The Garden Guide

Book: Colour schemes for the flower garden
Chapter: Chapter 17 Planting for winter colour

Coloured bark

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Much cheerful positive colour, other than that given by flowers or leaves, may be obtained in winter by using a good selection of small trees with coloured bark. Of these the most useful are the Red Dogwood and some of the Willows. This planting for colour of bright-barked trees is no new thing, for a good half century ago the late Lord Somers, at Eastnor Castle near Malvern, used to "paint his woods," as he described it, in this way. Willow bark The Cardinal Willow has bright red bark, Salix britzensis orange, and the Golden Osier bright yellow. The yearly growth has the best-coloured bark, so that when they are employed for giving colour it is usual to cut them every winter; moreover, the large quantity of young shoots that the cutting includes naturally increases the density of the colour effect. But if they are planted in a rather large way it is better that the regular winter cutting should be restricted to those near the outer edge, and to let a good proportion of those within stand for two or more years, and to have some in the background that are never cut at all, but that are allowed to grow to their full size and to show their natural habit.