greentapestry : 'If I Knew Then What I Know Now'

Monday, 7 January 2013

'If I Knew Then What I Know Now'

Himself and I have been shopping yesterday - the first garden centre trip of 2013. I had a vague shopping list in my mind before we set off. Whenever I visit Pauline's blog over at 'Lead up the Garden Path', I have to smile when I see the following phrase above her header ; "If I knew then what I know now". It is a wry smile as I am finally getting round to planting some of the shrubs and trees which I should have done almost 30 years ago or so, when I suppose not only lack of knowledge but also lack of time and money prevented me from doing so. Having self built we moved into our new house in summer. The land around the house was uncultivated and overgrown and we were anxious for it to look less derelict and more of a garden space as soon as possible. However there was no distinct plan and no budget set aside. It was a matter of filling it up with what we could afford and what we were given by friends and family. Now if I could go back in time I would have done the research and planning first and taken more time but then we've all probably been there at some point or other. Over the years though there has always been those '"I wish had planted .....  thoughts" nagging at the back of my mind.

With the recent creation of the gabion garden last year, I was hoping to have some new planting space but there have been some heated discussions since, as himself insists that some of the space is needed for manoeuvring the car. As a non driver this never entered my considerations but after much childish sulking I have had to concede, so although I am left with less than I initially hoped for there is still going to be enough room to plant a couple of small trees. We also decided that we can fit in a third tree in another area of the garden.

Ideally this should have happened in the autumn but the wet and other matters got in the way so went tree hunting today. I came away with an early birthday present from himself - a beautiful Himalayan white - barked silver birch - Betula utilis var. jacquemontii 'Snow Queen'. This is a tree that I have read about in books and on blogs time and time again and observed close hand in gardens, as well as in some local municipal plantings. I'm afraid that the above photo does not do it justice. 'Silver Queen' is now at the back of the house, near the cold frame waiting for us to plant it. I will no doubt photo it again when it is in its dwelling place. We had no luck with the other trees on the wanted list but will have to make a determined effort to track them down. I see some regular garden centre/nursery visiting coming up during the next few weeks as I'm now a woman on a mission. Are there any plants especially trees and shrubs that you wish you had planted years ago?


  1. Hindsight is a wonderful thing. There aren't any trees or shrubs I wish I had planted, as such, I just wish I'd got in to gardening much sooner than I did.

  2. I'm not sure if I have many that I wish i'd planted sooner, possibly as a result of moving house only 4 years ago, but I do have several that I wish had never been planted!!!

  3. Oh goodness Anna, where does one start? I always considered my postage stamp sized plot too small, but with the recent discovery of large ceramic pots, I have been adding some of my favourite trees and shrubs. I have a stash of shrubs and trees of a diminutive nature on hold at a favourite nursery for this coming Spring including:
    Cercis canadensis 'Forest Pansy'
    Cedrus atlantica 'Horstmann'
    Abies concolor 'Blue Cloak'
    Acer palmatum 'Hana Matoi'
    Albizia julibrissen 'Summer Chocolate'
    I have one large empty pot..... methinks I will have to get a move on acquiring more in the next month or two! Good luck with your 'wishlist' - one can never have too many trees and shrubs!

  4. Hi Anna, funny enough I was having a conversation with a friend last weekend about silver birches and that one in particular was brought up as possibly the best one to plant in the garden, and prettiest, so great choice there. Wish we had more space for more big leafed Magnolias :)

  5. A new tree! I get so excited when I have new shrubs and trees to plant. I have been waiting to find a spot for a weeping blue atlas cedar, an unusual tree that needs to be sited carefully. I think I have finally a spot for it, but I will be long dead before it reaches its full glory. Oh, well! Perhaps another gardener or nongardener will enjoy it!

  6. The silver birch will look beautiful. Is it quick growing?

    Happy New Year Anna

  7. I think an Acer is fabulous in any garden... in my first garden I planted a miniature one - can't remember the name. Birches are lovely too - would definitely plant one if we moved. And I love willows, but they take up so much space (and root space too). Have fun searching for the others on your list!

  8. What a coincidence! I think I was thinking more- would we have bought the house if I hadn't been such a novice gardener! Most people like a nice loam soil on a well drained plot facing south. We have the opposite, lots of shade to the south from the woodland trees, part of the garden always wet due to the underground stream and very heavy clay. However we have come to love what many would think of as problem areas, in fact they are our favourite parts of the garden.
    Love your silver birch, it is going to be fantastic!

  9. Oh, wonderful, one of my favourite trees! I had to smile at the description of vigorous discussions as to how much space was free for planting, we have had a few of those too. At least I currently have the luxury of starting again, which is why I am concentrating on getting the structure and shrubs and trees right rather than following my instincts and bunging loads of perennials everywhere! Enjoy your shrub and tree planting, once you track them down.


All your comments are much appreciated and treasured. I wil try to reply to everyone who leaves a comment, but it may take me a few days, especially when I start spending more time in the garden and at the lottie. I know that you will understand :) I am sure that I will also visit your blog if I have not already done so. If you have any specific questions I will either reply to them here or you can email me at :


- Anna.