November garden tour – small garden trees in the Middlesized Garden

November garden tour – small garden trees in the Middlesized Garden


Hi there, it’s Alexandra from the Middle-
sized Garden YouTube channel and blog and it’s the November garden tour and
the November garden, I think is really all about the trees. The Middle-sized Garden
is a town garden – and it is middle- sized – it’s a hundred feet long and 80
feet wide in its L shape and then near the house it’s 40 feet wide. This feels like quite a big garden to some people and to me, especially when I’m
weeding it, but it is quite a small garden in terms of really ‘proper
gardens’ but I’ve got about fourteen trees. And I’m really really proud of
that – I think they make so much difference to the garden and it’s in
November that I really appreciate them most, but also have to do some work to them. So
I thought we’d focus the November garden tour really on the trees. The first thing
is the heritage fruit trees: I’ve planted crabapple and quince – and they are so
worthwhile. No matter how small your garden is, I really
recommend a heritage fruit tree. The thing is about crabapples is that they
have a beautiful blossom in the spring and they are often earlier than a lot of
the other blossom. Around me, there are quite a few fruit farms and they
have apples and pears and they actually plant crab apples every 20 trees or so
to provide something for the bees to get before the apple blossom comes out. And
they don’t tend to harvest the crab apples commercially, so sometimes I go
along and I pick the crab apples and I can make my own crab apple jelly,
although I’ve also got my own tree. But sometimes I like to leave those crab
apples on there because they look so gorgeous right up until January for my
crabapple tree, which is Red Sentinel, I think. Quince is another unusual
and old-fashioned heritage tree. It has the most beautiful pinky-white blossom in the
spring and then in the autumn it’s got these rather quaint fruits. And
you can make a jelly out of them or you can just put them in a bowl and they
perfume the house in the most beautiful delicate way. And of course a fruit tree
will give you some privacy and some shade in the summer and in the winter it
doesn’t block the light from your window, so small fruit trees are fabulous generally.
All the deciduous trees give us autumn color and this is also the time to prune
them – over the winter. And the most beautiful tree in this garden has
actually done very badly recently – it’s a Cotinus coggyria ‘Grace’ – it’s a smoke
bush. A lot of people grow it as a shrub and it’s grown up into a tree here, and
it’s had another attack of verticillium wil, which is a fungus
which makes the leaves die off. Now the standard advice for dealing
with verticillium wilt is to chop down the tree, burn the leaves, dispose of
everything, don’t compost anything but even the standard advice admits you
can’t get verticillium wilt out of the soil, so I’ve decided to accept that
I’ve got it. There’s some lovely healthy new growth coming up from the base so
we’ve cut the tree back, probably by about 2/3 and we’ll see if that new
growth takes over. And of course it will cause huge changes to this part of the
garden but perhaps that’ll be exciting – although I do miss its gorgeous autumn
color. The other great trees for autumn color is the liquidambar, which is this
red tree, the Silver Birch which has these lovely yellowing leaves and also
the Robinia frisia, which has fine small yellow leaves which are
drifting gently down over the lawn. We don’t actually do very much about
cleaning up the leaves on the lawn – we just run the mower across the lawn and
it picks up most of the leaves, and that does help. And in the corners where there
are few more leaves, we do have to use leaf grabbers but it’s not a huge
problem – and when the leaves settle in the beds I just leave them there, but you
do have to clear them away from plants like alpines. Here is a
ground cover plant called Saxifrage ‘London pride’ and it’s very pretty but
the leaves of the magnolia – the evergreen magnolias above it -will
completely smother the saxifrage and they will just rot away, so I do have to clear the
leaves away from certain plants. One thing I really find important to do at
this time of year is to cut the topiary into shape. It’s very expensive to buy
ready-made topiarised trees – it’s like a thousand pounds or more, but we bought these two
holm oaks for £50 each as young whips. They grew for about two years before we
shaped them and we then had about three to five
years of shaping them and they’re now in an excellent shape. They only need
cutting once a year but we do employ an expert to do that, so when you’re
thinking about having topiarised trees it’s worth thinking about whether you can cut
them – are you expert enough? You could learn but also there’s the question of
balancing on ladders with power tools and things, so that’s obviously a cost
that’s involved. But it is only necessary once a year with holm oaks and I think
they look lovely and smart. It’s also a good time of year to thin out some of
the deciduous shrubs and this spirea has got really congested.
I should have pruned it after it flowered in the spring – I didn’t.
I haven’t actually touched it for a few years and it is now got so congested and
it’s very old. I’m afraid we’ve done a big cutback- I don’t know how it will
survive and I’ll let you know – it may just regenerate or this may be time to
dig it up – but anyway we’ve given it a really good thinning out and tried to
restore the shape. And of course if you’ve got grasses in November that is
just fabulous and I love these grasses in pots.
It’s panicum virgatum Shenandoah and also I’m particularly interested to see that a little
spider has taken the grass seeds and ione of the blossoms from the
cotinus, which were floating around in the garden about a month or so ago and
it’s used these to make its web. It’s a very clever spider – a slightly lazy spider,
I think. And speaking of spiders, now is of course
the time to start supporting wildlife in the garden. When we moved in here 16
years ago our predecessors told us that we they regularly fed the birds and they
gave us some bird feed and they left the bird feeders, and so we kept going. And we
have so many sparrows – you could drive yourself mad trying to count how many
sparrows are in this film – but sparrows have really declined in the UK generally.
They were our most common bird. We’ve been here 16 years and our predecessors 23 years and we’ve supported
the bird life through feeding them and also through having hedges and
deciduous and evergreen shrubs and trees, so there’s lots of shelter, so I think
that shows how much loss of habitat has affected the bird life in the
UK because other issues such as disease or predators would have affected our
sparrows as much as they’ve affected sparrows generally. These sparrows have
had 40 years of regular feeding and maintaining habitat and they are
fantastically abundant. It also shows just one garden can make a difference, so
it’s really worth thinking about food and shelter for your birds and wildlife
in your garden. We’re just hitting some colder weather and I think the last of the
leaves are coming down so I hope you’ve enjoyed this and if so please hit ‘like’
because then I’ll know you’d like more garden tours and if you’d like more tips,
ideas and inspiration for your small or middle-sized garden, do subscribe to
the Middle-sized Garden YouTube channel and thank you for watching, goodbye!

28 thoughts on “November garden tour – small garden trees in the Middlesized Garden

  1. Thank you Alexandra for a great tour. I love trees and think they are the most important element in the garden. For air quality, shade, for the wild life and the beauty. I had my city plant a tree ( i believe it's a crabapple) on the sidewalk in front of my house. I had a japanese snowbell planted in my front yard and I bought my house because of the most beautiful that I've ever seen Japanese Maple in my back yard. Plus around the perimeters there are a few oaks. I wish I had enough space to plant more but unfortunately I don't. Your garden is beautiful. Yes fall is all about the trees and shrubs but the structure of the trees/shrubs in winter is also beautiful. Thank you again I truly enjoy your videos.

  2. Thank you for sharing your lovely garden. I am currently making a list of smaller, well-behaved trees to introduce throughout my own garden and this vid was very helpful. Our temperature here in Southcentral Pennsylvania this morning (13 November) was 19F (-7C), well below normal November temperatures! Brr…. Hope your temp is warmer!

  3. Another great video, but I suggest if you think your garden is small, you need to see the dreadful size of gardens on new houses.

  4. I love all your videos and wish they came out more frequently! Your garden is so lovely, thank you for sharing it and all your advice!

  5. My Spiraea suffered badly last year with the drought and looked in a very sorry state come this year's Spring. I thought I was going to lose it but decided to give it an extreme haircut, cutting virtually everything down to a few inches from the ground. Not only did it not die but it has re-generated with a vengeance, so hopefully yours will too.

  6. I love your trees. I have 3 silver hitches at the bottom of my garden (neighbour's garden) and I have been enjoying the leaf colour recently. Of course lots of leaf drop but I don't mind.
    I too love watching the birds at my feeders.

  7. Thank you for the nice video! I really like your voice, helps me to keep calm after work 😊
    That orange rose on the left of the dog looks so gorgeous! Which rose is that? 😊

  8. A wonderful talk, as always, and which has made my day! I have a huge Quince tree which I planted about 15 years ago. A friend uses his quinces to make fruit leather, but I use mine to make wine. It's very worthwhile, although does take at least 3 years to mature.

  9. Oooh…I simply enjoy this garden tour of yours…
    You are so right, it's November and the garden is still in glorious colours…the fruits provide vibrancy too.
    Love your narration….almost like reading a fairytale to me…
    Tqtq for sharing…πŸ’–πŸ’

  10. Beautiful fall color in your garden! I love my crabapple, the variety is Sargentii which only gets 6 feet tall and has apples the size of blueberries which the birds love. I don't think I could make jelly with them however. I would like to know the name of the shrub behind you with red berries, it's gorgeous. Thank you for sharing your lovely garden, it's always a pleasure to see.

  11. Wow, you really did cut things back, look forward to seeing how it looks next year. I hope to attract some birds this winter, it dawned on me recently I haven't seen any black capped chickadees here in years. And I so wish our birds were as sweet as your birds, your robins are so dear. Have a nice weekend.

  12. Much enjoyed as usual ❀️ And I do love your dog – she is so regal & elegant. Best wishes from New Zealand πŸ‡³πŸ‡Ώ

  13. Beautiful fall garden! I enjoyed hearing your analysis and the footage of various pruning activities. Many thanks for your hard work putting this together. Cheers.

  14. In December it would be good if you did a video looking back over the year, maybe even 30 minutes, looking at the highs and lows of the year.

  15. I'm so sorry about your cotinus. I lost a beautiful cherry tree the same way a few years ago. It's heartbreaking when they go from robust to dead in a matter of weeks.

  16. I make fabulous quince jelly, even if I say so myself πŸ™‚ Hope you're feeling better Alexandra. Lovely to see so much colour in your garden even at this time of year.

  17. Such a joyous trip round your garden! Thanks for posting.

    I can vouch for how trees can bring your garden to life … I have sparrows, blackbirds and yellow breasted tits (two noisy but sweetly inseperable couples) constantly fluttering through my pomegranate, Barbados cherry and Jerusalem lime trees. Pigeons nested in my 25ft Bismarckia palm. Also a good number of bees and butterflies in my 5ft tall ornamental sage, which I think is properly called lantana, not to mention countless green lizards on my frangipani trees which have grown over 15 feet tall and are permanently in flower!

  18. Alexandra hit 10,000 subscribers, folks! Yay! Please like this video, subscribe and hit the notifications bell so she can continue to earn income from this channel (you're channel is monetized, right, Alexandra?) and keep providing us with her terrific content! Congrats again, Alexandra. Great job!

  19. I love quince trees, that perfumey fragrance of the fruits reminds me of baby powder. There seems a massive decline in flying insects too, I'm sure that has had an impact on our bird population. It's great to see other gardeners working so hard to support the wildlife in their garden. πŸ™‚

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