Monthly Archives: January 2017

Shade Gardening: A Natural Opportunity

Although developing a garden for a shady area may require a little extra planning, some more thought and a bit more effort than sunny spaces, there are many opportunities to grow remarkable, unusual plants in the shade garden. Shade-loving plants are often noted for their foliage and can be combined to produce appealing contrasts in form, texture and color. From the glossy, dark greens of camellias and rhododendrons to the soft, silvery lamiums and the bold-textured, brownish-purple leaves of bergenia, the diversity of foliage available is positively breathtaking!

Defining Shade

The term “shade” encompasses many light conditions. Shade can range from dense darkness to the light-dappled shade under a birch tree. Most plants require at least a few hours of direct light each day (light shade) to look their best, especially if they feature bright colors in foliage or blooms. Some plants, however, do best in an abundance of filtered light (medium shade), especially if the shade is provided in the afternoon to cut the strongest rays of the sun. In the meantime, a few plants can thrive in the darkness of a forest (dense shade), without ever being exposed to bright, direct sunlight.

Other factors you will need to consider when planting your shade garden are the amount of moisture your shady spot receives and the soil conditions. The soil under large trees is usually dry because of the “umbrella” affect created. Other locations may have soggy soil that will only allow bog-type plants to grow. The soil’s drainage, pH and texture will all have to be taken into account to create the best shade-loving garden.

Not sure where to start for finding plants for a shade garden? Top shade-loving perennials and their requirements include…

Perennials for Dry Shade:

  • Convallaria majalis (Lily of the Valley)**
  • Dicentra ‘Luxuriant’ (Bleeding Heart)*
  • Epimedium perralchicum, pinnatum, pubigerum (Bishop’s Hat)*
  • Geranium maculatum, endressii, nodosum (Cranesbill)*
  • Helleborus foetidus*
  • Lamium maculaturm (Deadnettle)*
  • Polygonatum multiflorum (Soloman’s Seal)*

Perennials for Cool, Moist Soils in Shade:

  • Adiantum pedatum (Maidenhair Fern)**
  • Athyrium nipponicum ‘Pictum’ (Japanese Painted Fern)**
  • Cyrtomium (Japanese Holly Fern)**
  • Dryopteris erythrosora (Autumn Fern)**
  • Dryopteris marginalis (Marginal Shield Fern)**
  • Epimedium grandiflorum, warleyense*
  • Helleborus viridus, orientalis (Lenten Rose)*
  • Mertensia virginica (Virginia Bluebell)**
  • Polystichum acrostichoides (Christmas Fern)**
  • Polystichum setiferum ‘Divisilobum’ (Soft-Shield Fern)**
  • Tiarella cordifolia (Foam Flower)*
  • Tricyrtis formosana (Toad Lily)*
  • Trillium sessile, grandiflorum**
  • Trollius europaeus*

Perennial Groundcovers in Shade:

  • Acanthus mollis (Bear’s Breech)*
  • Aegopodium podagraria ‘Variegatum’ (Goutweed)*
  • Asarum europaeum (European Wild Ginger)*
  • Galium odoratum (Sweet Woodruff)*
  • Lamiastrum galeobdolon ‘Florentinum’ (Variegated Archangel)*
  • Lamium maculatum ‘Beacon Silver’ (Dead Nettle)*
  • Luzula sylvatica ‘Marginata’*
  • Tiarella cordifolia (Foam Flower)*
  • Vinca minor*
  • Waldsteinia ternata (Barren Strawberry)*

Climbers for Shady Walls & Fences:

  • Akebia quinata, trifoliata
  • Clematis ‘Nelly Moser’
  • Euonymus fortunei ‘Coloradus’
  • Hedera helix (English Ivy)
  • Humulus lupulus (Golden Hops)
  • Lonicera japonica ‘Halliana’ (Japanese Honeysuckle)
  • Parthenosis henryana, quinquefolia, tricuspidata

*Does best in light shade
**Does best in medium to dense shade

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The Cottage Garden

English in origin, the primary function of the cottage garden was for growing vegetables, fruit and herbs for the home. Most herbs were used for medicinal purposes while the vegetables and fruit were a food source. During the late eighteenth and early nineteenth century, however, the use of the cottage garden went from utilitarian to romantic and decorative. Today the cottage garden is full of color and variety with a cheerful disorder that is surprisingly contemporary and appealing to many gardeners.

Planning Your Cottage Garden

For the most authentic look, locate your garden in a sunny area on either side of the path leading to the front or kitchen door so everything growing in the garden is easily accessible. Cottage gardens are typically enclosed in a hedged, fenced or walled area and may extend right up to and even surround the house.

The classic charming English cottage garden will contain a tightly packed, random assortment of perennials, annuals and edible plants with a natural-looking path winding through the middle. Use mulch, stones or pavers for the walkway where a permanent one does not exist, but keep the path narrow to maximize growing space.

Another important addition to the cottage garden is a vertical element that enhances and expands growing space. Try a climbing rose on an arbor or fence, a honeysuckle, clematis or annual vine on a trellis or obelisk or a climbing hydrangea on a wall. A vertical element is a very important dimension in the cottage garden that will provide structure. Additional welcomed features to the cottage garden include vibrant hanging baskets hung from shepherds’ crooks and window boxes overflowing with color attached to your windowsills, garage or sat atop of a stone or brick wall. Cocoa-lined hayracks and hanging baskets will give a real Victorian look to your garden.

Enjoying Your Cottage Garden

The delightful informality of the cottage garden makes it a perfect place for garden accessories. If you have the space, include a bench or small seating area, ideally under an arbor or alongside a trellis. A small fountain, statue, gazing ball or bird bath can also add enjoyable elements to the garden. Opt for a bit of movement with hanging features such as wind chimes or decorative flags, or add a touch of whimsy with a fairy garden aspect, gnomes or toadstools. Around every corner, your cottage garden will have surprises to delight any visitor!

Naturescaping With Regional Perennial Wildflowers

There’s no need to sacrifice beauty when designing or redesigning your yard or garden to be more nature-friendly. Naturescaping is an approach to garden and landscape design that will help save time, money and energy while providing an attractive and healthy habitat for wildlife and people. Readily available native wildflowers can add remarkable beauty to your environment, and since they are adapted to our climate and soils, they require little, if any, supplemental watering, fertilizing or care and are less susceptible to pests and disease. Native plants also attract a variety of native birds, butterflies, moths and bees essential for pollination. As an added bonus, native wildflowers are often less expensive to purchase, and you may even be able to get some varieties free by sharing with neighbors, botanical gardens, wildlife centers or extension services that are encouraging more native planting.

Choosing Native Flowers

There are many beautiful native flowers to choose from, but they won’t all thrive in every yard. When selecting, be certain to match the plant’s moisture requirements and exposure preferences to your site, taking into consideration growth patterns, available space and mature sizes. Also consider choosing flowers with different bloom times so your yard puts on a native show all season long, and tier different plant heights to create layers of natural color and beauty. Then plant, sit back, relax and enjoy!

Of the Variegated Variety: Variegated Shrubs for the Landscape

Variegated shrubs can brighten up a dull or shady border and add interest in the garden when flowers are scarce but more drama is desired. But which variegated shrubs are best for your landscape, without creating too much patterning or distractions?

How to Plant Variegated Shrubs

While a variegated shrub with its eye-catching foliage can be a lovely addition to the yard, too many of these unusual plants can overwhelm your landscape. Avoid planting variegated shrubs next to each other or too close together where different foliage patterns can clash. Instead, plant them among plain foliage plants where the leaf coloring will be highlighted and therefore better appreciated. At the same time, avoid creating distinct stripes, polka dots or other predictable patterns in the yard, and instead opt for more organic, flowing lines that will add elegance to the natural variegation of the foliage.

Top Variegated Shrubs

There are many beautiful variegated shrubs you can choose from, and it is best to investigate tried-and-true options at your local nursery or note what showy shrubs you like best at a local park or botanical garden. To get you started, consider these amazing and popular variations…

  • Carol Mackie Daphne (Daphne x burkwodii ‘Carol Mackie’) – Semi-evergreen. Yellow leaf margins that mature to creamy-white. Part shade.
  • Dappled Willow (Salix integra ‘Hakuro-nishiki’) – Deciduous. Emerging pink foliage matures to variegated creamy-white and green. Sun to part shade.
  • Emerald-N-Gold Euonymous (Euonymous fortune ‘Emerald n Gold’) – Evergreen. Rounded, olive-green leaves with bright yellow margins turn pinkish-burgundy in the winter. Sun to part shade.
  • Gold Dust Aucuba (Aucuba japonica ‘Variegata’) – Evergreen. Large, glossy, green foliage splattered with yellow. Part shade.
  • Variegated Boxwood (Buxus semperivrens ‘Elegantissima’) – Evergreen. Small, medium-green leaves with creamy white to gold margins. Sun to part shade.
  • Variegated English Holly (Ilex aquifolium ‘Argenteo Mariginata’) – Evergreen. Dark, shiny green leaves with creamy-white margins. Sun to part shade.
  • Variegated Hydrangea (Hydrangea macrophylla ‘Variegata’) – Deciduous. Large leaves with bright-white, uneven margins. Dappled sun with afternoon shade.
  • Variegated Japanese Kerria (Kerria japonica ‘Variegata’) – Deciduous. White-edged narrow green leaves. Part shade to shade.
  • Variegated Japanese Pieris (Pieris japonica ‘Variegata’) – Evergreen. Deep green leaves with a wide, white margin. Part shade.
  • Variegated Red Twig Dogwood (Cornus alba ‘Elegantissima’) – Deciduous. Leaves mottled and edged with white. Sun to part shade.
  • Variegated Wegelia (Wegelia florida ‘Variegata’) – Deciduous. Medium-green leaves broadly edged in creamy-white maturing to lime-green. Sun to part shade.
  • Variegated Yellow Twig Dogwood (Cornus sericea ‘Silver and Gold’) – Deciduous. Creamy-white wavy margins. Sun to part shade.
  • Variegated Winter Daphne (Daphne odora ‘Aureo-marginata’) – Semi-evergreen. Gold-edged green leaves. Part shade.

Whichever variegated shrub you prefer, be sure you choose a variety that will thrive in your yard. Pay close attention to soil quality, watering and sunlight needs, or else the foliage coloration may be far less brilliant than expected. Take steps to minimize pests or wildlife that may nibble on leaves, and carefully nurture the shrubs until they are well-established. By choosing a variegated shrub thoughtfully and providing it the proper care, you can easily add dramatic, multi-colored foliage to your landscape.

Watering When Away

It’s vacation time! You’re going to be gone for two weeks or more, your friends, neighbors and family members are all busy and the weatherman says it’s going to be “hot, hot, hot.” What about your houseplants?

Fear not! A few minutes of thoughtful planning and a quick trip to the garden center will ensure meeting your plants’ watering requirements even when you can’t be home for daily moisture checks. Popular and effective solutions include…

  • Pre-Watering: Before you leave on your trip, make sure your plants are well-watered. Many houseplants can withstand some watering neglect, and if you aren’t gone too long, they may not need any supplemental solutions if you’re watered them right before your trip. Take care not to overwater, however, or you could be compounding the problem.
  • Anti-Drought Solution: Prior to leaving, water with an anti-drought solution. It temporarily forces the plant into dormancy. This reduces the water requirement for roughly two weeks (effective control will vary by product and plant type) while the solution gradually wears off. This can affect blooming or growth periods, however, so read instructions carefully and use the solution exactly as directed.
  • Self-Watering Containers: Planting your houseplants in self-watering pots is truly looking ahead. A reservoir holds water under the pot, and this water gradually travels to the soil via a wick, always keeping the soil moist so long as the reservoir contains water. If you want to use a specific pot without a built-in reservoir, use a conversion kit. Various sizes are available and some use fill tubes. Consider adding liquid fertilizer to the reservoir water to ensure your plant gets proper nutrition while you are away.
  • Individual Pot Drippers: These generally hold water above the plant. Various sizes and styles provide water to small and large pots. From beautiful blown glass globes to simple plastic bottles, these allow water to drip down into the soil through a drip-tip inserted in the soil. One style even looks like a flask attached to the side of the pot with a tube dripping water to the soil. Because they show above the plant, many people only use them during their vacation.
  • Automatic Watering Systems: These are more elaborate but very effective options. A large water reservoir feeds to clustered houseplants through small tubing attached to drippers inserted in the soil. Larger pots use two or more drippers. These systems pump water on a regular basis using a battery and timer, making them ideal for regular watering when you may be taking a longer trip. These also allow liquid fertilizer in the reservoir so your plants are properly nourished.

Go ahead and enjoy your trip…your plants should be fine!

Sedum: A Sunny Ground Cover Solution

Is your landscape afflicted with poor, low-quality soil? Areas of scorching sun? A problematic bank or steep drop? Sedums can be the answer!

Why You Will Love Sedums

There is no reason any area of your landscape should go bare when there are so many spreading sedums that thrive under what would otherwise be adverse conditions. Easy-to-grow, sedums are available in a wide variety of leaf textures and heights to fit even awkward corners, narrow terraces or thin alleyways. Low-growing sedums not only act as a great ground cover for problem areas but also work well in unusual landscape designs such as rock gardens or on green roofs. Taller sedums look great when planted with ornamental grasses and easy perennials such as cone flowers and black-eyed-susans.

The thick, lush succulent can have any shade of green, gold, purple, red and even blue leaves, adding stunning color to your yard. Variegated foliage varieties add visual interest even when the plant is not blooming, ensuring a beautiful plant for a much longer season. Once planted, sedum varieties require very little care and do well even if neglected.

Our Favorite Sedums

Because sedums come in a variety of sizes, be sure to choose a plant with a mature size that will match your landscaping space. In addition to considering the plant’s horizontal spread, also consider its height to get the full visual impact of these great landscape additions.

The best tall sedums include…

  • Autumn Joy – 2’ tall with pink flowers
  • Autumn Fire – 2’ tall with rose flowers that mature to a deeper coppery red
  • Black Jack – 2’ tall featuring deep purple foliage with brighter pink flowers
  • Carl – 2’ tall with magenta flowers that bloom in late summer
  • Matrona – 3’ tall with pale pink blooms and gray-green foliage that shows a hint of pink
  • Purple Emperor – 1 ½’ tall featuring red flowers and dramatically deep purple foliage

For smaller spaces when a low-growing plant is needed, consider these low-growing sedums…

  • Angelina – needle-like, yellowish-peach foliage with yellow flowers
  • Blue Spruce – needle-like blue foliage with contrasting yellow flowers
  • Bronze Carpet – green foliage tinged white and pink and featuring red flowers
  • Dragon’s Blood – dramatic bronze-red foliage with deep pink flowers
  • John Creech – scalloped green foliage with pink flowers
  • Larinem Park – grey-green rounded foliage with white flowers
  • Vera Jameson – pink-tinged grey-green foliage with coordinating pink flowers

No matter what your landscaping needs and preferences – filling an awkward area, opting for an easy-care plant, adding drama and color to your garden plan – sedums can be the perfect solution.

Growing Zucchini

Zucchini is one of the most popular vegetables choices for growing in the home garden. Not only is zucchini easy to grow, it is also tasty and nutritious, as well as versatile in a number of recipes. All summer squash, including zucchini, are rich in beta-carotene, folic acid, vitamins C and E and numerous healthful minerals. Zucchini can be eaten fresh, baked into bread, roasted, grilled, added to salads and so much more. So, grow zucchini, eat up and get healthy – we’ll supply the tips you need for successful growing and a bountiful harvest.

Planting

Sow zucchini seeds or seedlings about 2 weeks after the last frost date in full sun and well-drained, nutritious garden soil. It is best to plant zucchini in hills, three plants in each, to ensure warm soil and good drainage. Hills should be about 8 inches high and 12 inches in diameter. Set hills at least three feet apart, as these plants are dense and require plenty of room for good air circulation.

Care

Zucchini plants will thrive in regular garden soil. If your soil is poor then you may wish to fertilize or amend the soil with compost. Keep zucchini plants evenly watered throughout the season. Mulch the garden bed with salt hay to keep it free of weeds and to retain soil moisture. If growing zucchini horizontally, mulch will keep the fruit clean by preventing it from coming into contact with the soil.

Staking

Zucchini is a vine and may be grown vertically, with assistance, on vegetable netting or a fence, trellis or lattice. Plants and fruit are heavy, so be certain to secure the vine carefully as it grows and watch for any signs of breakage that could damage maturing vegetables.

Harvesting

Zucchini is best and has the best flavor if it is harvested when young and tender, about 6 inches long. Use pruning shears or a garden knife to cut zucchini from the vine. Never pull the fruit off, which can damage the vine as well as the vegetable.

Pests

A number of pests will like zucchini just as much as you do, but there are steps you can take to keep your zucchini patch pest-free.

  • Cucumber Beetle: These insects will skeletonize the zucchini leaves, resulting in lower yields and smaller vegetables. Plant resistant varieties and hand pick the beetles.
  • Squash Bugs: Yellow spotting on zucchini leaves that turn brown identifies squash bug damage. Eventually the leaves then turn black and crispy. Control this pest when plants are young. Look for eggs on the underside of zucchini leaves and crush them.
  • Squash Vine Borer: This pest first presents itself with wilting leaves. Upon inspection you will see orange ‘sawdust’ at the base of the plant. Use floating row covers if planting early or hold off on planting zucchini until after July 4th when the insect egg laying is completed.
  • Blossom End Rot: This disease appears as a dark, leathery patch on the blossom end of the zucchini. It is caused by either uneven soil moisture or a soil calcium deficiency. Do not allow soil to dry out between watering, and add calcium to the soil with dolomitic lime or gypsum to ensure proper nutrition.

Recipes

Try these delicious treats to make the most of your zucchini harvest!

Grilled Zucchini

Ingredients

  • 1 large zucchini
  • 1/4 cup Italian-style salad dressing

Directions

  • Slice zucchini into 1/4 inch thick slices (peel first if desired). Toss in a bowl with Italian dressing.
  • Place on a hot grill about 4 to 5 minutes or until nice grill marks appear and the zucchini is slightly limp. Serve and enjoy.

Zucchini Bread

Ingredients

  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 3 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 1/4 cups white sugar
  • 3 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2 cups peeled, grated zucchini
  • 1 cup chopped walnuts (optional)

Directions

  • Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.
  • Grease and flour two 8 x 4 inch bread pans.
  • Sift flour, salt, baking powder, soda and cinnamon together in a bowl.
  • Beat eggs, oil, vanilla and sugar together in a large bowl.
  • Add sifted ingredients to the creamed mixture and beat well.
  • Stir in zucchini and nuts (if desired) until well combined.
  • Pour batter into prepared pans.
  • Bake for 40-60 minutes or until tester inserted in the center comes out clean.
  • Cool in pan on rack for 20 minutes.

Remove bread from pan, and cool completely.

Perennial Flowering Vines

Vines are valuable and versatile plants that provide a remarkable vertical display while using minimal ground space. Offering an extensive mixture of decorative foliage, flowers, fruits and fragrance, vines are generally fast-growing, relatively pest-free and require minimal maintenance.

Why Choose Vines?

There are numerous uses for vines in the landscape. They can visually soften fences, walls and trellises or dress-up a lamp or mailbox post. They will provide summer shade when grown over an arbor, gazebo frame or pergola. Vines may be used to provide privacy by screening a patio or porch and can define any outdoor living space when used to create living outdoor walls or green barriers.

Three things should be considered when selecting a vine for your garden:

  1. Intended Use
    If you want a thick barrier or screening look, opt for vines that will provide dense foliage, but if you prefer a more delicate vine, choose plants with more space in their foliage. Check flowering options, growth speed and how much training the vine will need to reach its full potential. At the same time, consider how the foliage is shed in autumn and how much care the vine may need to stay in good condition.
  2. Planting Location
    Like any plant in your landscaping, vines will have specific needs for sunlight, soil condition and watering. Also consider the size of the space where your vine will live to be sure it won’t crowd out nearby plants or be stunted in a too-small space. Condition the soil appropriately to nourish your vine, and adjust a drip system or sprinklers to provide adequate water as needed.
  3. Vine Support
    Vines need adequate support to stay upright and sturdy. Because vines climb in several different ways, support is critical. Wires, spirals, trellises, fences or arbors should support vines that use tendrils or a twining stem. Other vines attach themselves with aerial rootlets. These vines grow best on brick or stone walls. Some vines have no natural method to attach to a vertical structure and will just sprawl if not manually assisted with garden wire or string to an appropriate support.

You will want your vine to thrive for many years to come, therefore you must select the right vine for your chosen location. Use the chart below to learn about some of the more common, landscape-friendly vines you can welcome into your yard.

Click the image above to view full size.

Butterfly Bush

What could be more enjoyable than relaxing in your favorite lawn chair or hammock, your sunglasses on and a cool beverage in hand, staring at an enchanting array of colorful butterflies milling around their favorite plant? What could possibly be an easier way to accomplish this vision than by planting a simple butterfly bush?

About Butterfly Bush

Buddleia davidii, the butterfly bush, is a flowering maniac. It pushes its proliferation of perfumed blooms straight through summer and well into fall, providing nourishment to butterflies all season long. Available in a multitude of colors ranging from white to pink to red to purple, there are colorful butterfly bushes to match any garden or landscape color scheme. The fragrant, long, spiked panicles are borne in profusion on long, gracefully arching branches that add drama and elegance to the yard. And it really is a butterfly magnet!

Growing Butterfly Bush

This quick growing, deciduous, woody shrub is winter hardy in zones 5-10. In the northernmost areas of its hardiness range, Buddleia behaves like a herbaceous perennial, dying back to the ground in very cold winters. In the southernmost areas, Buddleia is grown as large shrub and can flourish all year. In either location, however, you should treat this plant as a cut back shrub. Because butterfly bush blooms on new wood, it benefits the plant to be cut back to the ground each spring. This judicious pruning will stimulate lavish new growth and an abundance of flowers. It will also keep some of the larger varieties at a manageable size, particularly in smaller yards, corners or other confined spaces.

Plant your butterfly bush in full sun in just about any type of soil and it will thrive. Don’t worry about fertilizing as over-fertilization can encourage too much leaf growth over flower formation. Deadheading will encourage additional growth and new flower buds to extend the blooming season. Buddleia has a good tolerance for drought once established, but should be carefully watered when young. A good, thick layer of mulch will help maintain soil moisture and keep weeds down to keep the shrub healthy. Just be sure not to use insecticides or pesticides on your butterfly bush or you may be harming the very fluttering fliers you hope to attract.

Not sure which butterfly bush to try? Consider these varieties to choose the perfect color and style to suit your yard.

Recommended Buddleia Varieties by Color

White Butterfly Bushes

  • ‘Nanho Alba’: 6-8’ height, blue-green leaves, mildly fragrant
  • ‘Silver Frost’: 5-6’ height, silver-gray leaves
  • ‘White Ball’: 3-4’ height, silver foliage, compact habit
  • ‘White Bouquet’: 8-10’ height, gray-green leaves, flowers have orange throat
  • ‘White Cloud’: 8-10’ height, gray-green leaves, flowers have yellow eye
  • ‘White Harlequin’: 8-10’ height, variegated leaves

Pink Butterfly Bushes

  • ‘Charming’: 6-10’ height, blue-green leaves, flowers have orange throat
  • ‘Fascination’: 8-12’ height, lilac-pink flowers with cupped petals
  • ‘Pink Delight’: 4-7’ height, gray-green leaves, true pink flowers, fragrant
  • ‘Summer Beauty’: 5-6’ height, silvery leaves, pink-rose flowers
  • ‘Summer Roae’: 8-10’ height, mauve-rose flowers, strong fragrance

Red Butterfly Bushes

  • ‘Burgundy’: 8-10’ height, magenta-red flowers, fragrant
  • ‘Dartmoor’: 8-10’ height, magenta flowers
  • ‘Harlequin’: 6-8’ height, variegated leaves, reddish-purple flowers
  • ‘Royal Red’: 10-12’ height, purple-red flowers, fragrant

Purple / Blue Butterfly Bushes

  • ‘Black Knight’: 8-10’ height, deep violet-dark purple flowers
  • ‘Bonnie’: 8-10’ height, light lavender flowers with orange eye, sweet fragrance
  • ‘Ellen’s Blue’: 5-6’ height, silver leaves, deep blue flowers, orange eye, fragrant
  • ‘Moon Shadow’: 3-4’ height, lilac purple buds open to lavender flowers
  • ‘Nanho Blue’: 6-8’ height, gray-green leaves, mauve-blue flowers, fragrant
  • ‘Orchid Beauty’: 6-8’ height, lavender-blue flowers, fragrant
  • ‘Potter’s Purple’: 6-10’ height, deep purple flowers, mild fragrance

Summer Blooming Trees

When choosing flowering trees for the landscape, we often tend to make our selections from the long list of ostentatious spring blooming trees that are all so common and familiar in every yard. At the same time, we tend to overlook the more reserved, yet exceptionally elegant, summer blooming trees that can add so much drama and beauty to every space. Check out this selection and consider one or two to round out the seasons when considering your next landscape addition.

  • Crape Myrtle (Lagerstroemia indica)
    Delicate crepe paper like flowers flourish in mid- to late summer in an assortment of colors like pink, fuchsia, coral, lavender, violet and red.
  • Fringe Tree (Chionanthus virginicus)
    This small, multi-stemmed, native tree features fragrant, showy, fringe-like white flowers in early summer just as many spring bloomers are fading.
  • Golden Rain Tree (Koelreuteria paniculata)
    This medium tree is a showstopper with small, yellow flowers borne in large, upright panicles in July, just in time for summer parties.
  • Japanese Pagoda Tree (Sophora japonica)
    A medium-large tree with creamy-white, slightly fragrant flowers borne in hanging drapes 6-12” long, this beauty offers late summer elegance from August through early September.
  • Japanese Stewartia (Stewartia pseudocamellia)
    Pure white, camellia-like flowers with orange anthers bloom solitary in succession from June to August, giving plenty of drama and beauty through the season.
  • Japanese Tree Lilac (Syringa reticulate)
    This small tree offers fragrant, off-white, tiny flowers borne in showy, large, terminal panicles in early summer.
  • Korean Dogwood (Cornus kousa)
    Dramatic flowers with four large, showy, white bracts that age to a delicate pink sit atop tree foliage for up to six weeks in early summer.
  • Sourwood (Oxydendrum arboretum)
    Fragrant, lily-of-the-valley-like flowers drip from branch tips in summer with excellent scarlet fall color, making this tree both a summer and autumn favorite.
  • Southern Magnolia (Magnolia grandiflora)
    Flowers, borne singly, have large, 6-8 inches wide, pure white petals. These trees bloom sporadically through the summer months.
  • Sweetbay Magnolia (Magnolia virginiana)
    Fragrant, showy, white flowers appear throughout the summer, similar to but smaller than those of the Southern Magnolia.
  • Yellowwood (Cladrastis kentukea)
    A native tree with fragrant, white flowers borne in summer on pendulous, wisteria-like panicles. This tree often flowers on alternate years but is stunning when it does.

Any of these beauties can be a dramatic and welcome addition to summer landscaping, reaching their peak just at the time when spring blooms are fading and autumn flowers and foliage are weeks away from brilliance.