The earliest flowers of redbuds and dogwoods are often separated by ten days, sometimes two weeks, but this otherwise troubled spring continues to be blessed by a splendid year in the garden. A drive down a local highway, or a walk through the neighborhood reveals delightful blooms that are even more abundant in natural settings than in local gardens.

Redbud (Cercis canadensis, above) dependably flowers the first of April at the edge of forests bordering local highways and in my neighborhood, and in sunny spots it is among the many trees flowering a few days early in this mild early spring. Most are reaching full bloom now, with the native dogwoods (Cornus florida, below) just behind.

There are no better choices than these native trees to select for gardens with limited space, with the native serviceberry (Amelanchier spp., below) also an excellent choice. In this garden there are several native dogwoods and redbuds, with others peeking out from the forest that borders the southern edge of the property. Unfortunately, two red leafed ‘Forest Pansy’ redbuds were lost in recent years, one two years ago as dry ground turned overly wet.

While the dogwood is susceptible to a number of slightly disfiguring leaf spotting and mildew problems, these are rarely fatal, with trees in this garden suffering from stem and leaf problems for many years with little ill effect, and no diminished flowering.

7 Comments Add yours

  1. dleetempl says:

    Thank you Dave. Just like the road trip in Autumn to enjoy the bright colors of Fall, nothing beats the view of Redbud after Redbud along Virginia’s highways. It truly is the volunteer tree that keeps performing year after year!

    1. Dave says:

      My ride to work in the morning is still in the dark, but I enjoy redbuds lining the back roads I travel every evening.

  2. tonytomeo says:

    Ah, the state tree of Oklahoma! . . . and Virginia!

    1. Dave says:

      Dogwood is our state tree and flower, but redbud should be a close second.

      1. tonytomeo says:

        Oops, I neglected state flowers. Well, any state flower if better than that of Oklahoma. So, the state flower and state tree of Virginia are the same? Selection a town flower and a town tree for our town has been stoopidly lame. No one who lives here now cares about what is native or of cultural significance. They come up with suggestions of stoopidly rare flowers that they saw on vacation in the tropics somewhere, as if trying to outdo others on the rarity of their suggestions. I want cat tail to be the flower, mainly because of the name (our town is Los Gatos), but also because it really happens to be native to the big marsh that was where much of the norther part of town is now. I want the tree to be either the California sycamore or the coast live oak, . . . or the apricot tree. The first two are the most common native trees, and the third was the most common of the orchards that were here so long ago. I would not mind if the apricot tree became the town tree, and the apricot blossom became the town flower.

  3. Lauren says:

    Love redbuds- thanks for the reminder to consider more in the back!

  4. Bonnie C. says:

    I’ve also noticed that this year everything seems to be blooming in sync. Usually it’s Redbuds first, followed by our peach tree, followed by the wild white native dogwoods, & finally our lovely pink dogwood. This year our peach tree was first to bloom, followed by the Redbuds & quickly followed by both dogwoods. Usually the Redbuds are done by the time the dogwoods are starting up. An odd, if lovely, Spring.

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