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="http://www.greenwoodnursery.com/page.cfm/5134 ">Red Bud Forest
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="http://www.greenwoodnursery.com/page.cfm/10361 ">Red Bud
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
<a href="http://www.greenwoodnursery.com/page.cfm/19518 ">Sourwood
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
<a href="http://www.greenwoodnursery.com/page.cfm/10462 ">Cherry
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 www.landsteward.org and find the "flowering trees"
column under the Plant Man heading. The Akebono is another of my
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="http://www.greenwoodnursery.com/page.cfm/19840 ">Tree-form
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
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
resources and additional information, or to subscribe to Steve's free
weekly e-mailed newsletter, go to www.landsteward.org