Bright Spring Color
For huge returns on investment, you can’t beat flowering trees and shrubs. They’ll lift your spirits every spring, year after year, providing you with cheerful hints of what’s to come in your garden. If placed right, they’ll become the “bones” of your garden; the backdrop for annual and perennial color, the focal points, and the canopy or walls of your garden rooms.
Flowering trees and shrubs can also help create a “sense of place” or personality for your garden. These “returning” plants create a unity of time and place—a stability—that great gardens have--a feeling of time and history as you watch the transformation unfold each spring.
Here in Georgia, dogwoods should be at the top of everyone’s must-have list. Eastern dogwoods are true, American natives and are commonly seen as 20- to 30-foot trees. Pristine white or pink flowers appear like giant flocks of butterflies against the bright green of emerging leaves of other deciduous trees. White Cornus florida is the classic, and ‘Cherokee Princess’ has a very heavy display of creamy white blooms. For rosy-pink flowers, two of the best are ‘Rubra’, a true pink, and ‘Cherokee Brave’ which has red bracts that fade to white centers.
‘Elegantissima’ and ‘Prairie Fire’ dogwoods are shrubs—reaching up to 10-feet tall at maturity. Not grown for their flowers—they have them and they’re fragrant—these dogwoods have gorgeous foliage and colorful stems. ‘Elegantissima’ has showy green-and-white leaves against red stems and produces white berries tinged with blue and green. ‘Prairie Fire’ has bright golden new foliage fading to soft yellow. The creamy white blooms are followed by white berries.
Eastern redbuds are stunning spring flowering trees, with tiny twigs, branches and even trunks sporting thousands of tiny rose or purplish-pink flowers. ‘Forest Pansy’ has rich purple leaves. Sensational and elegant ‘Kwanzan’ flowering cherry has large, double, deep rosy-pink flowers in hanging clusters. Blossoms appear along with young red leaves.