May 29, 2012

Twenty-one Trees and Counting

When we moved into this house in 2007, there was just one crispy dogwood tree in the yard. We have since planted twenty-five trees (including the five that died, ugh) and transplanted the dogwood from the hot southwest corner of the house to the east side, where it is very happy. Actually, 'we' nothing. My husband did the hard word with shovel and pick axe to get the trees into the ground. Above is a shot of one of our three 'Royal Raindrops' crabapples, which were stunning a few weeks ago in full bloom. Especially at sunset, when the deep pink blossoms and maroon leaves seemed to be on fire.

We have seven 'Spring Snow' crabapples, and some of them are now tall enough to see when I glance out of our second-story windows. I love that! In our neighborhood you either see a gazillion roofs or trees when you look out the window. I'll take the trees, thanks. The weather was cool while the crabs were in bloom this year, so we didn't get to see many giant bumblebees. I caught this picture of one on a rare warm afternoon when the bees were out. It was as big as my thumb and busy as a . . . well, you know.

The one surviving 'Kwanzan' flowering cherry tree had some pretty pink flowers last month to remind me why I planted so many of these trees to begin with. We planted three in the backyard several years ago, and all three died the next summer. I researched and figured out they were planted a bit too deep in our heavy clay soil, which cherry trees hate (if only I'd known before planting!). Two more were planted in the front in imported, well-drained soil. They started the dying process last summer. The local nursery suggested the one that died one branch at a time must have had a disease. The other one looked like a grenade exploded inside its trunk, poor thing. Trees often die when several stresses combine, and our bottom-of-the-valley late spring frosts were likely a big stress on all these trees. Several other Kwanzans in neighboring yards died last year, so that made me feel better. A little.

Our five 'Shademaster' honey locusts haven't grown much yet but are very full of leaves this spring. I love their elegant branches that look good even in winter.

The two Korean 'Heartthrob' dogwoods that my husband planted for Mother's Day this year bring the dogwood total to five. I'll post some pictures when they bloom next month (Korean dogwoods bloom a month later than Florida dogwoods). Above is a shot of the white Cornus florida that is growing happily on the east of the house, nearby the transplanted pink dogwood. My 'Stellar Pink' Rutger's dogwood has just a few flowers again this year. It's planted on the north of the house and needs to grow taller to get more sunlight before it flowers well.

I was excited this spring to find several dogwood seedlings growing in my flower beds. I potted three of them up and have a spot planned for them when they get larger. I guess most dogwood seedlings are white, so that's probably what color these will be. I wonder how many years it will take before they flower. Won't it be fun to have a few trees in the yard that we grew from seed? Gardening is full of the thrill of anticipation.


  1. You have some lovely trees. I just love the Crabapples especially.

    Cher Sunray Gardens

  2. I know what it's like to try to grow trees! You've got some great ones going there. I've finally gotten some shade now in a few places and that means...I've had to dig up sun-loving perennials and move them. It's actually been enjoyable to be some redesigning without buying new plants!

  3. I love the flowering crabapples. Ours are done blooming, but the dark red leaves are very nice on any landscape. I think that we all have our parts, so when "we" make a nice dinner or "we" plant trees, it is alright for everyone (even our little daughter who's help may be not be as helpful as she thinks it) to take a little credit and even pride in a beautiful end!

  4. Dogwoods are a favorite of mine, but I very much like Shade Master honey locust. It is a great tree. 21 trees, that is very commendable.

  5. It's such a wonderful thing planting trees and ever so satisfying seeing them grow...
    Your selection is very beautiful VW!

  6. Hi VW, It would indeed be so nice to meet you in person! Skeeter and I won't get to the SF fling as it is too far away but do plan to be at the Charleston fling-woohoo!

    Your dogwoods are very nice. I am looking forward to hearing about your new kousas. I adore the kousas versus the floridus ones. Take care and I hope you get to go to a fling!

  7. When we moved here, there were no trees, either. Well, one that is slowly dying (It has a hole in the bottom). So, my husband has, like yours, dug in extra hard soil, trying to get some trees growing. We have had a lot worse luck than you. Most of ours have died, but some are living, and we cherish those. Yours are beautiful. Congratulations on the baby dogwoods!

  8. VW,finally getting back to reading the blogs. Love that red crabapple...I have two tiny crabs in the front area by the street. Right now they are about 6 inches tall. I imagine your yard is stunning in the spring with all those blooms.

  9. Any dogweed flowers that have found their way into my garden seemingly die almost always before they tend to bud..

    -Oscar Valencia

  10. Wow, You have many trees, cute pictures! 20 trees might be too much to my garden, but I still try to figure out the way to place as many trees as possible ;). I'd love to have Cornus florida, but I guess I should import it from Sweden or Germany, Finnish nurseries don't have it.

  11. brookesrosegarden.comJune 10, 2012 at 9:31 AM

    Hi VW,
    I love dogwood trees and miss them here in S. California by the coast. I had them in my yard when we had a home in Lake Arrowhead - mountain area where it gets cold, of course. I wonder if they can grow in my area - Coastal Mountain zone 10 or 11.


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