For me, at this time of year, nothing lifts my spirits quite like the
sight of the beautiful flowering trees that Cheryl and I have planted
over the years as part of our landscape. And it's not just our
trees. Driving around the neighborhood I can see splashes of crimson,
pink and snow white where, only a few weeks ago there were only greys
and muted browns.
Maybe you've seen some colorful trees that really delighted you, but
you weren't sure what they were exactly and so you couldn't your
own specimens or even investigate them online.
Here is a quick glance at some of the most spectacular and breathtaking
flowering trees (at least in my opinion!) that should help you identify
your favorites as you plan some eye-popping color for your own
http://www.greenwoodnursery.com/page.cfm/29762 Crape Myrtle
Let's start with a bang: This thing really does look like an
explosion, the vivid red blooms bursting outwards as if caught in a
freeze-frame by an action movie director. As you can tell, I really
like this one!
I first saw this particular Myrtle variety while leaving a
drive-through restaurant and immediately circled back to take a photo.
With some detective work, I tracked down the plant to a nearby nursery
wholesaler and just had to buy a few for our own landscape!
It grows quickly, is fairly mildew-resistant and reaches a mature
height of between 10 and 20 feet. You can use it as a colorful border
or screen, but I like to see them planted in groups of three, about 15
http://www.greenwoodnursery.com/page.cfm/35443 Cherry "First Lady"
(Prunus campanulata okame x)
The name "First Lady" makes sense as soon as you see this cherry
tree. It is slim, elegant and regal, reminding me of Jackie Kennedy or
Nancy Reagan in front of the White House. The upright shape makes it a
good choice where "spread" is an issue: expect a mature height of
maybe 20 ft and a spread of 15 ft.
The bell-shaped flowers appear in mid April with a vibrant hue
somewhere between deep pink and red. The blooms look stunning against
the glossy, dark green leaves (which will turn to a warm yellow in the
fall). First Lady grows quite quickly and does fine in full or partial
sun or shade.
http://www.greenwoodnursery.com/page.cfm/10331 Venus Kousa Dogwood
(Cornus kousa nuttalli)
This is a rare one but definitely worth seeking out, particularly if
you like a dogwood with large (as in HUGE) flowers. A single creamy
white bloom can entirely cover a man's hand. It grows to about 20 ft
tall and appears to be resistant to dogwood anthracnose and mildew.
The Venus was produced by Dr. Elwin Orton, Jr, a plant breeder at
Rutgers University. It's new and not easy to find. Try typing
dogwood kousa venus into Google or send me an e-mail at
email@example.com and I'll help you.
http://www.greenwoodnursery.com/page.cfm/11689 Magnolia Sweetbay
This is probably my favorite magnolia because of the creamy white
blossoms nestled in the vibrant, glossy green foliage. The blossoms
give off a distinctive, almost lemony scent that seems evocative of an
earlier, less hurried era.
Cheryl and I planted a Sweetbay near our mailbox so we could enjoy the
fragrance and sight of the blossoms every morning from spring through
late summer as we went out to pick up our mail. Sweetbay is evergreen
to semi-evergreen and is tolerant of most soil from moist to wet in
zones 5 through 9. Expect a mature height of 30 to 50 ft.
Those are just four of my personal flowering favorites. In a future
column, I'll review some more to help you add a vivid splash of color
to your own outdoors. Meanwhile, drop me an e-mail if you need some
personal suggestions for brightening up your landscape.
The Plant Man is here to help. Send questions about trees, shrubs and
landscaping to firstname.lastname@example.org. For resources and additional
information, or to subscribe to Steve's free weekly e-mailed
newsletter, go to www.landsteward.org