Columnists Dina Kingsnorth-Baird and Neil Kingsnorth run Patch of the Planet and specialise in garden design and eco training in Warrington and the surrounding area

THERE are few things as gratifying and transformative in a garden as the planting of a tree.

Not only do they add height and structure, improving the general look and feel of a space, they create a whole new habitat for wildlife.

Their roots feed and improve your soil and many of them can provide food sources for you and your garden visitors.

When you plant a tree, you plant a legacy that can last decades or more.

And it isn’t just those with large gardens that can enjoy their many benefits.

There is a tree to suit almost every garden and with so many benefits for you and the planet, there is no reason not to try to find a space for one.

Or even better, several.

Now, as autumn beds in and the days shorten, so the trees start to go dormant and now is the time to get out in the garden and get planting.

And what better time than now which coincides with National Tree Week?

Launched in 1975 by the Tree Council, National Tree Week is a nationwide celebration of all things tree.

It marks the start of the tree-planting season, which runs right through until early spring.

Events celebrating and planting trees are happening all over the country and one fitting way to mark it is to plant a tree yourself.

Here are some strong contenders for a typical suburban garden that will create a stunning display while helping the wider environment to thrive:

Fruit cordons

If you don’t think you can fit a tree in, think again.

A cordon fruit tree – a columnar fruit tree that grows straight narrow and no more than a few feet high – can fit in any garden, even a yard.

There are plenty to choose from, with apples and pears being very popular.

While they may be small, birds will enjoy them as a resting spot.

Their roots will also help keep your soil healthy.


A. Lamarckii ‘snowy mespilus’ and A. Grandiflora ‘robin hill’ produce stunning and bee-friendly blossom.

The leaves change from a rich green to striking scarlets in autumn and edible purple fruits in summer that you and the birds can enjoy.

Many varieties of amelanchier also don’t’ grow beyond around four metres high, suiting the average suburban patch.


Rowan or mountain ash produce big heads of flowers to please the pollinators, a summer show of leaves that cast only dappled shade and then a bold display of berries that feed hungry birds in early autumn.

Many, including ‘sheerwater seedling’ produce red berries but others are available, such as the white-berried sorbus cashmiriana and the yellow-berried ‘Joseph rock’.

Prunus ‘kursar’

This flowering cherry produces deep-pink flowers that are popular with bees and the reddish-bronze leaves turn to mid-green and then red and gold tones in the autumn.

Another great small garden tree, ‘kursar’ grows to just three metres

Malus ‘Laura’

This crab apple reaches just two to three metres high with a compact, upright shape that suits most gardens.

It produces a profusion of blossom and then large, beautiful and also long-lasting fruits that are ideal for jelly-making.

What you don’t use, the visiting birds and mammals will enjoy.

Happy gardening