Small Tree for a Small Patch?

Hi all,

The wife an I decided that our small veggie patch needed moving to raised beds elsewhere in the garden, so we want to make a wildlife friendly area where the veggie patch was. It's not impressive, about 2m front to back and about 7m across, but it will be something. A pond will be going in when I have a weekend spare, but recently a couple of neighbours have removed three well established trees, so we want to try to put a tree or two back in. However, as it's only a small patch, anything more than 2-3 metres will become a bit unmanageable. Here's a poorly doctored picture of the area...

The wife wants a buddleja to the right to attract the butterflys, but perhaps a small tree or large shrub in the back left would work. We do have a pretty blank canvas within the confines of the patch, although my 5 year old daughter has asked that we put some foxglove in!

Any suggestions would be most welcome, about the tree or just wildlife garden tips generally! Also, any tips on how to contain growth such as whether to keep the tree in a large pot and sink the pot would be great. I am a real novice at this!

Thanks and regards


  • I asked a similar question last year and crab apple or rowan.father Christmas bought me both.the crab apple only grows to 2m I think.

  • In reply to Stoat:

    Hi David, that looks like a nice size area for a border. You could plant the foxgloves or luppins, they will bush out but are not to invasive. The budlea is a good idea, that will grow quite high but if you prune it back each year will be good for the bees and butterflies. You could have some rose bushes, or ones that climb. I see that you have the fence at the back, you could attach some mesh wire and train something like a honeysuckle or similar that could be trained to grow through and around the mesh.That would also attract wildlife and have a nice scent. I would suggest that anything you plant you put straight into the ground rather that in pots in the ground, as pots will restrict the roots. It depends on what type of soil you have, make sure to fork it over to loosed it up and add compost to give some goodness, if it is wet you may want to add some grit for drainage. You can also add some feed when you plant and a couple more times during the growing season. Only some suggestions, happy gardening.

    Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.

  • In reply to Catlady:

    Thanks for the suggestions. I think I'll pop to the local garden centre this weekend to have a look at the crab apple trees and budlea. We've decided to take a couple of feet of the lawn in front of the old veggie patch to leave 'fallow', so we should be able to plant the tree out fully now.

    Got two honeysuckle and a clematis currently potted which will go in at some point, although not sure how with the trelis - guess I might have to wait until the autumn now.

    Thanks again!