A traditional laburnum walkway makes a spectacular feature in early summer, and can be created in most gardens. Enjoy its blast of seasonal color, and plant around it to double the display.
When to plant: Late autumn.
At their best: Early summer.
Time to complete: 4 days.
You will need: 4 laburnum trees (or more for a longer walk), metal-framed fruit tree arch, spade, fork, tree ties, wire.
Install the arch supports
You can buy sturdy fruit tree or vine arches in a variety of sizes to suit your needs. Select two that will span your walkway, or ask a blacksmith to make a set to fit your design. Most metal arches are simply set into the soil.
Plant and train
Plant one tree next to each arch upright, water well, and secure with a tree tie. Train the branches over the arch as they grow, tying them in with tree or tube ties. Over time, you may find it necessary to link the arches with coated wires to support new stems.
Water the trees regularly for the first two years until they are established, and check and loosen tree ties every few months. Feed each spring with a shrub and tree fertilizer to promote the best possible display. Prune any wayward branches in winter, and regularly remove thicker, woodier growth to make space for young flowering stems. Plant other shrubs and climbers below and nearby for additional color. All parts of a laburnum are poisonous if ingested, so do not plant where children or pets play.
Bulbs are ideal for planting beneath your arch. Early bulbs, such as daffodils, will flower before the trees, while tulips and alliums bloom at the same time. Shade-loving ferns will provide long-lasting interest.