Choosing the right type of tree for a garden or community space can be daunting and many of us have felt wary of buying and planting the wrong type of tree for the space we have available. However, as the UK would have to have at least 150 billion trees planted in order to achieve carbon neutrality by 2050, 2023 could be the year you take a small, but positive step towards doing your bit for the planet. When it comes to deciding what to plant, that task has been simplified with the publication of Kate Bradbury’s new book, RHS – The Tree in My Garden.
Written by award-winning author, broadcaster and TV presenter, Kate Bradbury, who is also a RHS Ambassador and actively promotes the RHS Plant Friendly Gardening Campaign and specialises in wildlife gardening. As an editor of the wildlife pages of BBC Gardeners’ World Magazine, Kate also writes regular gardening articles for national newspapers and gardening magazines. Her books include RHS How to Create a Wildlife Pond, but her latest publication will tell you all you need to know about selecting, planting, caring for and pruning trees. You will also learn more about the vital role trees play in keeping our planet carbon neutral. This book is beautifully illustrated by Lucille Clerc, a French graphic designer and illustrator based in London.
Kate gives us an insight into how beneficial it would be if everyone who owned a garden or participated in an outdoor community space, planted just one tree. In her book, she has combined practical gardening advice, fascinating scientific research, the cultural importance of different species and how vital different trees are for encouraging wildlife into our gardens.
To help people select the most suitable tree for their own green space, the book features a compendium of 50 key species; highlighting which provide spring blossom, autumn berries and stunning colours, fruit trees, evergreens and palms. With Lucille’s beautiful illustrations and advice on height, ultimate spread, the soil type each tree is best suited to, and overall care, plus how to maximise attracting birds and insects into your garden, you can select the ideal tree with confidence. Her advice on how to plant, care for and prune your chosen tree, together with information on trouble-shooting for pests and diseases, ensures this book goes a long way to teaching gardeners, both novice and experienced, how to grow trees.
Kate has also provided a personal insight into the trees she has planted in her own garden which were what provided inspiration for this book. Having planted a rowan (Sorbus aucuparia), a Midland hawthorn (Crataegus laevigata) and a silver birch (Betula pendula), Kate fell in love with the trees as soon as she planted them, and her love continues to grow and grow. “A tree is a remarkable thing. From root to branch, through the seasonal cycles of blossom and fruit, to the glorious displays of deciduous autumn colour, a single tree can transform a garden and captivate us year after year … so plant a tree, watch it grow and become part of something bigger.” says Kate. “You will see in the early part of my book, there is an old Chinese proverb which states: ‘The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago – the second best time is now!’”
RHS – The Tree in My Garden by Kate Bradbury (ISBN: 9780241459751). Published in September 2022 by Random House, £20.