Plant a tree at the coast to overcome the challenges at starting a coastal garden!
Living at the coast certainly has its challenges when planting shrubs and I often find myself getting quite excited when I see in a book that a certain plant is ‘wind-resistant’! And then, of course, I wonder whether they are referring to Port Alfred wind or wind elsewhere in the country, as we all know that this wind is STRONG and most often devastating to our gardens.
Because I think most of us know what to plant when, you will most certainly get that info from your nursery, I thought we might look at what trees will grow fairly well here, as every garden needs a tree!!
So here follows a few suggestions for some trees which seems to be the most popular amongst our clients:
Acacia xanthophloea – Fever tree (I)
15x7m, deciduous, full sun, needs medium water.
This stunning tree has a distinctive lime-green stem. It is extremely fast growing – up to 3m in its first summer.
Upright in habitat it is ideal for large gardens and will tolerate both poor soil and swampy conditions. It bears yellow, round flowers in Spring.
Betula pendula – Silver Birch (Europe)
10x4m, deciduous, full sun, needs medium water.
It does not take a great deal of goodness from the soil and although it may become quite large, it is neat in appearance and striking when, when after a few years’ of growth, its silvery-white bark becomes evident.
Berchemia zeyheri – Red Ivory (I)
8x5m, deciduous, full sun, drought-resistant.
A neatly shaped tree with beautiful, light-green Spring foliage and edible fruits that attacts birds from November until April. This is an excellent choice for a wild-life friendly garden.
Caesalpinia ferrea – Leopard Tree (Brazil)
12x8m, deciduous, full sun, needs medium water.
Contrary to the name, this is not an indigenous tree, but if you love this tree as much as I do, plant a few in your garden if you have the space! It has fine, attractive, acacia-like foliage, which is rosy red when it emerges in Spring. It produces light shade, so grass will still be able to grow under it. It bears yellow flowers in Summer and is fairly fast growing.
Combretum erythrophyllum – River Bushwillow (I)
12x8m, deciduous, full sun.
This is a hardy tree that normally grow on river banks in nature, but is does adapt to the conditions in most gardens. The dense pale green foliage is most attractive in autumn. It is reasonably fast growing.
Ekebergia capensis – Cape Ash (I)
10x8m, full sun, evergreen. It requires pruning.
This is a showy tree with shiny leaves. It produces panicles of tiny, ivory-coloured flowers followed by red berries. It has a very attractive shape and as it is a reasonably fast grower it is suitable for large gardens.
Harpephyllum caffrum – Wild Plum (I)
12x7m, full sun, evergreen.
This tree requires little water, and is reasonably fast-growing. It bears small, cream flowers from November to December and has edible fruit which appears from December to March. This is an outstanding tree for coastal gardens.
Platanus x acerifolia – London Plane (origin unknown)
20x25m, full sun deciduous, requires medium water.
This is a fine shade tree for large gardens. It is a fast grower with attractive bark, large leaves and autumn colouring. Truly an outstanding specimen!
Vepris undulata (V.lanceolata) – White Ironwood (I)
10x5m, full sun, evergreen, requires medium water.
This evergreen glossy-leafed, apple green tree has aromatic foliage. This is more suitable in a small garden and can be used as a screen plant because it can be pruned into any shape….don’t think into animals though, but there is a challenge for someone!!
And so we are at the end of another column.
Hope you are ready for Spring, I know I am!