Those who have read my earlier posts know that I love trees, though it’s seldom for its flowers. Not that the flowers aren’t spectacular on some of them, but generally I love trees for being such enduring, multi purpose and magnificent stalwarts of the garden. Their very longevity lends a mystic air to their surroundings. They have witnessed so much…. but I digress.
The Gardens are plein de flowering trees, and they start early and are showy. Especially those that bloom before the foliage emerges.
Magnolias are the first to flaunt their petals (though not this variety featured). The Magnolia stellata (with white star-shaped flowers) are the first to sparkle in what is often a foggy or misty environment. This Magnolia which is likely ‘Susan’ or another pink stellata-type, are one of the last of the species to bloom. In between we have the lovely yellow variety ‘Elizabeth’. The Gardens have many different varieties of Magnolias scattered all around.
Prunus serrulata ‘Kwanzan’ (Japanese Cherry) never fails to stop its beholders in their track. We have two of them. A small one by the Tropical Display bed and one by the Boer War fountain, pond side. Though I’m conflicted by the bronze foliage that emerge at the same time as the gorgeous double pink flowers, this tree gives a second ‘ahhh!!!’ moment, when the petals fall to the ground. Mine at home fall on a gravel path, completely obliterating it though it’s outline is still visible.
Is there anything showier than a Laburnum (Golden chain tree) in full bloom? It is the sun personified. There are three of them at the Gardens, the largest is by the lower bridge. It put on quite the show this year after a poor showing last. The two smaller ones by the Victoria Jubilee fountain will leave future generations gobsmacked!
Most people don’t notice this Halesia carolina (Carolina Silverbells) as it faces Griffin’s pond and is probably most easily noticed from across the pond when it’s startling white blooms shine across the water.
Cercis canadensis (Eastern redbud) aren’t as common here as they are in Ontario. There is a sad specimen (flower-wise) near the Tropical fruit display, which never flowers but have spectacular large burgundy heart-shaped leaves. This lovely one is tucked behind the Powers birdbaths.
Sorbus aucuparia (Mountain ash tree) is not the showiest of flowering trees, at least not in Spring, but the beautiful orange berry clusters in the fall and the pinnate leaves make it a tree worth having… and mentioning.
Aesculus x carne (Red Horsechestnut) is less common than its white-flowered variety Aesculus hippocastanum, though much showier. It blooms in late June. This specimen is across from the Tropical fruit bed.
If you come to the Gardens in the next couple of weeks you will come upon the lovely, scented Chionanthus virginicus (Fringetree), which is just beginning to bloom. Its roots and bark were used by Native Americans to treat skin inflammations.
It’s on the South Park St. side of the upper bridge.
Liriodendron tulipifera (Tulip tree). As the name suggests this giant among trees has tulip-like flowers in early summer (now). We have three specimens. Two young ones on either side of the benches by the bandstand (which haven’t yet begun to flower) and a mature specimen by the entrance on the corner of South Park and Sackville St.
Now’s the time to look up… way, way up.
Is was once known as Canoewood as it was used to make dugout canoes.
A beautiful, multi seasonal tree. Cornus kousa are a common sight at the Gardens (and elsewhere). The Kousa dogwood can be distinguished from its similar relative Cornus florida (Flowering dogwood) by its pointy bracts. It’s fruit is also edible, though after taking a taste test I disagree with the description of them being ‘sweet and delicious’.
There are pale pink, and white specimens scattered around Griffin’s pond and Hort Hall Plaza.
Castanea dentata (American Chesnut) is another flowering tree which is just beginning to bloom. It’s claim to fame is its rarity, as native plant stands were wiped out in the NE US by a fungal disease. It also has huge fruit in the fall.
This is by no means a full list of the flowering trees in the Gardens.
The bloom season of the trees are almost over, so if you’re in the neighbourhood come down and look up… sometimes way up.
The Gardens are looking spectacular. It’s hard to believe that the annuals were planted just a couple of weeks ago. Take advantage of the earlier opening (7AM), and enjoy the serenity and rising morning light before your bustling day.
Our free guided walks have begun on Wednesdays at 10AM and Sundays at 6PM.
The Summer Concert series are also in full swing and take place Sundays at 2PM.
All copy and images copyright © Serena Graham-Dwyer, 2014. If you wish to use any part or whole of an image, in any manner, please contact us.