last updated 31/10/2014

PTELEA trifoliata 
Hillier's describe this as possibly the most highly scented of all flowering trees! This green species is probably less common than its golden offspring, but has the same fragrant flowers for those who do not care for the golden leaves! Known as the "Hop Tree" due to the shape of the flowers, it forms a large shrub or broad headed small tree. It has a worrying tendency to break into leaf very late in the spring - great if you are at risk in a frost pocket! It is also inclined to only shoot form the tips, rather than to bush lower down, which makes it ideal for underplanting.

PTELEA trifoliata 'Aurea' 
The popular golden leaved form whose virtues Roy Lancaster extolled in an issue of The Garden a few years ago.

PTEROSTYRAX corymbosa 
Pterostyrax are great all year round small trees. Related to Styrax, they will succeed on any good deep soil, even over chalk. Nodding panicles of fragrant white flowers are produced in May-June. Interesting five winged fruit.


Everyone must surely be familiar with the classic English oak, such a majestic tree, but it is quite amazing how much diversity there is within this awesome genus. Oaks in general seem incredibly tolerant of exposure and even our heavy clay. They are deep rooted so can find water for themselves in times of drought and also anchor themselves well. This was proven after the great storms when the evergreen Quercus ilex remained standing amidst widespread destruction. 

American oaks give fantastic autumn colour and are rewardingly rapid in their growth rate. We are working hard to increase our range of the very best of these dramatic trees, and the first few of this program should become available in the autumn.

I'm afraid that availability rather ebbs and flows with my whim on these...we're propagating them primarily for our own use rather than as a truly commercial crop, making available the surplus. Hence the erratic availability. However, I am developing a bit of a collection (oh dear, not another one...!) so there are some exciting things to come.

QUERCUS coccinea 
"Scarlet Oak" Said to be smaller growing and tolerant of drier conditions than the "Red Oak", this is a fantastic tree for autumn colour. As the species, these plants will be raised from seed, and although all should give good colour, they are potentially variable due to natural genetic variation.

QUERCUS coccinea 'Splendens' 
These grafted plants of the selected form will give awesome scarlet autumn colour. The leaves are usually held long into the winter, turning brown once the red has faded. a truly magnificent tree to plant for posterity where space allows.

QUERCUS ellipsiodes

Another fruit of our quest for evergreen screen planting. This will of course make a large tree (if you care to wait 100 years) or you can clip it into a tight ball. I am doing something in between - I want it in my Mediterranean garden to recreate the scrub oak, so I will prune it carefully to appear craggy and full of character. Bonsai on a large scale really. And at our new site which is a trifle windswept in places, I shall be using it extensively as part of the windbreak structural planting.

QUERCUS macrocarpa var. olivaeformis

QUERCUS palustris 
"Pin Oak" Another of my much loved American oaks which grow satisfying rapidly. This one has slender branches, gracefully drooping at the tips. The relatively large leaves develop spectacular red autumn colours. Supposedly prefers acid soil, but does not seem to mind our alkaline clay.

QUERCUS palustris 'Silhouette'
This one was selected for its symmetry of habit.

QUERCUS rubra 
The "Red Oak" is eventually a seriously big tree, but if you have the space it is a wonderful thing to plant for the future. Although the same basic shape as our native oak, the leaves are much larger, and it is considerably faster growing. It is spectacular in the autumn when they turn brilliant scarlet.

QUERCUS robur 'Variegata' 
A variegated form of our classic English Oak with creamy margined leaves.

QUERCUS rubra 'Aureum' 
The "Yellow Red Oak" is a name to conjour with! Again it is potentially a big tree, but it won't happen overnight! The yellow foliage lacks chlorophyll, so it's nothing like as vigorous as its green brethren. Usual rules for yellow foliage - dappled shade is best. A gem to brighten up a woodland perhaps.

QUERCUS rubra 'Boltes Gold'
A tremendous recent selection of the “Yellow Red Oak” which maintains the wonderful golden colour of the young leaves for longer without scorching. It should prove to be a great improvement.

QUERCUS schumardii 'Kentucky


QUERCUS texana

QUERCUS velutina 'Albertsii' 

QUERCUS velutina 'Rubrifolia' 
Most of these North American Oaks have large leaves, indeed it is one of their primary attractions, but this variant is amazing. There are references to it from 1893 stating that the leaves were "as much as 15 in. in length" (W.J.Bean) which is nearly 40cm in new money! Quite remarkable. The bark is dark, giving rise to the common name "Black Oak" though it has a yellow underlying pigment which was used for dye. Spectacular autumn colour is almost taken for granted. A large tree though eventually.

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