Top 5 trees to celebrate Earth Day

Get planting with these handsome but hardy trees that thrive in Britain

April 22 is Earth Day – and this year’s campaign is all about planting trees. In fact, the campaign group’s lofty ambition is to plant a whopping 7.8 billion new trees across the world.

As now is the perfect time to start thinking about preparing your garden for summer, why not do your bit by planting a tree (or two) of your own.

What is Earth Day?

Earth Day began as a national campaign in the US in 1970 to raise awareness of environmental issues to a largely oblivious American population. Sparking the modern environmental movement, the campaign has snowballed over the decades into a worldwide phenomenon. Now entering its 46th year, it continues to build momentum and spread awareness as it hurtles towards its 50th anniversary in 2020. 

Why you should plant a tree today?

Trees not only make a big impact on the look of your garden – bringing a touch of the countryside to your own back yard – they’re also a great way to give something back to the planet. Providing havens for all manner of wildlife from birds and bees to bugs and butterflies – trees can transform your garden into a miniature nature reserve. This is great for the planet and great fun for kids with curious minds.

Ready to get planting? Here are a few of our favourite trees that are tough enough to survive and thrive in our chilly climate.

Fig tree

From its distinctive foliage saving Adam and Eve their blushes to its delectable fruit cropping up on the trendiest menus in town, the fig tree has certainly stood the test of time. And with the right care, it will stand the test of time in your garden. The best variety for growing is ficus carica (or ‘Brown Turkey’), whose fruit ripen in August and have a deliciously sweet taste. Read more about the fig in our plant guide.

These evergreen trees are slow but steady growers and promise to bring a touch of the Mediterranean to your garden. With a warm, balmy summer, you might even be lucky enough to get some olives. Establish your olive tree in a pot to begin with – a great addition to your patio. 

Olive tree

Fruit trees

Dream of having an orchard (who doesn’t, right?) but only have a modest garden? The good news is you don’t need hectares of land to grow fruit trees. And what could be more satisfying than eating the fruits of your labour? Find out more about how to grow everything from apples, pears, plums and cherries in our plant guide on fruit trees.

Bay Laurel

Bay laurel is an evergreen shrub that originates from the Mediterranean and adds a touch of cool to your garden. It's the ideal plant for creating a hedge or as a feature in pots and containers on a patio or balcony. You can place bay laurel in full sunlight, but it is also content in partial shade. Find out more about the bay tree here

Recreate the relaxed and sunny vibe of Southern Spain on your patio with a lemon tree. Its lush green leaves promise to give you pleasure all year round (although be sure to transfer inside at the first sight of frost). Autumn may even bring you a crop of ripe and juicy lemons – something to celebrate with a cold G&T. Find out more about citrus trees here. 

Lemon tree

Read more about the history of the Earth Day campaign here.