Designing with nature – Colourful Barks

Whenever we get the chance we embrace the choices given to us with some specific trees and their noticeable bark features using this as an element of the design. It’s truly amazing what shapes, colours and form you can find in our trees. So, with that let me share a few with you from the gentle to the total showoffs.

Eucalyptus deglupta ‘Rainbow Eucalyptus’

I had to show this one off. It hails from high-rainfall tropical forests in New Guinea, Indonesia and the Philippines and it’s the only eucalyptus tree that’s indigenous to the Northern Hemisphere but it is being grown in the Botanical Gardens ofSouth Australia and is starting to show of its colours. Unfortunately, the appetite for logging and loss of habitat has resulted in the Eucalyptus deglupta becoming endangered in parts of its natural range, which highlights the botanical gardens’ role. As I said a total show off but check its suitability for your growing zone.

Acer griseum ‘Paperbark Maple’

Paperbark Maple is noted for its exfoliating bark and showy fall colour. An award-winning small spreading deciduous tree that is highly desirable. Slow-growing, this maple tree is an outstanding four-season tree with leaves that are green above and frosty blue green to grey-green with fine hairs beneath.

Lagerstromia indica ‘Crepe Myrtle’

A magnificent tree making it an ideal choice as a flowering tree in our Australian heat. It is available in a multitude of flower colours ranging from white through to red and forms ranging from shrubs to trees. Not only that but another strong feature is its exfoliating bark giving you that ornamental value even during the dormant winter months.

Betula utilis ‘Himalayan Birch’

Highly regarded for their beautiful ornamental creamy white peeling bark, Birches are one of the most popular medium-sized trees grown in Australia and yet many people are unaware of the wide variety of styles available. The common seedling grown Silver Birch (Betula pendula) has spawned many beautiful cultivars and wow are there some beautiful ones. So worth investigating their suitability for your growing zone.

Acer Sango Kaku Senkaki ‘Coral bark maple’

A great grafted variety of Japanese Maple. It has year-round interest with a rounded neat habit and along with its stunning coral-red bark which is especially noticeable during winter. The foliage emerges in colour as bright light green slowly turning to a brilliant yellow and then eventual apricot-orange in autumn. A great feature tree for small gardens and or mass planting.

Luma apiculate ‘Chilean Myrtle’

With good glossy green foliage and a dense growth habit this one will reach around 5 – 10 m in height with a nice rounded crown. One of its features is the creamy white flowers along with its attractive mottled brown bark. This is as versatile as it can be due to its ease of pruning allowing for a hedging product as the small deep olive glossy leaves assist in keeping it looking neat after being trimmed. Best grown in full sun, although light shade will also be sufficient. A humus rich soil with some moisture will ensure good growth.

Chris Slaughter