English Beech Group

A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step

English Proverb.


I started this group off way back in the mid 1980’s. I wanted to do a group planting – but could not make my mind up with what particular species. I happened on a nursery (non-bonsai) as you tend to when out and about, and saw some hedging Beech in a bucket, £1.50 a bundle.

Each bundle had around ten trees in so without further hesitation I parted with my £1.50 and planted them up in a large wooden box I made from scrap wood. At that time I did not take any photographs, didn’t imagine for one minute I would have a use for that kind of photograph (oh to turn the clocks back), also back in the days of 35mm film cameras I was generally aware of the cost of developing as well, so tried to make them count.

They did very well indeed over several years, and in 1990 I potted them up into a fairly small glazed blue container. Completely wrong but it sufficed for that time. They stayed in there for several years, being repotted here and there. The following picture is that image from 1990.

Beech Group 1990

So for the next few years it was a case of creating a shape that would be eventually acceptable. Before I go on though, I must say that this group suffered some serious damage when two Badgers in my garden decided to fight and bash it around. Much work was required to make some sense of it again.

The next picture is one where I thought this view was the better one. Sadly it did not work and so a couple of years work was wasted really. turning it around saw almost all the main trees growing away from the front view which simply did not work.

Beech Group 1995

A house move came next some 14-15 years ago and at that time I decided to change the pot as the existing one was simply not deep enough. The next picture is around ten years ago and the angle has been changed once more. All trees with the exception of the rear ones are now curving towards the angle of view.

It has been allowed to grow and is in this picture looking a little bushy!


Here on in I did not for a million reasons keep going with a decent record of further development. The following are in order though.

The last picture was taken towards the end of 2010 and since then I have really gone in quite hard to the group as it was getting too large laterally. I will update this case history around May/June 2011 as along with a prune and reshape, repotting will be carried out this year (2011). It has become very bushy again in the 2010 Autumn pictures and as I say, I have cut in hard this time to further develop ramification.

English Beech Group

English Beech Group_edited-2

3 thoughts on “English Beech Group

  1. Looks good.I would love to know the size of the pot and average distance between the trees. i have just completed my first attempt a group planting and am not sure about it. Thanks Mike.

    1. Mike Jones

      Thank you. Quite large, pot is 37′ long , a Walsall Ceramics. Gaps vary between trees. If you would like to let me see an image of your own group planting I could perhaps make a suggestion. Making a group planting does not restrict you to just one way. There are many alternatives; for example large trees to front and smaller to rear, laid it such a way as to give the illusion of full prospective. Leaving an empty space to one side also comes over as pleasing.

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