Return to the Minnesota Gardening Forum | Post a Follow-Up

Small tree or shrub to anchor a bed

Posted by fitzerroneous z4 MN (My Page) on
Wed, May 9, 07 at 9:32

I bought my first house and I'm starting gardens completely from scratch. Other than several mature oaks and apple trees, there's nothing in my yard except grass.

I'd like to "anchor" one of my new beds with a very small tree or shrub - preferably something that flowers at some point. Does anyone have a suggestion for something small that won't compete too much with the perennials? A friend suggested a Japanese tree lilac, but I'd like something a little smaller than 20'. Plus, they don't seem to sucker, but I don't know how much the roots will compete.

I'm still in zone 4 in Duluth and this bed will get a fair amount of sun.


Follow-Up Postings:

RE: Small tree or shrub to anchor a bed

I got a purple leafed sand cherry for my backyard. They are normally shrubs but you can find them trained into a tree form. The sources I found said it should top out around 10 feet. I wanted something small for the yard that wouldn't shade all my roses but provide some shade for my 3 dogs since the backyard is sunny through the hottest part of the day. I had a little structure built for the tree to keep the dogs from watering it to death. As you can see someone thought it was her own personal hang out spot.

The tree has little white flowers in spring that are lightly scented. Mine is blooming right now.

Or maybe you could go with a hydrangea. I have Limelight and it blooms mid summer. Mine does just fine with mid afternoon through evening sun. It is supposed to get 6-8 feet tall and wide but mine has been a slow grower. Maybe that wouldn't be big enough for you?

RE: Small tree or shrub to anchor a bed

I have a Miss Kim (dwarf) lilac anchoring one of my flower beds. I think they are supposed to stay around 6 feet tall, but ours is around 10' and would like to keep going. I especially like it for the incredible scent (even better than our other lilacs), the fact that it blooms a bit later than the others, and that it is such a mannnerly little tree/bush. I am no pruning expert, but it really keeps it's shape.
Good luck with your choice!

RE: Small tree or shrub to anchor a bed

pagoda dogwood, ironwood/blue beech, viburnum, serviceberry

RE: Small tree or shrub to anchor a bed

Hmmmm... what is that they say about "the best laid plans"?

All of these suggestions were great, but I ended up falling in love with a ref-leaf rose (Rosa glauca, I think) when I saw it at a nursery. It gets about 6 feet tall here, and two of them will look great arching over at the back of my border, I think.

The other benefit is no more searching for those little green caterpillars that skeletonize the leaves (sawfly larvae?) and blend in so well on regular roses. On the reddish leaves, you can see them from across the yard. :)

 o Post a Follow-Up

Please Note: Only registered members are able to post messages to this forum.

    If you are a member, please log in.

    If you aren't yet a member, join now!

Return to the Minnesota Gardening Forum

Information about Posting

  • You must be logged in to post a message. Once you are logged in, a posting window will appear at the bottom of the messages. If you are not a member, please register for an account.
  • Please review our Rules of Play before posting.
  • Posting is a two-step process. Once you have composed your message, you will be taken to the preview page. You will then have a chance to review your post, make changes and upload photos.
  • After posting your message, you may need to refresh the forum page in order to see it.
  • Before posting copyrighted material, please read about Copyright and Fair Use.
  • We have a strict no-advertising policy!
  • If you would like to practice posting or uploading photos, please visit our Test forum.
  • If you need assistance, please Contact Us and we will be happy to help.

Learn more about in-text links on this page here