The ornamental giant trees have always been underestimated in garden design. On small and medium-sized plots, not everyone can afford to plant a tree just "for beauty", and on large areas, trees are often left just as a background. While fulfilling very important functions in garden design, ornamental tree species deserve far more respect and attention. With the right choice, they will not only arrange the focal point or give a long-awaited shade, but also bring the necessary harmony to the design of the garden. And the best kinds of trees from among the favorites of modern design will become the real star and the main decoration of the site.
The role of ornamental trees in garden design
Ornamental trees and shrubs are an essential component of complete garden design. Together they create the framework of the garden and skeleton plantings - the basis of design, which will not lose its decorative qualities throughout the year and for decades will ensure stability and attractiveness of the garden project. And if the role of ornamental shrubs as soloists in hedges, borders, groups - is never disputed, then decorative woody plants (those that are larger) often suffer from the status of "excesses" - that luxurious element of design, without which it is quite (seemingly) possible to do.
This trend has passed only compact conifers and evergreens, which can be figuredly pruned. "Landscape" and large ornamental tree species are sacrificed in favor of much more practical fruit trees and large berry shrubs or nut trees. Just because trees don't produce a crop doesn't mean they aren't important. In fact, decorative woody plants are in fact much more functional than their fruit counterparts.
The first and main advantage of decorative trees is that they do not require or almost do not require care, being content with the minimum of procedures. And at the same time they become more beautiful and more spectacular every year. They are consistently attractive, immutable in their role in the design of the garden, do not depend on lucky or unlucky combination of weather conditions and always perform their intended function. Whereas compact conifers and topiaries need almost no more care than handsome flowering stars, and "bigger format" ornamental trees are invariably and permanently beautiful without a care in the world. But making the right move and finding a tree that really will be the pride of the garden for decades is still not easy. The high cost of large trees makes many people grow trees from small seedlings, sacrificing decades in favor of saving both money and effort.
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You should choose trees specifically guided by large trees and mature plants, considering what your candidate will become in decades and how it will develop. Location, style of architecture of the plot and the house, shading function, the character of garden zoning, dominant lines and silhouettes, the necessary effect on the space - all these factors should be considered among the "objective" criteria.
Ornamental trees have five main characteristics by which they are selected:
- variety and beauty of leaf shape;
- general silhouette and crown density;
- ability to bloom beautifully;
- autumn color;
- bark and its texture or color.
The variety of ornamental species is so great that a suitable plant can be found even for the most modest of plots. Giants, which will help to recreate a park and palace atmosphere, "middlings" with beautiful silhouettes, which will play the role of a family tree or an elegant decoration, compact plants, which will find a place even by the flower bed - there is a lot to choose from.
The best of ornamental trees shed their leaves in winter, which allows them to make a real garden show with the change of colors from young spring leaves to austere summer dressing and bright autumn cover.
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List of interesting decorative trees for landscape design
Today plants with a bright crown shape, unusual color, picturesque contours are especially popular. Garden favorites of recent years rightly include:
- Common hornbeam, whose best compact varieties up to 10 m in height adorn a strict cone-like pyramidal crown, are suitable not only for living hedges, but also for bright single parties, and their ability to grow both in shadow, and in the penumbra, and in the sun is at all unique;
- dwarf and low-growing varieties of white ash, capable of revealing beauty even in secluded light. It conquers with rich, bright color of leaves in a pyramidal or rounded crown, fragrant flowering and autumn orange parade;
- European beech one of the most powerful decorative trees, whose new compact varieties with purple color of leaves, weeping form of branches or pyramidal crown become a dark-leaved magnet for views and set a strict mood to the whole decoration;
- not large woody forms widely common dogwood, which when formed not into a shrub, but into a tree will please with a beautiful pattern of branches in a rounded crown, spectacular bark, bright flowering and fruiting;
- all varieties of ornamental cherries from sakura to small sawtooth cherries, with a huge selection of terry varieties and inimitable pink flowers that turn twigs into dense pink clouds before the leaves unfurl;
- compact varieties of rock oak with variegated leaves or the usual giant forms, famous for the beauty of the curvature of the branches, the dark bark, the figured leaves and the stunning tiered crown;
- the romantic wonder - bobberry, better known as "golden rain" and famous not only for the complex leaves but also for the hanging golden brushes of inflorescences;
- growing wide, unstoppable but limited to only 4-5 m tall vinegar tree with its carved, in some varieties resembling ferns, leaves erupting in autumn in red-orange fire, with red candles of inflorescences and unusual inflorescences;
- compact, up to 5-8 m varieties of robinia false acacia with a transparent crown, twisting branches, amazing bark, complex feathery leaves and dangling inflorescence brushes that offer varietal options with unusual spirally twisted branches or golden foliage;
- Newly coming back into vogue are Columnar or Pyramid-shaped varieties with unique figured leaves, slender silhouette, graceful crowns and bright bunches of red fruit that set after lacy shields of inflorescences;
- Starting a new garden career and perfectly shaping Cardleaf with its dense heart-shaped foliage, smart yellow-salad blossoms and amazingly strong aroma;
- Hybrid varieties Hybrid Mountain Yew with a weeping shape and a crown that seems to hang down in all directions, massive leaves, dark smooth bark and a green cascade effect.
Last years' favorites, which brightly announced themselves at landscape shows, include other plants.
Five leaders in the category of deciduous ornamental trees see next page.
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