I look forward to the warmth of spring, now just a few days (or weeks) off, with more anticipation than most years. A newly planted redbud (in December), a one of a kind variegated sport (below) of the superb, yellow leafed ‘Rising Sun’, will flower (as redbuds do) in early April. Yellow and green mottled foliage will follow, the reason for my affection for the tree and still a ways off by the start of May, but the culmination of planning since I spotted the redbud in midsummer in a tree grower’s field in the North Carolina mountains. There are few plants in our gardens that are truly unique. This one is, though it is not likely to stand out to anyone but me amongst other splendidly colored redbuds.
The redbud is substantial in size, rising far over head, and with a sturdy trunk and full, rounded head that will fit nicely into this thirty-two year old, mature garden. I will occasionally plant a smaller tree, but I have only so many years left, and I am far too impatient to wait (except for the Wheel and Korean Sweetheart trees, see below).
Trees of similar girth will be required for two other areas, one where a variegated ‘Silver Cloud’ redbud (above) leaned and pulled from the ground, and finally was chopped out after prolonged debate. A second ‘Silver Cloud’ resides ten paces away, so with one still on hand I am less disheartened by the loss. Instead of replacing the redbud with a small ‘Orange Dream’ Japanese maple that has grown in a pot on the patio for several years, a much larger, but similarly leafed ‘Orange Flame’ will be planted in close proximity to the redbud’s stump. A simple path of stepping stones will be arranged so that the maple’s coloring might be enjoyed close up.
A pink flowered ‘Satomi’ Chinese dogwood (Cornus kousa ‘Satomi’) suffers in the shade between two tall magnolias, the pale yellow flowered ‘Elizabeth’ and the prized Bigleaf. Again, I debate the removal of this dogwood that assuredly is inevitable at some point. Several live branches remain that flower far overhead, but this time seems ideal to replace it with a reasonably sized ‘Wolf Eyes’ dogwood (Cornus kousa ‘Wolf Eyes’, below) with variegated foliage that will brighten this shaded spot, though it will be positioned to gain slightly more sunlight than the unfortunate ‘Satomi’. The wide spreading ‘Wolf Eyes’ will perfectly fill the understory beneath the magnolias.
I look forward to growth from two small trees planted a year ago. The evergreen Wheel tree (Trochodendron aralioides) is slow, but with any growth it will begin to rise above neighboring shrubs. This tree is a long term project, as I’ve assured my wife that it will be many years before the view from the kitchen window is again spoiled. I would happily be called a liar if the Wheel tree should jump unexpectedly in size.
The Korean Sweetheart tree (Euscaphis japonica) beside the small greenhouse grew from a twig to thigh high a year ago, and though I was greatly concerned that it held leaves into December, the tree appears in fine health. Fertilizer is rarely applied to this lawn or garden, but here will be an exception as I am most anxious for this small tree to gain several notches. And, perhaps there will be a few blooms that I can look forward to.
Many newer additions to the garden will be remembered only when they first appear. Several orchids were planted, and others transplanted into more shade, so I wait anxiously to see if this relocation is a success. I vaguely recall planting spring flowering bulbs and other somethings, and certainly I look forward to their appearance.