Tuesday, 23 September 2008

Indigenous Trees for Small Gardens

I get quite a bit of traffic on this site from people searching for indigenous trees for small gardens. I think its an indicator of the fact that people are moving from larger gardens to smaller more manageable gardens. Its also a great sign that people are moving towards planting indigenous trees. I'm also encouraged by the fact that people are taking the time to research before visiting nurseries or just planting trees that are unsuitable, or will get too big for the space available.


Ochna serrulata

The advantages of using indigenous as opposed to exotic trees, is that you'll be creating the natural habitat for all kinds of birds, bats, butterflies and other creatures. Also, very often indigenous trees are less prone to disease, and require less water.

I've placed the spotlight on a few trees that would be great in a small garden in previous posts. Some of my favourites are the Tabernaemontana or Toad Tree, and the Halleria lucida.

But there is an amazing variety of trees to choose from. These trees would be easy rivals to most exotic trees that are established first choice plants:

Aloe Barbarae - Tree Aloe - Majestic and statuesque

Brachylaena discolor - Silver Oak - Great coastal shrub/ small tree with silvery foliage

Cussonia species - Most Cabbage trees are great for small gardens, as they don't take up a lot of space, or create too much shade. Beware of the roots though!

Dichrostachys cinerea - not easy to find in most nurseries, but worth the search.

Dombeya species - there are several Dombeyas that are perfect for small gardens.

Heteropyxis natalensis - Fragrant and pretty.

Millettia grandis - attractive purple flowers and reddish pods.

Ochna serrulata - is covered in bright yellow flowers, and then red and black fruits. Is slow growing though. (Photo above)

Olea species - great for a mediterranean style garden, very neat looking, can be easily trimmed to shape.

Trema orientalis - commonly called a Pigeonwood because birds love the berries and use it to nest in. Very fast growing, but relatively short-lived. A little untidy though.

Turraea floribunda - attracts an abundance of birds and insects to its beautiful flowers.

Xylotheca kraussiana - Slow, but worth the wait...

I will expand on some of these trees in posts to follow, but check out Plantzafrica for details on each of them in the meantime. You can also check out other posts on indigenous plants for South Africa.
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