Small feature tree - open to suggestions

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Small feature tree - open to suggestions

Postby Bozley » Mon Mar 25, 2013 3:59 pm

We have just completed building our new house in the outskirts of Newcastle. I have a blank canvas in the front yard and am hoping I can get some suggestions for planting. All the houses around us have yukkas and flax and I would like to have a different look to that.

We have two terraced garden beds approximately 500mm high and 500mm wide located in the south-west corner of the yard. The soil is fairly well drained (being at the top of a small slope) and moderately clayey. I will be adding sand and organic material when we backfill the constructed terraces. I would like to have 1 or 2 small feature trees at the top level -
1. to provide interest and some privacy
2. are deciduous or semi deciduous to let in some winter sun
3. have minimal flowers due to allergies
4. growing to a maximum of 10m (we have about 6 or 7m clearance to the front of the house)

I was looking at Japanese maple however I have been told they would not handle the afternoon sun and heat being on the western side. I am currently looking at Tropical Birch (Betula nigra) but I don't recall seeing any successfully grown in my area.

I would also love to plant some Brazilian treeferns and ornamental ginger in the lower terrace but again am open to suggestions.

I love my gardening and would love to learn more from all of you.
Thanks
Michelle (aka Bozley)
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Re: Small feature tree - open to suggestions

Postby HortMaster » Tue Mar 26, 2013 11:59 am

Just a random suggestion but do you like pomegranate? They're a great edible ornamental fruit tree and are semi deciduous. They can be shaped into a hedge or screen. I like them because even in their dormant period they're usually still covered in large red fruit which allows light penetration but makes for an interesting looking tree... rather than having a twig for half the year. They're super fast to establish and are pretty drought tolerant too. Plus you can make juice with all the fruit:)
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Re: Small feature tree - open to suggestions

Postby Bozley » Tue Mar 26, 2013 1:47 pm

Thanks for the suggestion HortMaster. I hadn't considered pomegranate and they are beautiful trees. My only issue is I read they have a long flowering season and we have a bee allergy in the household :roll:

I have been inspired to try to convince my Mum to plant one in her gorgeous cottage garden as a replacement for a Robina that has become a little troublesome.

Thanks again
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Re: Small feature tree - open to suggestions

Postby HortMaster » Tue Mar 26, 2013 2:36 pm

Yeah that's true. It's probably more likely to attract birds being a red colour but you wouldn't want to risk it if you have a serious allergy. hehe can't say I'm super knowledgable about growing things in clay, or your particular area... so hopefully someone closer to your local area can help:)
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Re: Small feature tree - open to suggestions

Postby midgin » Tue Mar 26, 2013 2:40 pm

I will trot out my old favourite shrub....Disanthus cercidifolius. Amazing coloured foliage, small flowers which are barely visible...deciduous..perfect.
I now have five of these beautiful plants growing in my various garden areas .... (tallest is approx 3 mts) a no bother plant...I love it.....wink...wink. PS. I also live in Newcastle.
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Re: Small feature tree - open to suggestions

Postby Woko » Tue Mar 26, 2013 11:13 pm

Just a general thought, Bozley: have you thought about growing things that will attract wildlife? Wildlife adds a whole new dimension to a garden.
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Re: Small feature tree - open to suggestions

Postby Bozley » Thu Mar 28, 2013 10:37 am

Thank you all for your suggestions. I think I need to take another trip to my local nursery.

Woko - I am a huge fan or Australian natives, and we are very lucky to be surrounded by bushland so their are plenty of critters about. Unfortunately I found many smaller native trees or large shrubs that don't flower profusely (and are not bee allergy friendly). I am compromising by including a beautiful casuarina ground cover and dianellas throughout. Once the garden is more established I plan to introduce some more varieties.

I'm still open to suggestions though.
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Re: Small feature tree - open to suggestions

Postby nelson castro » Mon Apr 08, 2013 4:57 pm

Woko wrote:have you thought about growing things that will attract wildlife? Wildlife adds a whole new dimension to a garden.


WOW! Never thought of that cool and awesome idea..
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Re: Small feature tree - open to suggestions

Postby Wanderer » Tue Jun 11, 2013 10:06 am

Woko wrote:Just a general thought, Bozley: have you thought about growing things that will attract wildlife? Wildlife adds a whole new dimension to a garden.


Suggestions please Woko?
Take my advice..... I don't use it anyway.
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Re: Small feature tree - open to suggestions

Postby thistledome » Tue Jun 11, 2013 3:22 pm

Have you ever thought about crepe myrtle? Deciduous, colourful display of flowers and hopefully will not interfere with your allergy.
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Re: Small feature tree - open to suggestions

Postby Woko » Tue Jun 11, 2013 6:47 pm

Hi Wanderer. If you're keen to enhance your garden with wildlife then, as a general principle & depending on the space available, I believe it's a great idea to plant things that are indigenous to your location. There's a number of reasons for this:

* the plants that are local to your area have evolved in association with the wildlife that's dependent on them. The two go together: local plants will attract local wildlife & local wildlife will enable local plants to survive
* indigenous plants have evolved to suit local, climate, weather, soil etc & therefore don't require the maintenance that introduced plants need. This saves time, money & energy
* humans have destroyed & still are destroying vast areas of natural vegetation & are thereby destroying wildlife habitats. Australia's wildlife is unique & its intrinsic value means it is too valuable to lose. Every bit we do to restore natural vegetation helps our wildlife to survive
* a garden with indigenous vegetation can be a seed source for other projects where it's planned to use indigenous vegetation
* every bit of restored indigenous vegetation can be part of a wildlife corridor which assists with wildlife dispersal after breeding, provides refuge in times of drought, fire or flood & facilitates natural migration. Household gardens can therefore provide these important functions in the environment

To determine the species indigenous to your location I suggest you look at your nearest patch of high quality (i.e., relatively undisturbed) bushland. I note from Google Earth that there is an area of bushland just south east of Lockyer Valley. Without a full understanding of the local environment that's where I might first look for what might be appropriate for you garden. If you need help to identify the local plant species growing there then someone from a local landcare group or an environment officer with the shire council might be able to help or point you in the direction of someone who can. Page 81 of the document at this link http://www.lockyervalley.qld.gov.au/ima ... ockyer.pdf has a list of some species indigenous to the Lockyer Valley. You might also try https://www.lockyervalley.qld.gov.au/co ... em/view/70.
There might also be a nursery person or local botanist who could help. The local library might have books on local plant species. Failing these sources I could trawl through my information for lists of species indigenous to the Lockyer Valley. However, although you might compile an extensive list of indigenous plants by no means all of the species will be available in local nurseries. You may have to scout around for their availability or become part of a landcare or similar revegetation project.
Of course, when planting indigenous vegetation the location of buildings, utilities & other features of the landscape need to be taken into account. You don't want a giant Queensland Blue Gum Eucalyptus tereticornis disturbing the foundations of your or your neighbour's house.

The issue of suggestions of plant species which will attract wildlife is a little more complex than simply providing a list of species. There are lots of factors to consider & no doubt other posters will have thoughts & ideas.
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Re: Small feature tree - open to suggestions

Postby Handed » Tue Sep 03, 2013 12:45 am

I've a double flowered pomegranate, doesn't seem to set fruit, but it also doesn't seem to attract any bees whatsoever.
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