The Heart of the Garden
Trees are probably the most important aspect of any garden. They provide the framework for the whole design, and create different microclimates around them to support the growth of a wider range of plants. Trees are so important in the suburbs that streets or properties with established trees have higher land values. When is the best time to plant a tree? 20 years ago! The second best time? Today!
To tree, or not to tree, that is the question.
We get asked a lot for “trees” that only grow two or three metres – in truth, that’s really a shrub. Although there is no firm definition of a tree, it may be useful to unpack this topic a bit so you can determine what you really need. Trees generally grow to a considerable height (4m+) and more often than not have the typical naked trunk with branches and foliage at the top. If you’re looking for this sort of appearance but in a small size, what you might actually mean is a “standard topiary”. This is a plant that has been capped at a certain height, allowing it to grow just as a “ball on a stick”. Standard topiaries look like little trees, but they won’t grow much bigger.
Another thing we see regularly are people asking for a “tree” that will grow only a few metres high to use as a dense screen. Again, this is incorrect terminology. What you’re asking for is a hedging plant. See Screen & Hedging for more info.
Best for Brisbane
Brisbane is renowned for its spectacular trees, in particular the showy street trees such as Jacaranda, Poinciana, Tabebuia, Leopard Tree and Ficus species. However, many of these plants have large, problematic root systems and several are now considered weeds and aren’t allowed to be sold anymore. As we often say, enjoy these trees – in your neighbours yard!! Oxley Nursery primarily stocks the smaller, more “domesticated” trees suitable for the shrinking block sizes around South-East Queensland. See the popular varieties below to see some of what we usually stock.
We also get asked a lot for deciduous trees such as Maple, Oak, Birch, Ash and Elm. These are common trees in cooler areas of Australia, but there is a reason you don’t see them much in Brisbane: these plants simply don’t get the cold conditions they need to show off their autumn colours, and many simply won’t thrive long-term. If you’re determined to grow something with a more “European” flavour, consider plants such as Tropical Birch or Liquidambar. Otherwise, enjoy the subtropics for what they are!!