Not a punishment for speeeling errors in my homework, or a flagellated Scandinavian loosening of the pores in the sauna but sleeping beauties from Stone Lane Gardens have arrived.
We have all seen white Betula utilis (Himalayan birches) in fancy office block car parks, show gardens, designer magazines or public gardens. If you have not, then start looking as you move about the internet or the built environment and you shall see them. They’re wide spread use is because these ARE GREAT TREES. Lovely bark in the winter, an open and not too spreading a canopy and roots not so demanding that they prevent the growth of all but nettles underneath them making them perfect for the garden. Their timescale fits with ours too…
Yes trees are great, but in most cases we plant for posterity and enjoy the labours of those before us. However, birches look their best in our timescale. The trees photographed below are 7-12 years from planting and will reach their best around 25 years. This is, for the average tenure of a homeowner just perfect. Sold? I’ll plant you another white multi-stemmed birch….BUT WAIT, there is a new way.
From recent seed collections in China and the Himalayas we now have access to trees with a wider range of colours. These pictures below were taken at the the national collection and my supplier ‘s garden, Stone Lane. I have spoken to those who have seen forests of these trees in the wild and I can onvly enviously imagine that it must be one of natures grandest sites.
In the latest planting we are planting groves to subtly shift in colour from orange through to red and then to pink to back a large pond.
Stone lane birches
B. Mt Luoji
B. ‘Forest Blush’
B ‘China Rose’
Betula seedlings showing natural variation