There are plenty of trees with character that will enhance your outside space. While beautiful flower borders, decorative shrubs and well-trimmed hedges enhance the beauty of a landscape, trees with character can bring interest to any garden. Choosing and planting a tree may seem daunting, but the right choice can make your space stand out or transform a cramped area into a spacious, tranquil retreat.
The dynamic transformation of your garden significantly increases with the addition of native shrubs and trees with character. Trees with character offer numerous benefits to any garden, from a shower of blossoms in spring to a vibrant display of colours in autumn.
Below is a run-down of the best 13 garden trees with character that can enhance the beauty of your outdoor space and help maintain its pristine appearance.
1. Juniperus squamata ‘Meyeri’ – Flaky Juniper
The evergreen conifer Juniperus Squamata Meyeri is characterised by its stout, arching branches coated with blue-grey needles. Frank Meyer, an American botanist, discovered it in China in the early 1900s.
It’s a unique variety of the evergreen trees the UK has that behaves more like a shrub than a tree and is perfect for areas with little to no care and provides year-round colour.
2. Pinus nigra – Austrian Pine
The height and spread of an Austrian Pine are 40 to 60 feet and 20 to 40 feet, respectively. Young trees have a pyramidal form, but the crown becomes rounded and dome-shaped as they mature. This decorative tree has stiff dark green leaves that come in pairs.
3. Pinus radiata – Monteray Pine
Pinus radiata, also known as Monterey pine, radiate, or insignis pine, is a coniferous evergreen tree that grows between 15 and 30 m (49 and 98 ft) tall in the wild and around 60 m (200 ft) tall when cultivated under ideal circumstances. It has branches that point upward and a rounded top.
The ‘needles’ are narrow, green leaves that range in length from 8 centimetres (3.1 inches) to 15 centimetres (6.1 inches) and are arranged in groups of three (two in var. pinata).
4. Pinus Sylvestris – Scots Pine
Pinus sylvestris is a large evergreen tree that can reach a height of 25 meters; it has an orange-brown, irregularly shaped top trunk and branches. 5-centimetre cones top each intertwined pair of grey-green needles.
Not only does this tree not shed its leaves in the winter, but it also serves as a valuable protective ‘nurse’ species for other trees and red squirrels. This typical tree from the Highlands grows just as well in the sandy ground of southern England.
5. Pinus wallichiana – Bhuton Pine
Pinus wallichiana (Bhuton Pine) is an attractive evergreen conifer with a wide conical form, horizontal bottom branches, and gently climbing upper branches. Some consider it to be the most aesthetically pleasing of all pine species.
It doesn’t lose its lower branches, so you’ll notice they are still present on older specimens. The leaves are long, thin, and blue-grey. They hang down and are 8 inches (20 cm) long. They grow in groups of five and last for 3–4 years. They are elegantly arched and have a feathery, delicate appearance.
6. Crataegus laevigata ‘Crimson Cloud’
The Crimson Cloud is a medium-sized and resilient tree that’s relatively easy to maintain. As a cross between ‘Charles X’ and ‘Paul’s Scarlet,’ it has a more spreading habit than the latter. These hawthorns can be used as shrubs or small trees in lines or gardens, making them an essential part of the auxiliary hedge.
The Crimson Cloud also has big, gorgeous pink flowers with white centres that grow in clusters called corymbs. It blooms twice a year, once in spring and again in fall.
7. Crataegus coccinea – Scarlet Hawthorn
Scarlet hawthorn gets its name from the colourful red fruits it bears in late summer, the reddish-purple colouration of its foliage in the fall, and the profound crimson nature of its overwintering buds.
Its leaves are distinguished by their 5 to 6 large lobes with extremely toothed margins, making them double-dentate leaves. The blossoms are lovely, and various animals, including people, consume them.
8. Mespilus germanica – Medlar
This slow-growing tree originated in Europe and Asia’s western and southern regions. When fully grown, the hefty main branches of the Medlar sculpt the crown. Mature specimens typically have a broader base that’s tapered at the top.
Young twigs have a fuzzy, greyish appearance. A seasoned tree’s trunk is shiny and silvery in colour. Tiny teeth and silky hairs characterize the lanceolate to the obovoid leaf shape, transforming from a ruddy brown to a warm orange in the fall.
9. Metasequoia glyptostroboides – Dawn Redwood
This evergreen pyramid grows to a height of 100 feet and can be transplanted with ease thanks to its lovely, fluffy foliage. The Dawn Redwood’s long, drooping branches stretch outward. Pin branchlets always travel in pairs and fall as one.
This plant grows best in slightly acidic, deep, wet soils, and it can handle damp ground but won’t survive an early frost. Plus, pests and diseases rarely affect this plant.
10. Pyrus salicifolia ‘Pendula’ – Weeping Silver Leaved Pear
Weeping willow-leaf pears, Pyrus salicifolia ‘Pendula’, are highly sought-after and will thrive if you provide the necessary care. Its silver leaves are its best feature, and because of that, it makes an excellent specimen tree or centrepiece in the yard.
This is one of the select few woody plants that truly have a silver appearance.
11. Salix alba – White Willow
With mature trees reaching a height of 25 meters, the white willow is the tallest variety of willows. Their crowns are generally crooked and slanted. The bark is greyish-brown, and as the tree ages, it forms deep fissures. The twigs are thin, flexible, and also a greyish-brown colour.
When young, the leaves are hairy throughout; as they mature, the undersides become downy while the upper surfaces lose their hair.
We pollard them at about 1m high and cut the new growth after each winter and then the new growth form during the summer. This results in a very interesting character full pollarded tree.
12. Ulmus minor ‘Jacqueline Hillier’ – Elm Jacqueline Hillier
Found in the early 1960s in a backyard in Birmingham, England, ‘Jacqueline Hillier‘ is a small, gradual-growing, heavily branched tree species. Unattended, it will develop into a shrubby shape 6-8 feet tall and wide within 10-15 years, reaching a maximum height of 10-12 feet. However, you can shape it into a little tree with a single trunk.
The dark green leaves develop a characteristic herringbone pattern along the branched stems. Meanwhile, the leaves take on a warm and appealing orange hue in autumn.
13. Viburnum bodnantense ‘Dawn’ – Arrowwood ‘Dawn’
The tall, bushy deciduous shrub Viburnum bodnantense ‘Dawn’, also known as Arrowwood Dawn, has a vertical growth pattern and broad, oval, mid-green leaves. The fact that this shrub won the RHS Award of Garden Merit indicates its ability to thrive in a wide range of areas.
It’s a great addition to flower beds, borders, and other low-maintenance planting schemes, but one of the garden trees UK has that thrives in just about any setting.
14. Crataegus monogyna – Hawthorn
The common Hawthorn is fantastic as both a hedge and a single tree in gardens. In May, it blooms with delicate white or pinkish flowers; in the summer, it bears bright red haws. The arrival of its Mayflower signals the close of winter and the onset of summer.
Unpruned, mature trees can attain a height of 15 metres at a rate of 40 to 60 centimetres annually.
From the unique and hardy Flaky Juniper to the elegant Weeping Silver Leaved Pear, there are a variety of trees to suit every garden.
Consider the specific requirements of each tree species, such as sunlight, soil type, and space availability, when picking the right tree for your garden. If you’re looking for fast-growing trees UK, there are options available, such as the Golden Juniper and the Dawn Redwood.
To explore and buy a wide range of native British trees, including fast-growing options, consider contacting New Wood Trees. We offer various options to enhance your garden and provide expert advice on selecting and caring for trees. With our assistance, you can create a stunning and vibrant outdoor sanctuary that will be the envy of your neighbourhood.