5 trees that work hard in all seasons

0 Written by Lisa on 21st Oct 2014 in Design Tips, Plants

Autumn colours in Wales Lisa Cox Garden Designs

I love the autumn when the leaves start to turn and the colours become warm and vibrant.  This year it seems to be taking a while to get going, in fact yesterday it was a barmy 20 degrees in Surrey, but there are some signs that the trees are turning.

Choosing an appropriate tree for your garden can be a difficult business, especially in the UK where there are literally hundreds of varieties that will happily grow.

In small gardens particularly the tree or trees that you choose really do have to work hard for their place so it’s important that they offer some sort of interest for at least three seasons.

I’ve picked out five species here that are great for small gardens and some even work hard during all four seasons…

Amelanchier larmarckii

Amelanchier lamarckii blossom

This is a great small tree which prefers an acid soil.  It has blossom in the spring, followed by green leaves which turn a brilliant warm red-orange in the autumn.  Widely available as multi-stem specimens, they also provide shape and structure in winter after the leaves have fallen.  Add some subtle up-lighting and it will come to life even after dark.

Acer Griseum

Acer griseum bark

I’ve featured the Acer griseum before, but I just love the copper-coloured peeling bark which gives this tree its name…the paperbark maple.  In summer it has green light foliage which turns a rich autumn colour and then in winter the bark simply shines, especially when the sun catches it.  Like the Amelanchier, this is also available as a multi-stem which helps to give an added dimension to a small garden.

Sorbus ‘Joseph Rock’

Sorbus Joseph Rock Lisa Cox Garden Designs

A small and well behaved tree with white spring blossom and green leaves that turn a rich red in autumn alongside yellow berries which last long after the leaves have fallen, providing interest and food for the birds as the cold months materialise.

Betula utilis var. Jacquemontii

Betula utilis var Jaquemontii

Silver birch grow fast so they’re great trees if you don’t have the patience to wait for them to mature.  This variety of birch has brilliant white bark which simply glows all year round, but especially in winter when contrasted with other colourful stems such as the red stems of cornus alba sibirica. 

I love birch because they cast dappled shade that takes away the heat of the sun in the summer without cutting out the light.  ‘Jacquemontii’ is also readily available as a multi-stem which, like the amelanchier and acer griseum, looks fabulous with some subtle uplighters to highlight the stems after dark.

Acer palmatum ‘Sangu-Kaku’

Acer palmatum Sango Kaku by Oakridgeshrubbery

Most acers have gorgeous foliage, many of which turn a rich colour in autumn, but this variety has coral-coloured bark too which looks especially spectacular in the winter.  The leaves in spring are a pinkish yellow which turn green in summer and then a rich yellow in autumn.


Images: Lisa Cox, Oak Ridge Shrubbery

From the drawing board: Concept sketches for a client in Weybridge

0 Written by Lisa on 14th Oct 2014 in From the drawing board

Concept sketch for Weybridge back garden Lisa Cox Designs

I have recently been working with a client in Weybridge who is now in throws of having a new glass box style garden room built at the back of the house. Read more

Inspiration from the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park

0 Written by Lisa on 7th Oct 2014 in Inspiration

The Olympic Rings Lisa Cox Garden Designs

Last week I showed some images of my visit to the Thames Barrier Park in London.  On the same day we also visited the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park which is now, for the most part, open to the public so I thought I’d share some of the photos I took along the way. Read more

A visit to the Thames Barrier Park in London

0 Written by Lisa on 3rd Oct 2014 in Inspiration

Thames Barrier Park Lisa Cox

I met up with an old friend on mine in London on Monday.  We decided to go to the Thames Barrier Park which I’ve always wanted to see and never quite got around to. Read more

Inspiring day in Somerset – Part Three

2 Written by Lisa on 30th Sep 2014 in Inspiration

Shaftesbury Gold Hill Lisa Cox Garden Designs

As you know, last Tuesday I went with my friend and fellow garden designer, Jane Shankster, to visit the Piet Oudolf garden at the new Hauser & Wirth gallery in Somerset. Read more

An inspiring visit to Hauser & Wirth in Somerset – Part Two

6 Written by Lisa on 27th Sep 2014 in Inspiration

Salvia at Hauser Wirth Lisa Cox Garden Designs

Part two of my visit to Hauser & Wirth in Somerset on Tuesday features some close-up photographs I took of the planting.  The sunlight was diffused by the misty air which made for some good shots. Read more

An inspiring visit to Hauser & Wirth in Somerset – Part One

0 Written by Lisa on 24th Sep 2014 in Inspiration

Hauser & Wirth Garden Somerset Lisa Cox Designs

I took a frivolous day off yesterday to visit the new Piet Oudolf garden at the Hauser & Wirth Gallery in Somerset. Read more

From the drawing board: Concept design & sketches for client in Epsom Downs

2 Written by Lisa on 19th Sep 2014 in From the drawing board

Potager garden concept sketch Epsom Lisa Cox Designs

I’ve recently been working with a client in Epsom Downs who wanted to design a potager area at the bottom of the garden to accommodate her new greenhouse, existing summerhouse and also to create an attractive space where they can sit and take in the evening sunshine. Read more

From the drawing board: Leatherhead garden one year on

0 Written by Lisa on 15th Sep 2014 in From the drawing board

Planting in Leatherhead garden after one year Lisa Cox Designs

Last week I finally managed to get back to see the Leatherhead garden we completed and planted last summer.  I should really have been there in July when all the roses and perennials were looking at their best, but I still think the transformation is quite amazing in just one year and there’s still lots in flower and looking great. Read more

A visit to Sussex Prairies

4 Written by Lisa on 9th Sep 2014 in Inspiration, Plants

Sussex Prairies Lisa Cox Garden Designs

I missed a visit to Sussex Prairies a couple of weeks ago so as the weather was lovely at the weekend we decided to pay a visit.  I’ve been wanting to go for ages! Read more

Lisa Cox Welcome

I specialise in helping families to turn their gardens into an extension of their home and into a space that can be used and enjoyed all year round.

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