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Linsey Evans' Top Plant Recommendations: Favorite Trees for South East England.

Chinese Dogwood - Cornus Kousa 'Chinensis'
A gorgeous white flowering Dogwood.  It will grow in either sun or light shade and looks fantastic planted in numbers either as a formal avenue or a more informal arrangement.  Underplant with some shade-tolerant ground cover for a fabulous display.  It has beautiful, fiery autumnal leaf colour.  I really like all the flowering Dogwoods and this one is particularly special.  You may have to wait a while for it to flower.

Princess Tree - Paulownia Tomentosa
Has enormous, felt covered leaves when young and if you keep it coppiced it makes a great addition to an exotic planting scheme.  If you let it grow it will become enormous, so beware.  But, the advantage of letting it grow is that it is one of only two blue flowering trees that I know of that will grow in the UK.  It is known commonly as the Foxglove Tree because the its flowers are arranged on a stem rather like a Foxglove.  The flowers are a vivid blue it looks amazing in flower and is surprisingly easy to grow. 

Paulownia tomentosa 'Kawakamii'

Silk Tree - Albizia Julibrissin
Fantastic foliage and pretty, silky pink flowers.  I'm not mad about pink, but this tree is amazing.  It's flowers are like little puffs of thread and the leaves are like small Acacia leaves.  It's highly ornamental with an umbrella shaped canopy.  It has lovely form, beautiful unusual flowers and great leaves and is a wonderful small tree.  It can be a bit tricky to grow, but is worth the effort.

Albizia julibrissin

American Sweet Gum - Liquidambar Styraciflua
One of my favourite trees and a US native.  Great autumn colour, interesting corky young shoots, and gorgeous smelling leaves when crushed.  Will grow in a bit of shade, doesn’t mind a wet spot, it's just an all round great tree.  It looks different, but is easy to grow.  I love it.

Catalpa Bignonioides 'Aurea'
Fantastic large golden leaves.  Has scented flowers which look a little like Horse Chestnut 'candles' but are more open and smell divine.  You can grow it as a shrub and keep it pruned if you've got a small garden.  It's a beautiful tree mostly grown as a single stemmed standard and it is a great foil for other plants owing to its lovely foliage.  Its flowers are followed by long, black ornamental beans. 

John Downie Crabapple - Malus 'John Downie'
A great tree for a small garden.  Has plenty of white blossom in Spring and red and yellow fruits in Winter.  You can leave the fruit on the tree for decoration and to feed the birds, or take some and use them for cooking.  A really useful tree, very pretty and easy to grow.


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