Trees and Shrubs
It’s easy to be distracted by all the azaleas and Dogwoods in bloom in the Washington metro area, but let’s look beyond the obvious to some of the lesser-known and less often planted ornamental trees for your garden.
- Stewartia pseudocamellia
One of our favorite flowering trees, the Stewartia is a garden aristocrat. Beautiful white 2-3” blossoms in May on an upright, often multi-trunk graceful branching tree. The smooth gray bark exfoliates to reveal shades of cinnamon and brown. This wonderful tree blooms for a period of several weeks but each blossom lasts only a day. You just can’t believe how many blossoms this tree can produce. Fall color is a range of red, burgundy and orange.
- Davidia involucrata ‘Sonoma’- Dove Tree
Also called Handkerchief Tree this unusual tree is little known in this area. The unique blossoms appear at a younger age on this cultivar and resemble a tree full of doves or white handkerchiefs fluttering in the breeze. Now that’s something you don’t see everyday.
- Styrax japonicus and Styrax obassia- Japanese Snowbell
Styrax japonicus are usually in bloom around Mothers Day. The white bell shaped flowers cover the tree like snow. This finely branched tree can be quite dense, but never looks heavy. It retains a delicate, graceful feel. Styrax obassium has a larger leaf and is not quite as graceful as japonicus, but the blossoms are more unusual and showy. Weeping forms of japonicus are available as well as a pink cultivar.
- Oxydendrum arboreum- Sourwood or Sorreltree
This native under story tree blooms in July with a creamy white panicle of fragrant flowers. This tree is the source of tasty Sourwood Honey (if you can find it). Fall color is outstanding and rivals our native Dogwood. Somewhat slow growing, it can be temperamental and inconsistent in ultimate size and form. This tree does not always conform to our wishes, but remains a valuable native ornamental.
If you live in the Washington, DC check out this money-saving tree planting promotion.
Casey Trees in the District offers a $50.00 rebate for most trees, see www.Caseytrees.org for details.