Sunday, 9 November 2014

One, two, tree!

A brief chat with my neighbour Jim the other day, consisted of the usual pleasantries around the family, weather, and gardening, as is usual with these kind of conversations.  We both touched on the subject of the old Birch tree that used to stand between his and another neighbour's garden.  Despite it's size, we both kind of miss it.  I'll bet we are not the only ones - the birds probably do too!   It was taken down a couple of years back.

Then, as fate would have it, a few hours later I read Pauline's EOMV, her Birch trees featured heavily.  You can read it here, if you haven't already done so.  Immediately, I remembered falling for her Silver Birch/Cornus winter combo last year and wishing I could replicate it or something similar in my garden.  Back then it was immediately put to the back of my mind.  Maybe one day I'd have a big enough garden in which to give them a go.

A visit to my local nursery, Binny Plants, whilst taking my youngest niece home following a weekend sleepover, would fill my Sunday just nicely.  It's sometime a bit too handy that it's en route to my brother's house, or on the way home, depending on how you like to look at these things.

I had planned to fill the now redundant space behind the shed with a new tree.  I noticed earlier this year that he had a couple of Kashmir Rowan trees in stock.  Sorbus cashmiriana and it's white berries would do the job.  Something a bit different.  There are plenty red and yellow berries elsewhere in the garden, this would make a nice change.  After getting there, I was disappointed to learn that he had sold out and if at all it would be next year until they are back in stock.  Ach well, I'll just have to wait!

Billy, the nursery owner and I stood and had a wee blether, seeing as the nursery was very quite.  It usually is at this time of the year.  I was admiring the red Cornus stems and how they stood out in the low afternoon sun down at the bottom of his garden, where it borders part of the Golf Course.  I then commented about Pauline's Birch/Cornus combo I saw the other day and how I'd love a white stemmed birch in the garden but felt I hadn't the room.  As luck would have it  he told me that they had some purple leafed birches that would eventually have white peeling bark and that it's size might be better suited to my garden.  Betula Crimson Frost were new in stock, which explains why I hadn't noticed them before.   They are narrow and very upright and not nearly as large as some Silver Birches.  I walked over to have a look. Not that there was much too look at, they were rather small and of course at this time of the year completely naked!  I asked myself 3 question.  Was I particularly after one with green foliage? Considering I hadn't gone shopping for a birch tree, foliage green or otherwise never crossed my mind!  Could I live with the Purple foliage?  No brainer, I do like plants with purple folage. Finally, Could I make room?  Make room?  I had the perfect spot which had been cleared for the Laburnum back in spring but since I chose to plant the Laburnum elsewhere, I had filled the gap temporarily with a couple of perennials.  You bet I can make the room!  Sold!  Fate has played a big part in choosing this plant, I just hope it likes my garden.  It will be a few year before it's big enough to be partnered with a red stemmed Cornus and a few more after that before it makes some real impact in the garden but it's good to have something to look forward too.      

When I had finished paying and making my way over to the car, I decided I'd take the long route home and visit another favourite nursery, New Hopetoun Gardens.  Those of you in the UK familiar with BBC Gardening programme, Beechgrove Garden, will know only too well that one of the presenters is the wife of the owner of this independant garden centre.  I might find the Sorbus in stock there.  Indeed I did find the Sorbus in stock.  I chose not to hang around as it had just started raining and I didn't have a jacket with me.  It really is great to have such top quality nurseries less than a 10 minute drive from the house.

Here they are, certainly not much to look at right now.  The Sorbus to the left is a great deal bigger that the twig that is the Birch Tree.  I think the phrase is 'they have potential'.  Tomorrow's job is to get both of them in the ground.  Thankfully it's still warm enough for planting.  It's not often we get a chance to plant out in November here in Scotland.

Sorbus cashmiriana and Betula Crimson Frost
It amazes me that this pencil thin chocolate brown, almost black stem, will become a beautiful white, peeling trunk in a just few years time.  Isn't nature wonderful?  I have to admit though, that I was a wee bit disappointed that they take so long to turn white.  I had no idea before today that this was the case.   Every day's a school day, eh?

Stem Betula Crimson Frost
A solitary leaf lingers long enough for me to get it home and take a shot.  I can see now just how it earned it's name.

Betula Crimson Frost

I can't believe that in a matter of 10 months I've gone from a garden with no trees to a garden with 5 trees.  That of course might be 2 or 3 trees too many, I might never know - I'm not getting any younger am I?  Why shouldn't I enjoy a few trees right now, I should have planted them 4 years ago when I first set this garden out!  If the worse comes to the worst, I'll be looking to employ a tree surgeon!

I wonder, has fate ever played a part in choosing a specific plant for your garden?  Do tell us?  As if impulse buying isn't costly enough, I now need to contend with fate when I go plant shopping!

26 comments:

  1. Nice! The foliage is so pretty--love the deep, rich burgundy color. Yes, every day is a school day, and you acquired a great find!

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    1. I do love the foliage Beth. In the right light it is gorgeous.

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  2. You were clearly fated to bring home these 2 trees. I don't know how big your lot is but I've always found room for trees - after all, they represent the original version of vertical gardening and you can usually fit other things beneath them. My former garden was truly tiny - half the size of a standard lot in Los Angeles and many times smaller than our current garden. Still, I managed to add 5 trees to that property, sticking some in spaces only a few feet wide.

    As to my own dances with fate in the garden department, I'd describe my experience more as "seek and ye shall find." I'm on an Australian plants kick, having decided that the drought tolerance of many native Australian plants fits the conditions here in Southern California. I belatedly discovered that several of the trees I inherited with the house originate from that part of the world. I've purposefully added many more plants from that region but some have been discovered by accident. Just this week, while checking out a local nursery for something else, I was attracted to an interesting shrub that was new to me. I came home and checked it out, then went back and picked it up today. It's a Leptospermum 'Copper Sheen,' native to Australia.

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    1. I've always thought that trees are what's been missing from my garden Kris and been too afraid to plant in in case they get too big. I was reading an article, can't remember where and in it, someone mentioned that we should treat trees as we would other plants in the garden and if they get too big, get rid. It's kind of what motivated me into giving some of them a chance.
      I can imagine why Australian natives would do so well in your conditions. An australian plant specialist nearby would come in handy ;)

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  3. Ciao! La betulla è davvero bella, io ho piantato a primavera una 'Royal Frost' ed è cresciuta molto n fretta . Vedrai che ti darà molte soddisfazioni:D

    Un saluto :)

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    1. Questo è bene sapere Pontos. E 'esattamente quello che il proprietario vivaio mi ha detto.

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  4. That's amazing, I'm so glad that you decided to make a little winter corner with silver birch and cornus, it will look good for 5 months during the bleakest part of the year. Unfortunately the birches do take a few years before they have their lovely white bark, but then gardening teaches us patience doesn't it! I'm sure your trees will be happy with you in their new home, I look forward to seeing photos in a few years time.

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    1. I do hope you don't mind me stealing your vision Pauline. I just couldn't help myself :)
      I'll be very pleased when in a few years time if they match up to yours.

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  5. That betula sound wonderful and you are lucjy to have such wonderful local nurseries, We do watch Beechgrove - which presenter is it?

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    1. Thanks Sue. It's Lesley, I think she goes by her maiden name when on TV. She's the short blond one. I think she left the show at the end of last season to concentrate on the GC.

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  6. A lovely choice of trees. I particularly love the unusual birch. I think we all need trees, whatever size the garden.
    I am extravagant enough when I go to nurseries without fate taking a hand..
    You are lucky to have such super nurseries near your home.

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    1. I you, as I am just learning completely correct Chloris. Had I chose some trees back in 2011 when I first started planting out this garden, I'd be far more satisfied with the garden now.
      I used to be pretty bad at over spending when I visited nursery. Now I only take cash and leave the bank cards at home. I have found that a cure for extravagance!

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  7. Your new birch sounds beautiful Angie, I had no idea you could get a purple leaved birch, you tempt me to think the impossible, I have no more room for trees!! And it will be well worth the wait for those white stems.

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    1. It is obviously not my intentions to tempt you Janet - I know I'm tempted far too often myself!
      I'm trying to contain my excitement re the birch as it will be a long time before it's truly worth speaking about.

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  8. Angie, I like the cashmiriana, in our Aberdeen garden this was the first tree to produce leaves in Spring and the first to lose its leaves in Autumn, the large white berries hang on for quite a long time in Winter. I must admit, I like the Birch even more, I don't know it, but Crimson frost looks tempting.

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    1. Yes Alistair, I saw that you liked it when I came across a post you did a few years back. I noted that thought you lost it due to the shallowness of the soil up there in your old garden. Thankfully that shouldn't be an issue here.
      The Birch is a beauty isn't it. I wonder will you be tempted enough ;)

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  9. What exciting new purchases Angie. I love the leaf colour of the birch which does look indeed as if has been frost dipped. I'm also waiting patiently for a birch's trunk to turn white ...... one day :)

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    1. Ah yes, one day Anna! If anything is going to teach me patience, this plant is!

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  10. Congratulations on your new trees! I never imagined there was a birch with purple foliage. Always follow your heart, especially when it leads to the garden center.

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  11. Ah, serendipity ! Clearly, it was meant to be Angie ! I love your new baby birch, and it is a new one on me ! The two newbies will complement each other so well. If we are 'Tree following' next year, it would be lovely to track the progress of your birch.

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  12. Planting trees is such an act of hopefulness. I will continue to do so no matter how old I get.

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  13. In my case fate is another word for Angie, you keep coming up with plants and descriptions which tempt me to buy! :)

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  14. ooo I can imagine those purple leaves with the silver bark will look beautiful Angie, I was surprised when I first got my downy birches by the golden brown bark but some have gone silver now, yours will quicker as the tree will grow faster in your more sheltered garden, Frances

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  15. Oh, what a lovely tree, I am so jealous! In my last garden in Norway I had a 20 m tall weeping birch, it was absolutely lovely, and for me that’s the quintessential Norwegian tree – not the Norwegian spruce. But a white birch with purple leaf – that’s the most amazing tree I have ever heard of :-)

    I agree that every garden needs at least one tree, even my tiny garden has six – seven if you also count my gigantic old camellia, I look forward to seeing photos of your trees next year. I looked up the Betula Crimson Frost and saw it’s predicted height and width – at 10-12m high and 6m wide you might want to put aside a bit of money for a tree surgeon in years to come, but it will be oh so worth it :-)

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  16. Well done for planting trees! At this rate, you could have a woodland by next year! The leaf on Crimson Frost is lovely - you are fortunate indeed to have good nurseries so close to your home.

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  17. Nice tree you've purchased Angie!
    I felt the same it was a moment when I decided to buy a plum tree although there are 2 apple trees in my garden. And then 2 weeks passed I saw another plum tree and bought it! Well I think only we have to remember if we have any space to plant our purchases.

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