Light up your garden in winter with gorgeous bark

We’re almost into the bare root season in the horticultural world which means that it’s one of the best times of year to think about planting trees in your garden.  Bare root trees are field grown and this means that they cannot be dug and up and sold until they are in their dormant stage in winter.

So, the trees are dug up from the ground and supplied literally with “bare” roots.  It’s a cost effective way to buy trees because they don’t need as much looking after in the nursery as pot grown trees but they must be planted quickly after delivery to prevent the roots from drying out.

So, if you’re going to plant a tree this winter, why not think about choosing a tree that also looks spectacular after the leaves have fallen.

The obvious choice is birch, the most common of which have amazing white glowing bark, but there are also varieties with pink and bronze bark that look spectacular when the winter sun catches them.  Betula utilis var. jacquemontii varieties have dazzling white bark and Betula albosinensis var. septentionalis has grey-pink bark with coppery-pink on the branches.

Acer griseum, or as it is commonly know the paper-bark maple, is one of my favourites.  It has the most wonderful bark which peels to reveal a rich cinnamon-coloured bark beneath.  This is a great tree for a small space because it’s quite slow growing and ideally should be planted in a position where it catches the sun on bright winter days.

Another notable tree for winter interest is the Prunus serrula (Tibetan Cherry) which has wonderful shiny deep mahogany bark.  This is a great alternative to the Acer griseum if you don’t have time to wait for it to grow.

Whichever tree you choose to plant, think about how it will perform throughout the seasons.  The Acer griseum for example probably looks at its least interesting in summer but the leaves turn an amazing rich colour in autumn so it works quite hard for its place in the garden.


Images: Lisa Cox