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Free-standing espalier - any ideas?

I'd like to try an ornamental espalier (non-fruit)  to border a knot garden and wondered if anyone had any tried and tested suggestions for something relatively low growing (i.e. under 6ft). I've done pyracantha, ceanothus and garrya sucessfully in other situations, but this were quite tall wall-trained specimens. Anyone got any ideas for other plants?

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  • Would an amelanchier work? They don't get too big, with spring and autumn interest. Not tried and tested, just a thought  

  • roses might do but they take a bit of looking after 

    • PRO

      yes i agree, and they do have the guarantee of summer colour...

  • That's a tough one, with regard the 6ft, The only one I can think of that iv seen is Cotinus coggeria.  A bit of pruning to keep it in check, but that's no harm. As mentioned by David about Rose's ,any shrub rose( certainly ths David Austins) can be trained in this fashion. Lovely on the fingers in late winter too!!



    • PRO

      how about cotoneaster  Privet  photinia  Parrotia some will need  regular pruning but if you can get rooted wips a good start


      • PRO

        I've heard that Photinia is a good one for espalier, I may well try that - thanks.

        • Iv seen an awful lot of photina, evergreen oak and eleagnus ebbengii over here in Brussels. Very popular for balcony gardens mostly imported from Italy  So they should also work. One last one would be the ornamental weeping pear. A stunning backdrop if pruned properly to get that young leaved effect over a season. Piet ouldolf uses it very effectively as  clipped accents in  his own garden in venlo Holland. Superb plant.

    • PRO

      Ouch! Yes, and ramblers are even worse... I like your idea of Cotinus though - have you ever espaliered it yourself?

  • I'd also suggest Hydrangea aspera.Its just a hunch but it would fit the size requirements  and has a beautiful leaf and flower.Might suit the knot garden style...Slow to get started mind..

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