Peak bloom of spring-flowering trees creates one of the most colorful experiences in the garden. Redbuds, our classic native spring-flowering tree normally are beginning to bloom on April 10th! This year we are now 2 weeks behind “average” but we are thrilled to report that all the cold snaps did NO damage to flowering and fruit trees (only very minor damage to some magnolia flowers). It got down briefly to 31F with NO frost: whew! So come out this weekend and enjoy the show!
Redbuds (Cercis canadensis) with their blue-pink “raspberry sherbet” colored flowers are always the colorful breath of springtime in our local woodlands, yards and gardens of the region. You can readily see that redbuds are related to peas and beans by the shape of their flowers and subsequent seed pods.
Here’s a Magnolia ‘Galaxy’ flower taken yesterday: they are 6 inches across. This is a relatively new hybrid of Magnolia from the National Arboretum. It’s a hybrid of a cultivar of the Lily Magnolia and the more tender ‘Diva’ Magnolia.
Here’s 2 of our Galaxy Magnolias planted about 20 years ago. They have a few flowers disheveled by the cold and wind but are still glorious.
Here’s one of our newer magnolias: ‘Simple Pleasures’ and it will be a great garden plant because this is its second round of flowers! The flowers are large and a nice pink. Powell Gardens’ magnolia collection focuses on new varieties with cold hardiness and recurrent blooms that will escape frosts.
The European Plums a.k.a. Damson and Prune-Plum trees were in bloom at the entrance to the Heartland Harvest Garden yesterday. With early predictions of a cold 25F this week that never happened we are breathing a sigh of relief that Mother Nature was kind to us. Plums, peaches, apples, pears and other beautiful spring-blooming fruit trees’ flowers were unscathed by the cold. Step one in savoring delicious fruit this coming season in the Heartland Harvest Garden! I think we had enough warm sunny days in between so the pollinators could do their job for us. The bees were sure busy yesterday pollinating all the flowers in the wonderfully sunny 67F degree day.
If you noticed a wonderful scent in the air in the Heartland Harvest Garden then chances are it was the Clove Currant (Ribes odoratum) flowers now in bloom. Horticulturist Matt Bunch describes the flower with clove and lilac scents while our Gardener, Sarah Sommerkamp describes a hint of banana! Our sense of smell triggers memories and the Clove Currant’s scent brings me back to childhood, walking home from school through old neighborhoods where this shrub was cherished. Sadly it is rare in modern landscapes but gaining popularity with the edible landscaping movement. Its deliciously fragrant flowers produce tasty black currants in summer.
Yesterday I also took this picture of a Serviceberry (Amelanchier sp.) in front of our old Visitor Center. What a lovely cloud of white, foliated in flowers and illuminated by the sun. One thing about cool springs is that flowers last longer — serviceberries notoriously bloom briefly in the heat! This spring we will have a chance to savor the floral displays with many blooming together as spring is a bit compressed by the late start. Serviceberries are another edible landscape plant and you will see them planted from the Perennial and Rock & Waterfall Garden to the Heartland Harvest Garden. Their early summer fruit are delicious! Come to Powell Gardens this weekend and enjoy the rainbow of colors found in our flowering trees. The dogwoods will not yet be blooming but the redbuds will be glorious!