We are offering our favourite top tips for this time of year. It’s one way to reduce your waistline after a period when it is traditional to be over-indulgent.
National Tree Week 2013 runs from 23 November
through to 1 December… get involved!
National Tree Week is the UK’s largest celebration of trees, and is organised by The Tree Council.
Running from 23 November to 1 December it heralds the start of the British tree planting season.
This countrywide event is a chance for people of all ages to get involved in all manner of fun tree-related events.
In addition to The Tree Council, events are being organised by local authorities, community groups, schools and tree wardens – so there’s likely to be something happening near you.
The main purpose of this week is to raise awareness of the importance of trees and to inspire hundreds of thousands of people all over the country to plant around a million trees in their local communities.
Gorgeous bark is an autumn treat
As the stormy autumn winds blow it can be a bleak time of year in the garden, with the last of the leaves being stripped from the trees leaving them exposed and bare.
In fact it is a magical unveiling, as the architectural form of a tree or shrub is revealed, and with a little planning and careful selection this seasonal transformation can be celebrated.
There are many species with beautifully coloured and characterful bark that will lift the garden in winter and create a stunning seasonal spectacle.
And with the low winter sunlight the bold structural forms of colourful branches can shine as brightly as any summer flower border.
The honey-coloured fruiting bodies of honey fungus (Armillaria spp) (image: Wikimedia Commons)
Honey fungus or Armillaria are a group of parasitic fungi. They attack trees, shrubs and woody perennials, and are one of the most destructive fungal diseases in the UK.
They are also among some of the biggest living organisms in the world, their underground networks often covering many miles and living for up to a thousand years.
It is so successful because, unlike most parasites that rely on keeping their hosts alive in order to extract nutrients, it can kill its host and continue living on the decaying matter for many years.
The fungi spread by long reddish brown root-like rhizomorphs that live close to the surface of the soil.
They attach themselves to the root collar of woody plants, killing off the root systems leaving the host unable to absorb nutrients and water.
The wonderfully surreal topiary garden at Beckley
Park, Oxfordshire (image: Wikimedia Commons)
Shrubs trained as topiary are at home in any garden.
From a cottage setting where intriguing forms nestle casually between flowers and vegetables, to a much grander scheme where repetitive shapes are rigid and regimented, topiary can be both charming and formal.
And let’s not forget that when you trim your humble garden hedge, you’re creating (a relatively simple form of) topiary!
European topiary originated in Roman times, where the atriums that were so common in the grand houses of the day became home to geometric shapes and fantastical creatures clipped from evergreen shrubs.
The formality and grandeur often associated with topiary began in the late 15th century with the Italian Renaissance gardens.
These gardens were based on the idea of achieving beauty through order and symmetry, and the clipped forms of topiary as a design feature were used extensively.