However small your garden, planting at least one tree will help add seasonal interest with blossom or autumnal foliage, height and shade.  Multi-stems in particular make a great architectural focal point as a specimen or plant several for more of a woodland feel. The lovely, natural shape is created by cutting the trees right back and leaving them to grow multiple stems.  

Underplant your multi-stem with grasses such as Hakonechloa macra, en masse or shade lovers such a hellebores, epimedium, brunnera and pulmonaria, combined with bulbs such as crocuses. Naturalistic umbels such as Anthriscus sylvestris look pretty too as do. 

Here’s our pick: 

Crataegus persimilis ‘Prunifolia’ A lovely deciduous tree has a neat, rounded canopy. It has a long season of interest with clusters of white flowers in late spring and early summer bright red fruit in late summer and fabulous autumn leaves. 

Parottia Persica. If it’s autumn colour you’re after, this tree is the one to go for, as the leaves turn a breathtaking yellow, then orange and finally fiery red. The bark also makes an attractive feature in winter. It can get fairly big so best for larger gardens. 

Betula.  Birches are a popular as multi-stems.  As well as the white-barked Himalayan birch, B. utilis ‘Jacquemontii’, my favourite is the more pinky-barked B. albosinensis ‘Fascination’. 

Amelanchier lamarckii.  This small tree works well as a multi-stem for small gardens as it doesn’t get too big. It has gorgeous white blossom in spring and fab autumn colour.  

Prunus serrula.  A pretty cherry, this looks stunning as a multi-stem with its mahogany peeling bark shining in the winter months.  It has small white flowers in the spring and good autumn colour. 

Malus ‘Evereste’.  This is a beautifully shaped small crab apple with excellent spring blossom, good autumn colour, and masses of orange-yellow fruits through the winter.   

Cercis canadensis ‘Forest Pansy’.  This pretty spreading tree has stunning bright pink flowers on bare stems in spring followed by stunning deep purple heart-shaped leaves in summer with bronze foliage in autumn.