Midsummer Trees for Your Designer Garden

Although it is unlikely that you will find Oberon and Titania, or even Bottom, the donkey-headed man in your garden at Midsummer, it is a season just as magical as the Shakespearean play. Poised at a time when days are at their greatest length and the season is the warmest, it can even make us wish for just the smallest breath of winter. This is a special time for trees as well as people and animals. Water tables drop, and the trees’ roots need to stretch down deep for a cooling drink. Some trees shed their leaves to conserve water, some spread wide leaves to collect every drop of golden sunlight. Many are blossoming or setting on fruit.

Unfortunately, this is also the time when insects are doing their own version of ‘making hay while the sun shines and some of them will be happy to munch on your trees, while others are important pollinators that will help the trees in your designer garden set on fruit and even grow seeds for the following year.

Here is a list of our Midsummer Trees for your Designer Garden.

Every tree has its own unique response to summer heat and to the time of year when the days are long and hot, and the nights are short and not nearly as cool as one might wish. These trees are absolutely perfect for use as feature plants or even architectural trees for your home garden.

Our midsummer tree list includes:

  • Aloe BarbaraeAloidendron Barbarae. This magnificent native of southwest Africa blooms in late winter or early spring. By midsummer its top knots of fleshy leaves that closely resemble the aloe plants kept on many kitchen window sills, create pools of welcome shade in any garden. Although Aloe Barbarae can be kept in a pot for many years, this slow-growing plant has a wide crown and thick base, so plan plenty of room for it. Like many succulents, it conserves water and is has a small footprint when it comes to water usage.
  • AvocadoPersea Americana. Also known as alligator pears because of their pear shape and green, warty skin, Avocados love the summer sun. They can be grown in a pot for a long while. Native to Mexico, there are some varieties that are more cold tolerant than others. Most avocados are grafted onto a hardy stock, although they can be grown from seed. By midsummer, they have broad, glossy leaves and might be setting on hard, green fruits.
  • Bottle Tree—brachychiton rupestris. Also known as the Queensland Bottle tree (not to be confused with boabs, which are also called bottle trees), this is an impressive feature tree, perfect for planting in large spaces. Some varieties of Queensland bottle trees are midsummer deciduous trees, meaning that they drop some of their leaves to help conserve moisture. They are a marvellous reserve of moisture, pulling water up into special veins and allowing the trunk to swell into the distinctive graceful wine bottle shape.
  • Dragon Treedracaena draco. This native of the Canary Islands is known for its reddish sap, which is sometimes sold under the name “dragon blood.” The sap has a wide variety of uses, but it is famous for being used as a stain for musical instruments. There are many legends about dragon trees, but it is so well loved in its native land that it has been made the national tree of Tenerife.
  • Grass Treexanthorrhoea glauca. Nothing says “Australia” like this ancient species of the grass tree. It is neither grass nor a tree. It is a monocot that is uniquely adapted to the Australian climate and soil. If you are contemplating purchasing a grass tree, be sure to purchase it from us or from another certified grower who is licensed to handle rare plants and trees. Far too many grass trees die simply from incorrect planting and handling. We are confident that our glauca grass trees are healthy, and we are always glad to give instructions and advice on how to keep your living bit of ancient history healthy and growing.
  • Golden Barrel CactusEchinocactus grusonii. Native to Mexico, the golden barrel cactus is an ideal plant for a low-maintenance, low-water garden. Like many succulents, it stores up moisture during rainy seasons so that when midsummer rolls around, it is prepared to live through drought conditions. This chubby plant is an attractive addition to your low-water garden area. Ideally, its green ribs are plump with water, and its sharp, yellow-coloured spines create a golden glow about it.
  • MangoMangifera indica. Legend has it that Lord Shiva gifted the mango tree to a couple who were kind to him when he was disguised as a wandering mendicant. If you love the distinctive flavour of ripe mango, it is not difficult to see why this fruit should be seen as a divine gift. A perfectly ripe mango is succulent, juicy, and sweet. It can be eaten fresh or dried to serve as part of your staple pantry. Mango trees are tropical plants, but they can be grown anywhere where summers are warm, and there is a strong rainy season. While probably not an ideal low-water plant, they do make beautiful shade trees with their wide, glossy leaves and globe-shaped fruit.
  • Native Australian Finger Limecitrus australasica. This is a tropical shrub or understory tree native to New South Wales and Queensland in Australia. At midsummer, your Native Australian Finger lime will bloom in late winter or early spring, so by midsummer, it might be beginning to set on fruits that will be ready for picking in early autumn. As an understory trees, they prefer sheltered, sunny areas. They make a nice backdrop for smaller plants in your garden.
  • Olive Treeolea europaea. One of the earliest cultivated fruits known to humankind, it is thought that perhaps people learned to prepare the fruit for edibility by tasting it after it dropped into salty ocean water. While the fruits, which can be picked when green, or later on when they are black and fully ripened, need to be pickled or soaked in brine before they can be eaten. Once treated, however, the fruits are a nutritious snack. When pressed, the oil from olives is considered to be one of the healthiest of cooking oils. The trees are generally hardy when grown in a warm climate, and are now cultivated around the world.
  • Tahitian Lime Treecitrus x latifolia. The Tahitian lime is a relatively modern tree, created by cross-pollinating different citrus trees and maintained by grafting. These are beautiful trees that can be grown in any tropical or semi-tropical garden or can be kept in a container on your patio or in your sunroom. They are an everbearing tree, displaying both blossoms and fruit at all times of the year. The fruits have a milder lime flavour than key limes but are distinctly different from lemons – although the mature fruit will turn yellow eventually.
  • Yucca Filiferayucca Filifera. This is a yucca tree, native to Mexico. Adapted to the desert, when temperatures can be blazing hot during the day and cold at night, this yucca tree is an excellent selection for that “plant it and forget it” corner of your garden. It can easily handle both wet and dry climate situations as long as its soil is well drained. Around midsummer, it will put up a tall bloom spike that will soon be covered with dramatic waxy white flowers that are loved by pollinators of all sorts.
  • Yucca Rostratayucca rostrata. Similar to yucca Filifera, “rostrata” means beaked, and refers to both the shape of the seed and the shape of the blossom. This is another tree yucca and will make a striking centrepiece for your low-water garden area.

Any combination of these plants or trees will do well in an area where the weather is usually mild. Some are excellent choices if you are in a region where you need to conserve water, and all will be pleasing additions to your midsummer designer garden.


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