A tree can be a lot of different things when it’s introduced to your garden, but not every tree is good at being everything. Some will tower over you but die quickly, whilst others will grow to the height of a small bush but rarely bloom, and this kind of variation can completely change how suitable the tree is for your garden.
There are, however, a few trees that are more or less perfect for any kind of garden project – we’ve collaborated with Olive Grove Oundle to bring you a top-10 list of the best types of garden trees we’ve seen.
Quite a few types of crabapple plants can grow in the UK, with some only as high as a small bush. Whether you’d want to turn their fruits into jelly or just like the idea of a small fruit-bearing plant, you’re honestly spoiled for choice – colour, size, fruit type and shape are all equally varied, making them perfect for filling space.
The reason this is so far down the list is quite simple – and their fruits are often near-inedible without being turned into jelly and they’ll often drop apples onto whatever’s below them, meaning that part of your garden will likely be littered with small, rotting fruits that attract swarms of flies in the summer.
Aside from bearing a tasty natural fruit, peach trees can also be surprisingly small, making them a great choice for a plant that’ll repay the effort it takes to grow them. They’re excellent for the summer and can add some nice shade to a garden without much extra effort.
In frosty weather, however, you might have to try and shelter them – the cold can damage the leaves and fruit, making it look quite unhealthy until the warmer months roll back around.
#8) Robinia Frisia
The frisia tree is quite an interesting one since its colour changes drastically depending on the time of year – in autumn, the green leaves turn a sunflower-yellow colour, which can add some much-needed colour to the browns and green of the plants around it.
For some people, though, the changing colours might be a bit too inconsistent, and they can turn a beautiful garden into a clashing mess if you haven’t planned ahead.
As a festive plant, you’re probably going to consider them a gimmick plant rather than a staple of your garden layout. However, many types will continue to grow after winter’s over, and they can be an excellent way to attract some rarer birds to your garden – especially during winter months.
Unfortunately, both the leaves and berries can be toxic to humans, especially younger children, who may be drawn to the bright red colour.
Birch trees are thin but have plenty of leaves, making them a great way of blocking sight lines without using a thick trunk or wall. They let through sunlight, which can stop them from covering smaller trees in shade, and they’re able to put up with a lot of bad weather.
The only real downside is the white trunk – whilst beautiful, if cared for properly, the white and grey bark can end up looking messy, especially if multiple trunks are growing from the same spot.
They aren’t anything groundbreaking, but a single Alder tree can draw in dozens of birds, insects and other natural garden animals. They grow fast, don’t have any particularly strong smell and can help populate even the most deserted garden.
Plus, if a branch falls off somehow, the Alder wood can be put to a huge variety of uses, including smoked salmon and traditional medicine – making them an excellent choice for somebody interested in natural solutions to modern problems.
Rowan trees produce tiny “rowanberry” fruit that has a variety of health benefits once they’re frozen or heated properly – these tiny red balls give it an interesting aesthetic that can add a spot of colour to the mass of green leaves and can help make the middle of your garden stand out in a way that most other fruit-bearing trees can’t.
The berries are excellent food for birds, which is also an added bonus – however, they’re also rather large, which can make them a hassle to contain in smaller gardens. The risk of a child eating the unprepared berries is also one that most people aren’t willing to take, despite it being easy to avoid.
#3) Ornamental Cherry Blossom
Ornamental cherry blossom trees are an excellent choice for any garden, no matter what kind or how big they are! Instantly recognisable and soft to the touch, the flowers of this tree are a great way to add some colour to a green and brown garden.
The only real downside is that there are so many different types – you can’t just throw some seeds into the middle of your garden and hope for the best. Doing research and picking the right type is vital.
#2) Rosa Bonica
Although all roses are similar in terms of how they look, the Rosa Bonica is one of the toughest, able to withstand all kinds of outdoor weather – even if something happens to its petals, it can just re-flower later on, meaning that it can generally take care of itself if bad weather comes around.
They smell nice, look nice, and can easily fit into any garden – the only problem is that the rose bushes grow reasonably small, so they won’t work well as a privacy shield.
Olives aren’t the most luxurious fruit you can grow, nor are they the most unique or exotic – but they make up by being extremely practical. Not only are olives healthy and versatile, but the trees themselves come in hundreds of sizes and shapes – it’s entirely possible to have a garden made of nothing but olive trees, and very few guests could even tell.
No tree is perfect, and olive trees are far from a catch-all option, but they’re equally as helpful whether they’re a centrepiece or just there to fill space – plus, unlike many trees and plants on this list, they can quite easily be grown indoors.