts: 83,784

    I think the genista would probably be ok there - in the wild they grow on windswept rocky mountain sides so should be able to cope with limited root space, and as the leaves are very fine they don't get rocked by the wind.  

    Gardening in Central Norfolk on improved gritty moraine over chalk ... free-draining.

  • Ok thanks - plenty of lateral room for roots if not depth so this sounds like a good option - will explore this 

  • Invicta2Invicta2 Posts: 663

    Cercis siliquastrum grows well in the south of France, masses of pinky purple flowers in May [maybe April in south of France} not too big.

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