Every tree planted should be highly valued for its natural beauty and huge environmental benefits, which get greater with time and maturity. Trees give scale and impact to a new landscape setting. Sometimes, through selection of semi-mature trees, particular historic varieties or unique shapes, trees can emphasise and continue the historic importance of a setting.

Fabulous Fruit

Hillier has a range of the decorative mature, ex-orchard fruit trees, which are about 20 years old and are produced in Spring Ring containers. These containers help the trees quickly establish strong root systems, helping them become ready-to-go semi-mature fruit trees. Each fruit tree is an individual with lots of character from years of pruning.

These mature fruit trees have become very popular with Hillier customers and have been used in community gardens, corporate office court yards, urban pocket parks and schools. The lovely flowers brighten up any space and it is fascinating to watch the fruit grow — and what a lovely treat to be able to pick your own apples from the trees.

One notable housing project in Rugby, designed by BMD (Bradley Murphy Design), used a natural grouping of 40 mature fruit trees to give structure and character at the entrance to the new major housing development. The fruit trees reflected the history of the site and had been renowned, locally, for its old orchards. It created a fantastic, character-filled area for the new residents to enjoy.

The range of semi-mature fruit trees available from Hillier will vary, but there is always a good selection of eating and cooking apple varieties. Contact us for our latest availability list of our semi-mature fruit trees.

Design Gems

The creation of the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park in London saw the planting of thousands of beautiful semi-mature trees, supplied by Hillier. The scale was huge, but within the structural planting of new woodlands and avenues were many lovely design features and clever use of trees.

One such feature was the seating and play area, which is close to the Olympic Stadium. This section of the park is defined by closely planted, single species copses – in this case, Prunus serrula. The designers, LDA, selected this tree for its beautiful, shiny, rich red mahogany-coloured bark. The bark continually peels to reveal russet amber and the peeling bark then curls and remains on the trunk to catch the light, giving the tree a life of its own. When trees are planted together, the effect of the bark is amplified and is beautiful all year round, with the canopies merging and the individual trees blending and working together as a unit. The trees were all individually selected at Hillier by LDA to ensure the smoothest trunks and even clear stem height and trees were secured with short stakes stained black for a crisp finish.

Unique Requirements

Hillier grows many pre-shaped trees, such as pleached trees, cubes, globes or archways in a range of species. Pleached trees are often used to define a space, such as a courtyard or provide additional height and screening.

We have had many interesting and sometimes famous visitors to our field nurseries over the years, including a visit from a theatrical designer together with Landscape Architects firm Gillespies. The unique project was for Shakespeare`s New Place in Stratford–upon-Avon, which was the great writer’s family home from 1597 until his death in 1616. The house was eventually demolished in 1759. Instead of trying to produce a replica of the building, the vision was to produce a garden which would commemorate the importance of the site and allow visitors to make their own personal connection with Shakespeare. Following discussion of what was possible horticulturally and understanding of the artistic and dramatic vision required, a number of pleached trees were selected that now form a dramatic circle in the centre of the garden.

Shakespeare`s New Place is a fantastic success, hugely popular with its many visitors. Hillier is pleased to have played a small part in this unique and historic project.


Caroline Swann

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