This year, I added an assortment of little trees to the garden. They will lend some additional height to the perennial beds and add a feeling of permanence as they mature. That’s the idea, anyway. Most of these little trees are commonly grown as shrubs, but have been grafted onto standards for a ‘shrub on stick’ look. I have always admired dappled willow shrubs, but they can get quite large. When I found that they are available in standard form, I was interested in trying one, and this was my first little tree purchase this year. I carried the potted tree around the yard and tried it in different places. I finally settled on a spot down the yard from the front door of the house. On sunny summer mornings, the sun lights up its dappled leaves and it positively glows, an invitation to enter the garden for a stroll. That’s Salix integra ‘Hakuro-nishiki’ standard in the photo above, taken in September. To the fore is the phlox ‘Nora Leigh’, which always puts on a great late-summer display.
I was so pleased with ‘Hakuro-nishiki’ that I bought a second dappled willow standard. This one is a different variety, Salix integra ‘Flamingo’. The picture above, and the remaining photographs here, were taken today, so many of the little trees are losing their leaves, or are already completely bare. I wanted to record their addition to the garden before the end of the season.
Here’s another willow variety. This one is a weeping pussy willow, Salix caprea ‘pendula’. I’m looking forward to seeing its fuzzy catkins next spring.
My very first little tree wasn’t a willow, but this peashrub, Caragana arborescens pendula std. I bought it last year and it came through the winter well, encouraging me to consider further additions. However, as I acquired more trees, I rethought the location of this caragana and moved it to another bed. The poor little tree! It had been doing so well. It was shocked by this brutal treatment, and lost its leaves early. I hope that it will be okay and will return again in the spring.
Here’s another caragana. This one, Caragana arborescens ‘Walker’, has very fine, ferny, threadleaf foliage. It has a very delicate look, but it is rated as hardy to Zone 2 or 3 (depending on your source).
This third caragana has already lost it leaves, which is too bad because they are different again from the above two peashrubs. Caragana microphylla ‘Mongolian Silver Spires’ has silvery, ferny foliage. It is also rated as very hardy.
When I purchased this weeping mulberry, morus alba ‘pendula’, it already had purple, raspberry-like fruit on its branches. Before I even got the tree planted in the ground, I spotted a pair of Cedar Waxwings harvesting the fruit! This was enough to convince me I should purchase a couple more of these trees. The Connon Nursery site carries this endorsement:
This shrub performs well in both full sun and full shade. It is very adaptable to both dry and moist locations, and should do just fine under average home landscape conditions. It is considered to be drought-tolerant, and thus makes an ideal choice for xeriscaping or the moisture-conserving landscape. It is not particular as to soil type or pH, and is able to handle environmental salt. It is highly tolerant of urban pollution and will even thrive in inner city environments.
It sounds like an ideal little tree, but some people object to the ‘messy’ fruit. Fruiting weeping mulberry trees are female. You can also get non-fruiting male trees, but what would be the point of that?
Seen here is another fruiting tree, a Red Jade weeping crabtree, Malus × scheideckeri ‘Red Jade’. Its small red crab apples are said to also be attractive to Cedar Waxwings, and of course, it produces white or pale pink apple blossoms in the spring. You can hardly pick out the spindly whip against the rusty leaves of an oak tree in the photo above. It looked rather disheartened when it was first planted. However, it never changed across the season, neither declining nor improving, so perhaps that is its natural demeanor. I have four upright crabtrees that do well here, so I hope Red Jade will thrive.
Late in the summer, I added 3 hydrangea standards. This one is Hydrangea paniculata ‘Pink Diamond’. These trees are grown for their colourful display of flowers in late summer. Pink Diamond has white flowers that quickly mature to deep pink.
This is Hydrangea paniculata ‘Limelight’,which, as the name suggests, produces panicles of soft greenish flowers. The flowers then gradually mature to a rose shade.
And finally, here is Hydrangea paniculata ‘Phantom’, which produces panicles of white flowers that mature to light pink. Unfortunately, these photos don’t show these little trees off very well. For that, we’ll have to hope they all winter well and wait for next year’s display.