A Tree In Bloom All Year -- Suggestions for the Home Garden and Landscape

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As a lifelong Horticultural professional, Vicki Smith (http://www.LGYP.com) has exciting news and guidance for growing flowering trees in the home garden and landscape, so that the home gardener might have something in bloom throughout the year. By following the natural bloom sequence, anyone's landscape can have a tree in flower during most, if not all of the seasons.

As a lifelong Horticultural professional, Vicki Smith (http://www.LGYP.com) has exciting news and guidance for growing flowering trees in the home garden and landscape, so that the home gardener might have something in bloom throughout the year. By following the natural bloom sequence, anyone's landscape can have a tree in flower during most, if not all of the seasons.

This advice is generalized, and while it depends on where gardener lives in the country for precise bloom times, trees generally follow a predictable blooming cycle. This list contains trees that grow in much of the country, though there may be trees recommended that are not hardy to a particular home gardeners' hardiness zone.

A comprehensive searchable database can be used for more information about general or very specific information and tips for successfully growing plants is at http://www.virtualplanttags.com. The web site can be used to connect with local retailers that sell certain trees and other plants that the homeowner is interested in, following their research.

Following this cycle will allow them to enjoy native and non-native, or introduced trees, that are not invasive, yet bring enjoyment levels that make us want to get out in the garden each spring. Let's get going:

For winter blooms: the Japanese Camellia (Camellia japonica) and a myriad of cultivars brightens the garden through February; a variety of Witchhazels from Hamamelis vernalis, Hamamelis mollis and Hamamelis x intermedia add yellow and red delicate blooms until March. Arnold's Promise is a popular cultivar.

Moving into early spring, several kinds of Oriental and Japanese Magnolias including Star Magnolia (Magnolia stellata) are next to bloom; Corneliancherry Dogwood or Cornus mas is not well-known to gardeners but should be used more with it's early blooms that last three weeks; the Flowering Cherries can be staggered for full effect; the earliest to bloom is Prunus Sargentii, followed by Weeping Higan (Prunus subhirtella 'Pendula'), Yoshino Cherry (Prunus x yedoensis) most famous from the Tidal Basin in Washington D.C. and a personal favorite Prunus x 'Snow Fountains'.

About the same time, typically Mid-April, the Cherry Plums (Prunus cerasifera) some even with purple leaves add their pink or purple blossoms. The Cherry trees are followed by the Flowering Pears but best to select improved cultivars released since Pyrus calleryana 'Bradford'; Saucer Magnolias (Magnolia x soulangiana) and the Dogwoods (Cornus florida) join in with their white, pink and red bloom color, followed by Flowering Crabapples (Malus) and Serviceberry (Amelanchier) with several native species and a number of selections with superb blooms, good fruiting and nice fall color too; many people's favorite is Eastern Redbud (Cercis canadensis) whose cultivars deserve consideration.

Several larger trees start blooming in early to mid May: Red Buckeye (Aesculus pavia) and European Horsechestnut (Aesculus hippocastanum) demand attention; Cucumbertree Magnolia and fantastic cultivars and hybrids (Magnolia acuminata) add unusual yellow flowers. This relatively unknown group of mid-season trees should be considered for early summer blossoms: Pagoda Dogwood (Cornus alternifolia), Virginia Sweetspire (Itea virginica), White Fringetree (Chionanthus virginicus) and Japanese Snowbell (Styrax japonicus).

June flowering starts with Kousa or Chinese Dogwood (Cornus kousa) and is followed by Tuliptree (Liriodendron tulipifera), Japanese Stewartia, Japanese Tree Lilac (Syringa reticulata), Southern Magnolia (Magnolia grandiflora) with its many improved cultivars, Sweetbay or Laurel Magnolia (Magnolia virginiana), and what is the best native tree, second only to Flowering Dogwood perhaps, is Sourwood, Sorrel Tree, Lily-of-the-Valley Tree or Oxydendrum arboretum; with fragrant blooms, graceful shape, good fruiting and great fall color.

Without question, one of the longest blooming trees is Crapemyrtle or Lagerstroemia indica. Flowers on new growth start in June and continue frequently until frost. There are so many outstanding cultivars and hybrids that you can have a wide range of bloom times and colors just within the Crapemyrtle group itself.

Continuing into July, the Littleleaf Linden or Tilia cordata has had numerous selections made for form and flowers; followed by Panicled Goldenraintree (Koelreuteria paniculata), with bright yellow blooms that last for weeks.

August has two trees of note blooming: Japanese Pagodatree, Scholar-tree or Styphnolobium (Sophora) japonica and the less well-known Bougainvillea.Goldenraintree (Koelreuteria bipinnata) that flowers for weeks but after the Panicled Goldenraintree's flowering is complete.

Flowering September to December is the Sasanqua Camellia, with its own diverse blossom colors in selected cultivars. The native Common Witchhazel (Hamamelis virginiana) blooms Mid-October or early November through early December. Followed by the Japanese Camellias and the cycle repeats itself.

Flowering trees add tremendous beauty and value to everyone's home garden and landscape. Consider planting a few today.

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STEVE CISSEL

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