The West Himalayan birch – Betula utilis var. jacquemontii – comes, as its name suggests, from the Himalayas, but you can find it closer to home near the South Walk in the University Park. It is a medium-sized tree which can eventually grow to 18 metres tall, with an eight-metre spread. It is a vigorous deciduous plant with fantastic white bark on the trunk and larger branches, which peels to show fresh colour – this is particularly vibrant during the winter. The leaves are ovate – egg-shaped with a tapering point – and turn yellow in the autumn. In the early spring it has yellow-brown catkins which grow to around 12cm long. The tree will grow in most aspects, though it prefers full sun or partial shade, and will tolerate most soils provided they are well-drained. Leave plenty of room for it to grow as a feature tree – it is ideal for a winter garden. You can propagate it either by taking softwood cuttings or by grafting on to a suitable rootstock.