Country Gardens

In any garden situation, out of all plant life it is shrubs and trees which provide most in the way of permanent structure. First and foremost their value is to be found in their form, the framework that they give not only within the garden but to the landscape as a whole. Whether deciduous, shedding their leaves in autumn, or evergreen, where leaves are retained for more than one growing season, their woody trunks and spreading branches contribute a permanent quality to the overall composition of any garden.

Christine and John have hundreds of trees on their property. They are fortunate to have the space which will easily accommodate enormous trees. They have selections of Maple, Silver Birch, Pine, Cedar and many more. At the front of their property they have an Aesculus 'Horse Chestnut' tree.

Aesculus (Horse Chestnut)

The Common Horse Chestnut is a glorious sight when seen in May. The large candles stand erect above the branches with each candle bearing white or pink flowers. But be warned this is not the tree for you unless you have a large, open space available. The large leaves and spreading branches mean that little will grow underneath, and a sixty-foot tree can shade out much of a modest garden.

The picture above illustrates the beauty of the tree on Christine's front lawn as there is ample space to house a tree this tall and wide. The picture below enables you to see the gorgeous blooms that literally cover this massive tree in late May.

Aesculus (Horse Chestnut) The Red Horse Chestnut (A. carnea) can grow fify feet high, bearing pink flowers and nearly smooth seed cases.

There is a more compact (twenty-foot) red-flowered variety A. camea 'Briotii'.

The giant of the family is the popular Common Horse Chestnut, A. hippocastanum. Towering up to eighty feet when fully grown, its white candles are known to every adult and its spiny seed case is known to every conker-collecting child.

The double flowered form ('Baumanii') does not produce conkers. For the average garden you must choose a much more modest variety.

There is the white flowering A. parviflora and A. pavia, a beautiful tree growing no more than ten feet tall and bearing crimson flowers in late June.

Any reasonable garden soil will do and full sun is required. Pruning is not necessary but cut out dead and diseased branches in early spring. To propagate plant the conkers in spring.

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