Britain goes hornbeam crazy

Hornbeam has become the new must-have feature of a garden for horticultural enthusiasts, a sector commentator has suggested.

Writing in the online pages of the Guardian, Dominic Murphy cites anecdotal evidence from garden centres as proof of the nations passion for the tree.

He suggests that the plants "star turn" at the Royal Horticultural Society Chelsea Flower Show may have led to its new-found popularity.

Mr Murphy explains that they featured in a garden designed by Tom Stuart-Smith, which won the best in show prize at the event.

"They appeared pruned into surreal-looking shapes, a tangle of bare branches with pompoms of leaves on the end," he elaborates.

People eager to emulate Mr Stuart-Smiths award-winning horticultural designs will need to begin with a tree that is about ten years old, chopping it back to the framework in winter and then rubbing off any sprouts that they do not want to develop in spring.