At the back of my tiny townhouse lot, there is a three-foot-wide swale (or ditch as I call it). I?d like some privacy but
can I plant trees close to the swale, which is usually wet?

?Karen Richard, Oakville, ON

Lucky you! You can certainly plant near and in the swale. Near it, try the native snakebark maple (Acer pennsylvanicum), paperbark maple (A. griseum) and/or serviceberry (Amelanchier). These small trees will give you fabulous fall foliage and the serviceberry has white blooms in spring. For evergreens, look to hemlocks (Tsuga canadensis ?Gentsch White? is a smaller form). All provide protection and habitat for birds. In the swale, plant the largest form of Joe Pye weed (Eupatorium) you can. I have them over 12 feet high. Fill in with red osier dogwood (Cornus sericea) and daylilies (Hemerocallis).

?Marjorie Harris, Editor at Large