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It’s not as catchy as ‘Plant a tree in ‘73’ and I remember that very well as a child and how important it was to my family. The trees are huge now and it is more important today than ever to think about the future of our planet. I’m focusing mainly on native trees and how we can incorporate them into our gardens.

The Woodland Trust

“Join the big climate fight back and help us to get 50 million more trees in the ground” are the first words you see on their website. We can all do something from planting a woodland, small group or just a single tree in your garden, school or community.

Native Choices

Native trees and shrubs are particularly good for our native wildlife and can be seen growing in hedgerows and woodland but we need more. There are too many to mention here but planning is essential, think about aspect, soil type as well as moisture and fertility. Luckily most of our native trees are not too fussy because they are, well, native! It is still important to know how big the tree will get too. Oak trees maybe too large for the average garden but you may be able to find a spot for a silver birch, hazel, hawthorn. alder, willow, maple, sloe, damson or perhaps a hedge?

Plant Choices

Once you have done a little homework on your garden conditions you can select how to go about planting. Small saplings and hedging bundles are available now and are very cheap (free in some cases) and easy to plant. It takes no more than making a slit with a spade and lipping in the tiny sapling. They need protection and a little care to begin with but will grow and thrive very quickly. Larger single specimens can also be purchased at this time of year and will be bare rooted or container grown. You will need to plant and stake differently depending on your selection and although cost will be more so will the initial impact. It’s worth noting that if you plant a sapling and a mature tree next to each other the sapling will soon catch up while the mature tree will sulk while it gets going! 

What I have done in my garden

I think a lot of us have inherited a very large conifer hedge at some time in our lives and I am in my second garden flanked by a very long, high and messy Leylandii and Thuja hedge. One of my first jobs was to reduce it (12ft is the law now) and also lift the crown by cutting off the lower branches. I then had about three more metres of garden. I planted Clematis, Honeysuckle, dog roses, sea buckthorn, elder, holly, ivy, sloes, hawthorn, hazel and made a wild area with log piles and nesting houses for everything I could think of. The conifers have grown again but many of the plants have too so I’m going to tweak again over the winter to make an amazing wildlife screen. 

Cathie’s Gardening School Services 

It’s still not too late to book your consultancy as in January I offer garden consultancies for £99. There are a few places still available at the time of writing this. A consultancy involves me visiting your garden to help and advise you on maintenance, plant selection, practical pruning as well as tree and hedge planting of course! 

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