Small spaces can bask in colorful trees, too

Color, it seems, is high on the list of priorities for gardening and landscaping enthusiasts. After last week's column about vividly colorful flowering trees, I received a lot of e-mails from readers essentially saying, "Tell me more!"
Because not everyone has a yard the size of Central Park, my suggestions today focus on trees that work well in smaller-scale areas.
<a href=" ">Red Bud Forest Pansy</a><br> If you're searching for a colorful tree that wouldn't overpower a smaller garden, take a look at the Forest Pansy. The tiny, delicate leaves emerge in spring and suddenly you see a brilliant display of deep maroon-red 'confetti' that will last all through summer, turning to yellow in the fall.
Because the Red Bud Forest Pansy will only attain a height of 20 ft or so at maturity, with a spread of around 15 ft, it has the right scale for a modestly-sized area. It has a moderate growth rate and prefers sun to partial sun and well-drained soil.
<a href=" ">Red Bud Lavender Twist</a><br> While we're thinking about Red Buds, let's not forget this unusual variety. The good news is that it's easy to grow. The bad news? It's not easy to find. Essentially, the Lavender Twist is a weeping form of the native Red Bud with contorted stems and shoots arching to produce an umbrella-shaped crown.
When it comes to color, the lavender-pink flowers stand out in bright contrast against the dark stems in spring before the leaves emerge. Even after the flowers have gone, the blueish-green foliage is very pleasing to the eye. If you have a spot that gets the early sun then partial shade for the rest of the day, you have the perfect location for a Lavender Twist, particularly if the soil is somewhat moist but well drained. Again, a good candidate for modest-sized lots, topping out between 6 and 10 ft with the gnarled limbs spreading 5 to 8 ft wide.
<a href=" ">Sourwood tree</a><br> This is one of our favorites. Cheryl and I enjoy the sight of the drooping panicles of brilliant white flowers that begin around the middle of summer and persist into autumn. Sourwood's foliage puts on one of the most spectacular fall displays of any tree, often transitioning from orange to brick red to flaming scarlet!
A Sourwood looks good as a specimen and works well in small groupings, too. Select a lightly-shaded location that has moist, acid, well-drained soil and incorporate some organic material to give it a good start.
<a href=" ">Cherry "Akebono"</a><br> In the previous column, I described the cherry known as "First Lady." If you missed that column, you can find it archived at my Web site. Go to and find the "flowering trees" column under the Plant Man heading. The Akebono is another of my favorites.
In the spring, the Akebono sports fluffy clouds of delicate pink flowers that are even more brightly tinted than the better known Yoshino variety, famous for the annual blossom display in Washington, DC. A good choice for admirers of spectacular cherry blossoms.
<a href=" ">Tree-form Persian Lilac</a><br> Plant a pair of these tree-form Persian Lilacs to accent the entrance to your garden or to frame a walkway and you might find your landscape drawing admiring glances from neighbors and passers-by.
Good things certainly can come in small packages and this little fellow will probably not exceed 6 ft in height at maturity. I really like the abundant blooms with their pale lilac color and distinctive fragrance. This one is quite rare. If you can't find it, try Googling "tree form Persian Lilac" or send me an e-mail and I'll send you some shopping information.
Whatever the size of your landscape, from tiny to vast, you can enjoy colors that go beyond green!
The Plant Man is here to help. Send questions about trees, shrubs and landscaping to <a
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