Multi-stemmed trees appeal and delight. Featuring in many show gardens this year, they bring a fresh look to garden trees, so they can become a major focal point in any garden, including a small one.

Multi-stemmed trees can, of course, become enormous. I have a two-stemmed silver birch which is strikingly beautiful when a sinking autumn sun gently infuses the golden leaves and highlights its shimmering white bark. And I had nothing to do with pruning it. A visiting roe deer nibbled the leader of the young birch 30 years ago, resulting in the double stems.

So I’m reminded every autumn of just how appealing multi-stemmed trees can be and that it’s worth creating a-small scale version in the garden.

A multi-stemmed tree’s shape is its major selling point. Like my birch, it has a small number of stems, rather than a single trunk., And, depending on the tree’s location, removing the side-shoots to a height of one or two metres, lets you look through rather than at it. So, a multi-stemmed tree helps create the illusion of greater space in the garden.

It adds interest to lots of places: a dark, gloomy corner, pale sheds and fences and a view of the distant sky. Or it could simply become a central feature, possibly giving shade and shelter in an exposed place.

There’s no shortage of possible candidates: Acer, Betula, Cornus, Medlar and Amelanchier, to name a few. So you need to choose a tree with a suitable final height and spread that would enhance your chosen spot. It’s best to start with a new tree, not try to reshape an existing one.

With a light background, one of my favourites is Acer davidii George Forrest (also called Snake bark maple). The young tree has striking red, even purple bark with green vertical stripes and as it matures, the bark turns greeny brown with white stripes.

Cornus Kousa var chinensis is another good choice. Its dark flaking bark reveals coppery tan beneath. In early summer, the tiny green flower-heads are surrounded by showy white bracts that look as if they are the flowers.

The long leaves turn a magnificent deep crimson in autumn and you might also get small fleshy red fruits.

Conversely, Betula utilis subsp. Jacquemontii, exhibited at Tatton Park this year, and Parrotia persica, bring a light touch to darker backgrounds.

And by the way, you don’t need to splash out £70-£100 for a ready-pruned tree. Buy a maiden whip for £2-£5 and have the fun of designing and creating your own multi-stemmed tree.

Whichever you go for, pruning and shaping is an ongoing job, so why not make a start now?

Plant of the week

Crocosmia ’Emily McKenzie’ has large, bright orange flowers with mahogany markings in the throat. It has now been flowering for a month outside my office window and shows no sign of flagging. Stake discreetly for the best display. The clump has increased over the years but not aggressively and seems to need minimal care.