04 January, 2010

Dozen for Diana 2 - Trimeria

What would have been the first tree you planted?
The one you LOVE, happy in your soil and climate?

Trimeria grandifolia

Trees take so long to grow, they whine. But that is only because you didn’t plant them years ago.

After the hard landscaping, PLEASE PLANT TREES.
My plants must be happy with the long hot summer and wet winter of a Mediterranean climate.
Double points if they are South African fynbos.
Third, got to have something special –
beautiful foliage,
colourful flowers to pick,
wildlife friendly,
I am imagining a smallish, townhouse/courtyard garden with space for a small tree, a few shrubs, some fillers, and a bit of groundcover. A virtual garden to play in, when it is too HOT/COLD to go out there.

Trimeria is my tree. The Afrikaans common name is wild mulberry, because of the (formerly rotundifolia), round leaves. Related to the Kei-apple and our South African “wild peach”. This is one of those where the books say so graciously, may be treated as a shrub or a tree, very amenable! Someone defined a tree as, what you can sit under. This one is already a parasol throwing shade. It was planted in the rose garden two years ago, two metres high. In our last garden, came back from a Swiss stay, to find the tenants had taken hedge clippers to it, and produced a perfect green wall. I was horrified, the Swiss Ungardener was enchanted.

It is VERY briefly deciduous, and the new growth comes through a deep, vibrant coppery red, “fading” to apple green. Can be picked for the vase, so this is one of my favourite foliage plants. Love to look at it. Also has pale, slightly corky bark, so the woody bits are interesting if you choose to reveal them. It grows fast, above the eaves of the house already, so we trim the top when necessary. Sadly, it is not easy to find in our nurseries, as it is a wonderful plant!
This is the second of Dozen for Diana

Now tell me your favourite tree, you can only have one, smallish one. And make me love it too!


  1. I love trees because I love leaves. I am always astounded at the variety of leaf shapes and colours and especially now when it's Autumn! Val

  2. I love Japanese Maples in the northeast US as the colors their leaves change to in autumn is beautiful. Here I love the pink floss tree, which is quite large but very exotic with spiky, nubby bark, pink flowers, and white floss after the flowers are finished, which rains down on the ground.

  3. Hi Diana, your tree is wonderful, the leaf shape is especially nice. Our favorite trees were planted first thing when we moved here. It might be considered cheating that we have moved often and learned to plant trees first, to get them going while the rest of the garden is planned. There cannot be just one, we never were good at following rules. The lace leaf Japanese maples, A. palmatum dissectum and the flowering native dogwoods, pink and white, pink if I have to choose one, Cornus florida were planted here before anything else, because we know how long it takes for them to grow to a decent size. Ten years, we're almost there. :-)

  4. The first tree I planted in my garden here was a Sorbus Vilmorini or the Chinese Mountain Ash. It was one of the first things I planted in the garden. I grew it because it was good for a small garden - only 15ft tall and would not cast too much shadow on the rest of the garden. Has white flowers in late spring and beautiful fern shaped dark leaves. It has rose red berries turning to white from later in the summer onwards. The birds don't touch the berries until later in the winter - just when they really need them! The leaves have good autumn foliage colours also and during the winter the whole skelton of the tree is lovely especially when frosted. I just love it........... hope I've convinced the rest of you!

  5. Frances - not cheating. You are a prime example, as is Leavesnblooms. Plant trees first - either you do, or you will learn to over time! We have inherited two thirty year old mountain ash trees. That is two of the reasons why we bought THIS plot.


Photographs and Copyright

Photographs are from Diana Studer or Jurg Studer.
My Canon PowerShot A490

If I use your images or information, it will be clearly acknowledged with either a link to the website, or details of the book. If you use my images or words, I expect you to acknowledge them in turn.

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