Friday, March 3, 2017

Bonanza vs. Bedraggled

Bonanza vs. Bedraggled?  What does it all mean?
Flowering Quince
Spring flowering shrubs and trees are a bonanza of beautiful flowers as winter fades into warmer weather.  Crab apple and red bud trees, forsythia, lilacs and quince bushes; all and more are covered with wildly fabulous flowers in the Spring.

What happens after the flowers?  They all tend to look a bit bare; some to the point of downright bedraggled.

The catalogs all show huge rows of a particular Spring flowering bush or tree all packed and perfect with bright flowers.  Gardeners have been known to rush out and buy several, plant them together and weep at the scrawny exhibit the rest of the year.  

Should we give up on them?  No!  We need to position them where it won't really matter how they look the rest of the year.
Old Fashioned Lilac

A row of Spring flowering shrubs in front of the house will be regretted.  A row running down a side fence or across the back will be forgotten when other things start to bloom.

Spring flowering trees and bushes bloom before most other deciduous trees get their leaves.  This allows them to be planted where another plant may shade them a bit during summer.  An example:

Nestle a golden flowered forsythia in an arrangement with an oak, a couple of dwarf evergreen bushes, a climbing clematis and some daylilies.  The oak won't be leafed out until later in the spring.  The evergreens will pull the eye away from the summer forsythia branches and add some depth in the winter.  The clematis will use the forsythia as a trellis and the daylilies will fill in around the front.
Ornamental Plum

Spring flowering shrubs and trees will not do well in deep shade.  They also should never be pruned in the spring until AFTER they've flowered.  

Spring flowering trees can be used as specimens since the usually have pleasing branching.  I try not to plant too many things under them so they can make the most of any moisture.  And I don't plant them near patios or where dropping their flowers and fruits can be a messy cleanup task.  
Cherokee Dogwood

Spring flowering trees are especially beautiful in Asian themed landscaping. 

You can also choose Spring flowering trees that have interesting leaves in other seasons (the Cherokee Dogwood leaves turn a deep mahogany red in the fall.)

The Red Bud tree has long interesting seed pods in the fall.  Many fruit trees are now bred to only be ornamental and not produce fruit.  

These Red Bud tree pictures show Spring blooms and Fall seed pods.

In the middle of summer, it may not seem important to plant spring flowering bushes and trees but OH they are so very wonderful bringing us out of the winter grays.  Don't banish these beauties from your yard simply because they tend to be average the rest of the year - position them to fill all your need.  


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