Plant Guide

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Deciduous tree


Acer palmatum 'Beni Otake'

Japanese Maple 'Beni Otake', red bamboo Japanese maple

Small deciduous tree with deeply cut, bright burgundy-red new leaves, turning crimson-orange in autumn. Initially this tree is vase-shaped, but with age the canopy becomes more rounded.

The name means "big red bamboo', referring to the bamboo-like foliage.

Prefers well-draining, rich soil in a reasonably sheltered spot. Best grown in filtered sunlight, but is more tolerant of full sun than many other Japanese maples. Drought-tolerant once established. Frost-hardy.

Perfect for the smaller garden and fits in beautifully with an oriental theme.


Acer palmatum 'Bloodgood'

Small, round-headed Japanese maple cultivar with grey bark, dark red young branches, and burgundy foliage. Toothed leaves, 8-12 cm long, with five lobes and possibly one or more small lobes at the base.  Leaves usually hold their colour well into summer, but may fade in hot sunny areas, before turning crimson to bright scarlet in autumn. Insignificant red-purple flowers in spring, followed by samaras (winged fruit) in autumn.

Synonym: Acer palmatum var. atropurpureum 'Bloodgood'.

Some variation in appearance is possible since there is more than a single clone available under this name in the trade, and sometimes seed-propagated (as opposed to grafted) trees are also offered for sale as Acer palmatum 'Bloodgood'. Likewise, the name Acer palmatum 'Atropurpureum' has been used for more than a single clone. Hence the differences between Acer palmatum 'Bloodgood' and Acer palmatum 'Atropurpureum'  may not be as clear as between the original selections.

Prefers a sunny position or, in particular in areas with hot summers, a partially shaded site. Any well-draining soil. Protect from strong winds. Prune lightly for shape once a year during winter. Frost hardy.

One of the most popular red-purple maples with good colour retention during summer. May also be grown as a shrub. Use as a specimen tree or accent plant for foliage colour, and repeat a similar colour elsewhere in the garden (e.g. with Loropetalum chinense 'Burgundy') to create a link with the surrounding planting. Perfectly suited to Japanese style gardens.


Acer palmatum 'Osakazuki'

Deciduous tree with broad, rounded canopy. Mid green, 7-lobed leaves with toothed margins, 10-12 cm long. Foliage turns orange-red in autumn. Bright red, winged fruit in early autumn.

Suitable for a sheltered position in full sun and any well-draining soil. In areas with hot summers, Acer palmatum 'Osakazuki' likes shade from afternoon sun. Fertilise once a year. Remove damaged or dead branches. Protect from strong winds. Water during hot dry weather.

Japanese maple with brilliant autumn colour and beautiful fruit. Makes a wonderful focal point in autumn. Can be grown in a large container for several years.


Acer palmatum 'Shaina'

Compact, upright-growing (as opposed to spreading) Japanese maple with burgundy foliage and bright red young leaves. Branches are formed from ground-level. The foliage turns a little bit darker in colour during autumn before leaf fall.

Prefers a partially shaded, sheltered position in any fertile, well-draining soil. Generally pest and disease free. Young foliage may be damaged be late frosts.

An attractive small maple with brilliant foliage colours. Perfect for a sheltered garden that needs some height, but lacks the space required for trees with spreading canopies. The foliage colour combines beautifully with Loropetalum chinense 'Burgundy' which can be used as a link between the canopy of Acer palmatum 'Shaina' and lower-level layers in the garden. Also suitable for large containers.


Acer palmatum var. dissectum 'Crimson Queen'

Crimson Queen Japanese laceleaf maple

Deciduous shrub or dwarf tree with finely divided, palmately lobed leaves. The burgundy-red foliage turns bright scarlet in autumn. Small, reddish-purple flowers in spring. Branches are cascading, unless the plant is pruned quite hard each year. Gradually increases in height by mounding over itself. 

Prefers a sheltered position in any well-drained soil. Tolerates sun, but is happier when partially shaded, in particular in areas with hot summers. Trunk height can be influenced to a degree by selecting a strong leader when the plant is young, and staking it to the desired height.

A delightful small maple with delicate foliage that retains its gorgeous reddish-purple colour throughout the summer. An obvious choice for gardens with an oriental theme, but 'Crimson Queen' can be incorporated in many different garden styles, including tropical and cottage gardens. The weeping growth habit with branches reaching down to the ground, looks beautiful next to ponds. Suitable for containers.


Acer platanoides 'Drummondii'

variegated Norway maple, harlequin Norway maple, harlequin maple

Deciduous tree with a rounded-oval, high canopy. Large, typical maple leaves, deeply lobed, green with broad, creamy white margins, turning golden in autumn. Inconspicuous yellow-green flowers in clusters during early spring before the leaves emerge.

Prefers a sunny or partially shady position in any fertile, well-draining soil. Foliage colour intensity is reduced in shade. Benefits from fertiliser application in spring. Tolerates air pollution. No pruning required other than the removal of dead, damaged, and crossing branches. Also cut out any branches with leaves that have reverted to green and lost the variegation. Stressed Acer platanoides 'Drummondii' may suffer from leaf scorch with the leaves, particularly the tips and margins turning brown and subsequently shriveling. Stress results from any growing conditions that cause the leaves to loose water faster than the roots can take it up, such as drying winds, water-logging, drought, and heat. The tree will generally recover in the next season with healthy foliage.

Striking specimen or shade tree with relatively coarse textured and highly ornamental foliage, combining well with other greens. For a very strong contrast, plant this in combination with burgundy-red leafed trees, but be careful not to overdo this combination as it may overpower the rest of your garden. Even a single tree can be quite a dominant feature. Acer platanoides 'Drummondii' produces vigorous surface roots, so plant away from hard surfaces, and underplant with e.g. Liriope muscari or other ground covers (not lawn) that can handle the dry and shady conditions beneath the tree.


Acer pseudoplatanus 'Esk Sunset'

Deciduous tree with an oval to pyramidal canopy and variegated foliage. The palmately lobed, green and cream leaves with toothed margins, are heavily flecked with salmon pink or sometimes entirely orange-pink. The undersides become progressively darker during the season, turning burgundy during summer. The orange shades on the upper surface of the foliage gradually change to cream (see photo in the gallery of leaves in autumn). Inconspicuous flowers in spring.

Sycamore maple cultivar, developed from a chance seedling discovered in a garden in the Esk Valley, New Zealand. Also known (outside New Zealand) as Acer pseudoplatanus 'Eskimo Sunset'.

Prefers a position in well-draining soil and partial shade. Leaf colourings vary with the amount of sun exposure, but to prevent leaf-burn, it is best to find a spot where the tree is protected from hot afternoon sun. Likes an even moisture level. Prune for shape if required in summer after leaves have fully developed. Tolerates urban pollution. Frost hardy.

Stunning maple with exquisite foliage colours, perfect as an accent tree. Particularly attractive when the leaves move in a light breeze and the darker coloured undersides are visible intermittently. The canopy is generally quite close to the ground (about 1.5 m clearance), so plant it away from circulation routes. 


Albizia julibrissin

silk tree, Persian silk tree, silky acacia, mimosa tree, pink siris

Broad-headed, deciduous tree, native to West- and East Asia, from Iran to Japan. Fern-like, bipinnately compound leaves. Fragrant, pink, 4 cm long, pom-pom-like flowers in summer, followed by flat seed-pods (10-15 cm long). Albizia julibrissin is widely grown as an ornamental tree, but has become invasive in some parts of the world. Once established, it is difficult to eradicate due to its ability to re-sprout readily and the longevity of its seed.

Prefers a sunny position in well-draining soil. Tolerates moderate frosts (zones 8-12), and a wide range of soils, including sand and clay. Prone to Fusarium wilt, a fatal fungal disease. Reasonably wind-hardy and drought-tolerant once established.

Albizia julibrissin with its relatively flat umbrella-shaped crown and delicate, deciduous foliage, is a graceful tree suitable as a shade tree, and perfect for flower display in summer. Since the flowers are positioned above the foliage, the tree would suit a spot where you can look down on the canopy.


Cotinus 'Grace'

smoke tree

Small deciduous, round-headed tree or large shrub with burgundy-coloured foliage and large pink 'clouds' of tiny flowers in summer. The leaves emerge wine red in spring, gradually darken during summer and finally turn scarlet red in autumn. The sap may cause skin/eye irritations.

Raised in the UK during the late 1970s, 'Grace' is a hybrid between the cultivar 'Velvet Cloak' of Cotinus coggygria (European smoke bush) and Cotinus obovatus (American smoke tree). 

Prefers a sunny position for best foliage colour. Grows in any soil-type as long as it is well-drained. Tolerates poor soil. Can withstand periods of drought once established. Vigorous when young. Responds to pruning. Frost-hardy (zones 5-10).

Beautiful plant with striking foliage colours throughout the growing season, and tiny flowers in large panicles that resemble smoke-like plumes. Use as a focal point, and repeat the foliage colour in lower-growing shrubs elsewhere in the garden.


Crataegus laevigata 'Paul's Scarlet

Paul's Scarlet hawthorn

Small, deciduous tree in the rose family (Rosaceae) with thorny branches. Very showy, crimson, double flowers in spring. Alternate, glossy leaves with three-five lobes and toothed margins. Yellow and bronze autumn foliage. Discovered more than 150 years ago as a sport on a Crataegus laevigata 'Rosea Flore Pleno' plant, and introduced to the trade in 1866 by the plantsman William Paul (England).

Synonym: Crataegus laevigata 'Coccinea Plena'. Also sold as Crataegus x media 'Paul's Scarlet'.

Suitable for a sunny or partially shaded position in any well-drained soil. Crataegus laevigata 'Paul's Scarlet can handle dry conditions reasonably well once established, and is suitable for coastal gardens and windy sites. Does not require much pruning other than the removal of dead, damaged, or crossing branches in autumn or winter. Susceptible to rust, leaf spot, and blight. Frost hardy (to USDA zone 4).

Crataegus laevigata 'Paul's Scarlet' looks absolutely magnificent when smothered with frilly, rosy pink blossoms in mid spring. I just wish it would flower for a longer time! 


Cydonia oblonga


Deciduous tree in the Rosaceae family, probably originating from to South-west Asia, and cultivated in the Mediterranean region for thousands of years. Dull green, oval to elliptical leaves, 5-11 cm long, covered with very fine hairs. Foliage turns yellow in autumn. Flowers in spring with 5 cm wide blossoms, white and usually flushed with pink, emerging from pink flower buds in spring. Round or pear-shaped, fragrant, 9-13 cm long fruits, ripening to golden yellow in autumn. Quinces are used, among other things, to make jellies, jams, puddings, wine and cider. A number of improved cultivars have been developed, including 'Van Deman', 'Smyrna', 'Vrajna' and 'Champion', differing in growth habit, leaf size, fruit production, fruit shape, and hardiness.

Cydonia oblonga has a long history in the Middle East, and was also revered by the ancient Greeks and Romans. The 'Apple of Discord' Paris gave to Aphrodite when he was asked by Zeus to select the most beautiful woman, was a quince. He chose Aphrodite because she offered him in return the love of the most beautiful woman on earth, Helen of Sparta.

Prefers full sun and light soils. Tolerates most soil types as long as they are well-draining. Copes with less than all-day sun, but doesn't fruit well in a shady position. Requires a cold period (like apple trees, but shorter) to encourage flowering, and a warm summer for the fruits to ripen. Protect from strong winds. Self-fertile, so you only need one tree for fruit production. Prune in winter to open up the center of the tree, and train to a central leader with secondary leaders fanning out.  Without pruning and training, Cydonia oblonga tends to form an irregular tree with somewhat crooked branches from quite low to the ground. Frost hardy (zone 6).

An interesting specimen tree with gorgeous spring blossoms, and unusual, bright (but not glossy) yellow fruits weighing down the branches in autumn. For a lovely colour combination later in the growing season, plant Cydonia oblonga near shrubs with deep purple flowers in late summer and autumn, such as Salvia 'Black Knight', or blue flowers, such as Dichroa versicolor.


Erythrina x sykesii

coral tree, flame tree, Australian coral tree

Large deciduous or semi-deciduous tree of uncertain hybrid parentage (involving Australian native Erythrina species), with a short trunk and a relatively open canopy of ascending branches with rose-like thorns. Named after William Sykes, a New Zealand botanist. Compound leaves with three, heart-shaped, mid green leaflets, 7-20 cm long, 7-12 cm wide.  Bright scarlet flowers to about 6 cm long, in clusters at the tips of bare branches in late winter and early spring. Has become invasive in parts of Australia, where it is difficult to control since it grows easily from root segments. branches and clippings.

Prefers a position in full sun and moist soil. Can adapt to dry areas. Withstands coastal conditions, but needs wind protection. Branches are quite brittle and easily snap off during windy days. Tolerates light frosts to about -7 deg C. 

Magnificent specimen tree, in particular during winter and early spring when the canopy of bare branches is covered with masses of large, vibrant orange  flower clusters.


Fraxinus angustifolia 'Raywood'

Raywood ash, claret ash

Large deciduous tree with pinnately compound, green leaves, turning claret red to plum purple in autumn.  Inconspicuous flowers in spring. Narrow, upright growth initially, broad-headed when mature.

Chance seedling of Fraxinus angustifolia subsp. oxycarpa, discovered in a South Australian nursery, and subsequently grown on at the nearby Raywood property. Also known as Fraxinus oxycarpa 'Raywood'.

Prefers full sun and well-drained soil. Can be grown in any soil-type, although surface roots may become a problem in clay soils and wet sites. Frost hardy (USDA zones 6-9).

Striking foliage colour from early autumn onwards. In spring and summer the foliage is also attractive, in particular from a distance where it seems to have a plume-like texture, waving gracefully in the wind. Makes a beautiful specimen tree. Not suitable for very exposed sites. Near my home they are planted as street trees, and after strong winds there are always some that have lost quite large branches.


Jacaranda mimosifolia

blue Jacaranda, fern tree, black poui, Brazilian rosewood, blue haze tree

Fast growing, deciduous tree, native to South America, with a spreading crown, bright green, fern-like leaves and purplish blue flowers in late spring or summer. Belongs to the Bignoniaceae family. Large (to about 45 cm long) leaves, twice pinnately compound, divided into many smaller (to 1 cm long) leaflets, turning yellow in autumn. Tubular flowers, 2.5-5 cm long, grouped in 30 cm long clusters, forming a blue carpet after falling to the ground. Woody, 5 cm wide, reddish brown seed pods with many small, winged seeds. Widely grown as an ornamental tree. In some parts of the world (e.g. South Africa and Queensland, Australia) Jacaranda mimosifolia is regarded as an invasive plant, posing a threat to the native vegetation.

Synonyms: Jacaranda chelonia, Jacaranda ovalifolia.

Prefers a sheltered position in full sun and very well-draining soil. Drought tolerant. Not suitable for waterlogged or clay soils. Tolerates, but does not grow and flower as well in, partial shade. No pruning required. In fact, pruning tends to destroy the natural umbrella-shape of the canopy by encouraging the tree to produce vertical shoots. Survives brief spells of moderate frosts (to about -8oC).                                 

A gorgeous specimen or shade tree with magnificent flowers and delicate, graceful foliage, but make sure you have enough space. Not a tidy tree, so plant in a position where leaf and flower litter are not a problem. Flowers may stain hard surfaces.


Liquidambar styraciflua

(American) sweetgum, sweet gum, sweet-gum, (American) redgum, hazel pine, sapgum, bilsted, satin walnut, starleaf-gum

Large deciduous tree with a broadly conical outline. Native to southeastern United Sates, Mexico and Central America. Maple-like leaves, 7-13 cm wide, with 5 to 7 lobes and toothed margins. Spectacular autumn foliage display in shades of burgundy, red, orange and yellow. Inconspicuous greenish flowers in spring. Pendent, spiny, spherical fruits are produced by mature trees. These are green initially, turning dark brown later, and persist on the tree well after the leaves have fallen. Commercial hardwood in the US. The genus name refers to the resin exuding from the tree when wounded. Several cultivars are available with various growth habits and autumn colours.

Suitable for a sunny or partially shady, and reasonably sheltered position in any, preferably neutral to acidic soil. Copes well with less than ideal drainage. The photograph of the tree-outline in winter was taken near a stream in an area that occasionally floods. Leaves turning yellow between the veins may be an indication that the soil is too alkaline (in particular when it is also lacking in organic matter).

Striking shade tree with brilliant autumn foliage. Attractive when in fruit, especially after the leaves have fallen, but fruit litter may be a problem where Liquidambar styraciflua is planted on the lawn, next to foot paths or near gutters. There are non-fruiting cultivars, such as 'Rotundiloba'.