Saturday, April 4, 2009
Small trees for Perth gardens.
There are a few trees that I think could be used in small gardens.
Firstly a little definition of the difference between trees and shrubs. A tree is a generally single stemmed plant that reaches a height of say 4 metres upwards to the 100 odd metres of the world's tallest trees, mountain ash (Eucalyptus regnans) and Coast sequioa (Sequoia sempervirens).
A shrub is a multistemmed plant that only gets to 3 or 4 metres.
Eucalyptus forrestiana: has gorgeous red gumnuts and pretty pink flowers. They are drought hardy and tolerant of lots of sun. They also attract small birds, providing much needed nectar for the little bird species.
Eucalyptus platypus is a mallee type tree that is almost wider than it is tall. The leaves are shiny and thick, the trunk is mottled and the flower buds are fused to make a space ship shaped gumnut after the fluffy yellow flowers.
Grevillea species that are in the 3-6 metre range can be pruned to shape to a central stem to create a tree shaped shrub. Honey Gem, Pink Surprise and others can be used as small trees. I have one of each of Honey Gem and Pink Surprise out the front of my house. I think the dog sat on one though because it isn't standing up, so maybe I should have staked it until it got a bit bigger.
Crepe myrtles are beautiful decorative deciduous trees that are pretty tough for hot and dry conditions. They do need some watering but they are small and pretty.
Lastly, while not a tree, the dragon fruit cactus can be grown into a tree shaped form that allows the stems to take up little room and the tops cascade over, producing enormous white flowers followed by delicious fruit.
The red dragon fruit is much tastier than the white. It has a sweet, scented flavour similar to rasberry and watermelon. That is where the white flower above is from.
..and this is the fruit.