Spring Flowering Tree Preview

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Spring Flowering Tree Preview

Categories: Blog, Garden Guru

OK, I’ll admit it: I went and took all sorts of wonderful pictures of staff and volunteers at work in the greenhouses but when I got back to write the blog — NO IMAGES because there was no ICF card in the camera! Since one set of the attempted photos showed Marie Frye (Senior Gardener, Collections and Plant Records) planting new hybrid magnolia seed — I looked at previous magnolia images and they were just what the Doctor ordered to cure spring fever! So here’s sharing some of Powell Gardens’ spring flowering trees taken in previous springs:

Star Magnolia (Magnolia stellata) has bloomed as early as late February in prior springs but is still smartly in tight bud this year. I would guess it should show emerging flowers in as little as two weeks if the weather returns to normal. We have several of this marvelous huge shrub or small tree planted throughout Powell Gardens and I can’t wait to smell its sweet fragrance and see the trees “foliated” in precocious flowers.

Rustica Rubra Saucer Magnolia (Magnolia x soulangiana) is always a fine goblet of rosy pink with a blush white interior. We have two young trees of this magnolia northeast of the Visitor Center– usually in bloom in late March or early April.

Marvelous Maxine Merrill Magnolia (Magnolia ‘Merrill’ x ‘Miss Honeybee’) glows with yellow and is one of the latest spring magnolias to bloom. Look for this wonderful tree along the Dogwood Walk. I think I can announce that Powell Gardens has been selected as one of three public gardens in North America to display and conserve the incredible biodiversity of this Genera of plants and its hybrids. A recent private donation of hybrid seeds comprised more than 90 controlled crosses. Marie Frye will germinate the seed and we will grow the seedlings out in our outdoor nurseries until their unique floral and other ornamental characteristics can be evaluated. YOU WILL BE BLOWN AWAY by the new hybrid magnolias and their stunningly exquisite flowers.

Redbuds (Cercis canadensis) almost always are in full bloom by April 10th at Powell Gardens. This image is of the cultivar ‘Appalachian Red’ with vibrant hot pink (not red) flowers. Since redbuds are native throughout Greater Kansas City I consider them the best flowering tree to capture our spirit of place. Powell Gardens displays a wide array of cultivars of this plant in the Chapel landscape.

Yes there is a double flowering redbud: ‘Flame.’ Don’t blame me for that cultivar name and I have no idea how it was given — ‘Rosebud’ might have been a better name! We have several Flame Redbuds near the Chapel trolley stop.

Pauline Lily Redbud is a delightful blush pink. Look for this plant near the Chapel trolley stop as well.

Missouri’s state tree, Flowering Dogwood (Cornus florida) remains a favorite flowering tree and usually is in full bloom by late April, often lasting into early May. Flowering dogwoods set their flower buds in late summer and fall and they must survive the winter to bloom the following spring. Severe winters have been known to damage the flowers but after checking our trees today, the flower buds all look fine!

Pink Flowering Dogwood (Cornus florida forma or variety rubra) comes in various shades of pink. We have a young tree we grew from seed that has exceptional peach pink emerging bracts that open to the softest blush pink — it will be propagated for evaluation and possible introduction into the nursery trade.
Some dogwoods have bracts that emerge almost true red like this ‘Cherokee Brave’ Dogwood — these flowers will fade to an almost coral pink over time. Look for Cherokee Brave Dogwood at the beginning of the Dogwood Walk at Powell Gardens.
Mark you calendars to come see Powell Gardens fabulous flowering trees this spring. The early magnolias may start blooming as soon as mid-March, Redbuds in mid-April and Dogwoods later that month into early May. I guarantee the experience will be a cure for spring fever!