Anytime you're setting up an outdoor space, make sure you consider natural shade sources to help keep the space cool. Taking space-planning cues from its central planting bed, the courtyard offers plenty of shade thanks to its planted tree.
Saturated soil from frequent rains coupled with high winds can result in windthrow, where strong winds literally push a tree over. Researchers have discovered that in most cases of windthrow, the trees had damaged root systems. Usually the downward growing roots were damaged, so the tree wasn’t anchored in the ground. Take care when digging around trees.
Native to the Mediterranean region, the bay tree is widely cultivated as an ornamental there and as a houseplant in colder climates – mainly because it’s an excellent candidate for growing as a topiary. Hardy only to zone 7, it’s ideal for forming low hedges. Although it can grow into a tree up to 40 to 50 feet tall, bay is often maintained as a large shrub in containers. In spring, it puts out small yellow flowers, which by fall develop into dark purple berries.
Magnolia grandiflora is a broadleaf evergreen tree that is noted for its attractive dark green leaves and its large, extremely fragrant flowers. It typically grows to 60 to 80 feet tall with a pyramidal to rounded crown.
The Oatlands gardens in Leesburg, Virginia are distinguished by unusual and old-growth trees including gingko, blue atlas cedar, black walnut, European larch, shagbark hickory, horse chesnut, littleleaf linden, Japanese zelkova and osage orange, among many others.
Create tabletop trees from newspaper and cardboard boxes. To make these, you’ll need discarded cardboard, a utility knife, scissors, hot glue sticks and glue gun. Cut the cardboard boxes down into flat sheets and then roll each sheet into a conical. Next, cut the uneven cardboard along the bottom of the conical and keep both ends of the cardboard fastened together with hot glue. Next, cut newspaper into 4-inch strips and then fray the newspaper with scissors. Wrap each conical with the layers of frayed newspaper and then secure them in place with hot glue.
A chocolate tree (Theobroma cacao) is a large plant, not starting to flower until it reaches 5 to 7 feet tall. It craves warmth (temps above 60 F) and bright light. Sit it outdoors for summer to encourage flowering. Blooms typically form spring through fall, followed by a large pod-like fruit. The fruit starts green and ripens to golden yellow. Inside the fruit are the chocolate beans, which must be fermented and dried before use.
Put a kid-friendly spin on tree decor with ornaments made from stacked buttons. Add thread to a needle and knot the end, then slide an assortment of small neutral-toned buttons onto the thread as a tree base. Gradually build a tree silhouette with an assortment of large buttons added along the bottom, medium buttons in the center and smaller buttons near the top. For a tree topper effect, add a small star decoration on the top with looped string as a hanger.
Rabbits, voles and field mice nibble bark along the base of shrubs and young trees. Their handiwork is especially difficult to detect on brushy shrubs that give them cover while they chew. Protect the trunks of woody plants by encircling them with commercial tree guards or homemade versions crafted from corrugated drainage pipe (shown), hardware cloth or small mesh poultry wire.
Sharing plants can save them from extinction, as in the case of the beautiful native Franklin tree (Franklinia alatamaha), which is now widely grown by gardeners only because its seeds were collected in the 1700s by early American plant explorers – before the plant vanished forever from its native habitat.
For a modern Christmas tree and stand, designer Ginger Curtis started with a Cypress tree planted in a wood basket. Then, she added a chunky, wool blanket, personalized sacks and black-wrapped parcels to finish off the magic of this modern Christmas decor.
Imagine growing a lemon tree by the biggest, brightest window in your Victorian home, and harvesting the fruits to make lemonade for your guests. Once again, Meyer lemons are the choice of many indoor gardeners. Pretty in pots, the trees like full sun, potting soil that drains easily, and regular feedings with a citrus tree fertilizer. Keep them pruned to control their size. Once the nighttime temperatures stay above 50 degrees F, you can take your tree outdoors for the summer. Enjoy the fragrant blooms, but keep some bottled lemonade on hand for a while. The sweeter-than-most-lemons can take up to a year to ripen.