Trees that offer shade
& a feast of colour
Trees have tremendous potential as part of landscape planning. However, due to space constraints and excessive use of ground cover plants, horticulturists often forget to include trees in landscaping. Underground installations, sewerage and overhead lines also discourage their use in landscape planning.
Since trees are a permanent feature, they have to be given a place where they can grow without any interference. Cutting their branches at a later stage to stop them from protruding into other plants, buildings or wires, etc, spoils the tree canopy. Moreover, sometimes the roots spread as far as the drip area of the tree and lift up a floor, penetrate a wall or interfere with the growth of adjoining plants.
Trees are valued for
shape, size, foliage, blooms and even pods. Overlapping pods and
blooms present a spectacular sight. This is especially true in case of
koelreuteria. Its flowers appear in October-November when the
tree is almost completely covered with yellow blooms. There is an
overlapping of its flowers and pods, which are red in colour. The tree
presents a rare combination of green, yellow and red simultaneously.
Similarly, a contrasting colour combination can be seen in the case of amaltas on which the previous year’s long black pods contrast with bright yellow blooms on a leafless tree from April to June. Nilli gulmohar and various cassia species also offer such a contrast of hues.
Trees provide a range of shapes and sizes. Want a tree that can be trained and disciplined? Moulsari is the answer. It forms an excellent round canopy and also does not dirty the place. Want a tree that provides cover for parking a vehicle? Go in for alstonia. Birds do not sit on it, thus the vehicles parked under it escape bird droppings. Both the moulsari and alstonia have fragrant flowers.
You want a kachnar and at the same time do not want it to shed leaves during winter? Grow the bauhinia blackiana. In case of the Buddha’s Coconut, leaves on the same tree do not resemble each other in shape. Camphor is slow to grow but forms an excellent canopy. It is a dwarf too. The Ficus species trees have a strong framework and beautiful limbs.
Then there are trees that are welcoming. The Weeping Willow and Bottle Brush have drooping branches that welcome a visitor.
(Photos by writer)