Trees and shrubs in the garden give permanence, shelter, shade, protection, privacy and colour throughout the year. Trees are especially valuable both for their shape and beauty. Straight-trunked Lombardy Poplars are ideal for a formal setting, while for small gardens there are similar shapes in Prunus campanulata, an upright growing Cherry, or the pyramidal forms of Pittosporum rhombitolum and many conifers.

As canopies against the sun, there are utilitarian trees like Apple, variegated Acers, or purple Plums like Prunus pissardi, There are Weeping Willows for quiet water spots and Weeping Silver Birches for the lawn.

Carefully selected shrubs can provide colour all the year round. For the winter, Camellias and most of the hybrid Azaleas such as 'James Belton', 'Albert Elizabeth', `Kerchove', `Vervaeveana', 'Eri Schame' and many others. Luculia in temperate areas is a must, and in cooler zones Garrya with its dove grey catkins. Cootamundra Wattle with a shower of gold drops almost concealing the misty grey foliage, grows in the widest range of climates.

This is closely followed by winter flowering Peaches that bring spring into late July. Then the full glory of spring burst into a pageant of Prunus, Cherries, Lilacs, Spireas, Tea Trees, Eriostemons, Wistaria, the grand old single Azaleas; Roses and Philadelphus usher in the summer of Jacarandas, Flames, Cape Chestnuts and scarlet Gums; Gordonias, Camellia Sasanqua, berry time and the rich and fiery hues of autumn complete the cycle.

Even in our coldest regions where winter colour does not

extend beyond the occasional Wattle or lingering berries, there is beauty in the white trunks of the Silva Birch; yellow branches of the Golden Ash, red stemmed Dogwoods, and character in the leafless silhouettes of Elms, wispy grace of Maples and stateliness of the grand old Poplars.

Generally deciduous trees and shrubs should be planted whilst in a leafless state, that is between May and August. Evergreens are usually moved about August-September when new growth is starting. Exceptions occur when plants are put out from pots, for this does not disturb their roots. However, semitropical or warmth loving plants such as Gardenias, Hibiscus and even Citrus etc., should not be planted out until spring, except in warm sheltered situations. Even though the areas may be almost frost free, soil temperatures may be too cold for normal function, and the plant suffers a severe check.

Initial preparation of the ground is more important than any after-care you can provide. Poor soil, doubled up or damaged roots and wrong siting can never be remedied later, so plant in good soil, deeply dug, in a situation appropriate to the particular species. Take out a planting hole seemingly well in excess of requirements and fork over the bottom soil.

Add a little well rotted manure or compost and cover with a thin layer of soil, for manure must never touch the roots. Trim or remove any damaged roots of shrubs to be planted, and spread remainder well out in the planting hole, so that they radiate outwards and downwards from the centre; then return the soil, a little at a time. Set the tree firmly, to the level of the old planting mark, but do not be tempted to set the roots deeper under the mistaken impression that you will thus avoid staking.

Planting too deeply will either effect adversely or result in the death of a wide variety of shrubs and trees. Planting trees is really a job for two people, one supporting the trunk whilst the other returns the soil. Tread down periodically as the work progresses and leave the soil slightly higher than the surrounding land. This will allow for normal subsidence so that eventually the ground will be on one level.

Evergreens are always lifted with a ball of soil surrounding the main root system. Do not break this, but if it seems dry at planting time, stand the plants in a bucket of water for an hour beforehand.

Young standard trees or top-heavy shrubs may need supports for a year or two until they become established. A stake of appropriate length, tapered to a point at one end and inserted in the ground during the planting (or very carefully afterwards) will make a suitable prop. Attach the tree to this with one of the patent ties on the market, or secure with strips of felt or flannel wrapped round the bark, and tied with soft tarred cord. The inner tube of a motor tyre cut into strips also makes good protective material for trees and prevents chafing.

After Care
Give the trees a good soaking if the ground seems dry at planting time. Use soft water for Rhododendrons, Kalmias and other calcifuges, otherwise tap water. Spray foliage of evergreens occasionally during the first summer. Keep the soil clear of pernicious weeds and mulch round with moist peat, decayed compost, leaves or spent hops to retain moisture and provide humus.

Avoid deep digging close to shrubs as this destroys the feeding roots which are usually near the surface; the hoe is best for general work. Trees planted in grass should have rings of soil left round the trunk. Plant these with Narcissi and Crocus for spring and Alyssum or similar for autumn interest. Do not heap new grass clippings thickly around the base of newly planted shrubs. Allow this material to rot down for a few weeks before use.