Of course, more favorites

Several redbuds and handfuls of dogwoods of various sorts are scattered about the garden. Most have been around since the garden’s early days, and of course all are favorites (even hybrid and Chinese dogwoods that flower in May). But the weeks pass, and as blooms of dogwoods, redbuds, and serviceberry fade, the view out the kitchen window is filled by the aptly named, dangling flowers of Carolina silverbell (Halesia carolina, below). This splendid tree must also be a favorite, and sadly it is less common and certainly under utilized so that many gardeners are unaware of its beauty.

Flowers of Carolina silverbell dangle from branches like bells.

While there are arguably too many trees in this garden (at least according to the assistant gardener, my wife), my mistake was planting only one silverbell, with this one situated in moderately deep shade so that lower branches have been lost and the lowest blooms dangle above head height. In brighter shade these branches, and flowers would be held closer to the admirer, and despite a shortage of space for planting more favorites (a dozen Japanese maples and a Dove tree are waiting in pots for a spot to open), I am certain there is something that I should have done without to gain a second silverbell.

While many flowering trees are showing their wares in early spring, the columnar Persian ironwood ‘Persian Spire’ (Parrotia persica ‘Persian Spire’, above) displays splendid leaf coloring, with a purple halo surrounding its green leaves. I am concerned that this spot, where a Franklin tree (Franklinia alatamaha) perished as the surrounding soil turned too damp for too long, could also be too moist for the ironwood. It is leafing for the third year, so I’m gaining confidence. I’ve become quite attached to this tree, and quite a few others, it seems.

In any part of the view from the kitchen not filled by the silverbell there is certainly one or more Japanese maples (above and below) to be seen. A large Alaskan cedar in declining health was removed a few months ago, opening the view from the kitchen. My wife demands that nothing taller than a daffodil be planted to obstruct this view, and of course I’ve told her this is absurd. I will manage the view to keep it more open, much more open than when the garden was obstructed by a thirty foot tall evergreen, and I enjoy the view of the silverbell and maples, but there are more favorites to plant.

The Golden Full Moon maple is beyond the view down the slope into the rear garden, but it is a particular favorite, and one that I searched for years to find before obtaining one of good size.

3 Comments Add yours

  1. susurrus says:

    I can see why you would be attached to these. The leaves with the purple halo are new to me – does the effect persist as the leaves age?

    1. Dave says:

      By summer the purple edge fades to green, but it persists through the spring.

  2. tonytomeo says:

    Persian ironwood is remarkably reliable for foliar color in autumn, even here where winter weather is so mild. It seems to me that it should be more popular than it is. We grew them only briefly before discontinuing production because of lack of marketability. The old stock plants are rad! We actually tried Carolina silverbell too, although it might have been a different species of silverbell. So many people here either have mundane taste, or bad taste.

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