In the winter of 1999, when the gorse and gum trees were cleared from the land over the water race, I had my first real chance to choose and plant new trees. Serious research was called for! This was the real thing - planning sensibly for the future. But I was determined to buy trees that I liked.
Archive Photographs - Golden Elm and Cornus 1999
My favourite trees are Dogwoods (or Cornuses), and I bought several. A Cornus Florida was planted near the water. Cornus Stokes Pink went in the grass lawn, and in the back of the Dog-Path garden I planted a multi-coloured Cornus Cherokee Sunset. It proved to be the prettiest of trees with beautiful variegated colour in spring and autumn. Such good choices!
I loved the big Golden Elm tree, already growing by the driveway, so I planted another near to the Cornus - possibly too near. Two red Maples (which were a bit ragged until the shelter hedge filled out) and a Robinia Casque Rouge were added to my purchases - I loved red leaves and flowers. I'd also seen a Cercis Canadensis Forest Pansy on a garden visit, and written its name down in my notebook, so I bought one as well.
Archive Photographs - New Trees 1999
But there was still room for more! One weekend Non-Gardening Partner and I were driving past a country tree nursery. He liked Oak trees, and it seemed only fair that I should buy some for the other gardens over the water race. Two Scarlet Oaks (and three fastigate ones) came home with us and were planted in the grass by the car bridge. The idea was to let spring bulbs naturalise underneath - but after a few years the trees were swallowed up by a new garden.
Would it take forever?
I remember looking at the little trees and wondering if they'd ever get bigger. Surely it would take forever? But, thanks to irrigation, everything grew well. Only the Robinia Casque Rouge proved too brittle for my windy garden, and had to be cut down. Twenty years on and I'm very pleased with my choices.