This first tree, is very dear to my heart as I have a cousin named Rowan. Funnily enough, the sub-heading of the tree and his personality are not that far apart – he’s a complete maverick (to the point where our nickname for him is Banana Man – a story I won’t be detailing in here – sorry Cuz).
Rowan, Sorbus aucuparia
- A tough tree that dares to grow where others cannot
This used to be planted outside houses to ward off witches, which makes me wonder if it would be bad form to plant it near a willow tree (see below). That aside, you might like to plant one simply because it’s a lovely tree with bright red berries. It can even survive on high and exposed ground.
Silver birch, Betula pendula
- This quicksilver tree grows fast and has amazing shiny bark
If you want to make a quick impression on your garden, try this fast-growing pioneer species with its slightly shiny silvery-white trunk. Its timber is used to smoke haddocks, among other things, and its trunk can be tapped for sap that can be made
into wine. Knew there was a reason I liked birch trees.
Small-leaved lime, Tilia cordata
- No, not that the crucial ingredient of a good margarita type of lime
Although you won’t get green lime fruits from this tree, it is one of our most beautiful native species. You can eat the leaves in salads, and brew a pleasant, uplifting tea from the flowers.
Willow, Salix sp.
- Fast-growing and so many to choose from – weeping, goat, twisted, even cricket bat
These graceful trees survive in the dampest of places, so will suit a water-logged or riverside garden. They also have their fair share of folklore – the words ‘witch’ and ‘wicked’ come from the same word as ‘willow’.
And last, but not least, the other Christmas tree, the:
Holly, Ilex aquifolium
- A festive treat to cheer up your winter
You’ll love harvesting holly from your own garden at Christmas, and the birds will love you for providing shelter and a plentiful source of food in the berries. There’s nothing like seeing the red berries and the shiny, spiky leaves of holly to brighten a dark, cold winter’s day.
Anyhow, that’s my update on all things British and tree-like for now.
In case you were wondering, the stand-off at the office water cooler continues. Things are turning nasty. Mrs Fitzsimmons has taken to instructing an underling to replenish her water, so as not to have to engage with me + the ropes are made from hemp, so one of the IT guys is becoming far too fresh.
*Excerpts from 10 British trees to grow in your garden.