In the center of this picture you can see three sweet trees nestled in our F Block in Newtown. Though not common on the menu of ‘Look at My Yard’ specimens, they do hold their own as focal points, accents and supporting cast members. Take a look at this trio and you may find they deserve to be on your list of go-to specimens, even though pseudocamellia, griseum and palmatum are not their second names.
Left: Chinonanthus retusus ‘Tokyo Tower’ (Chinese Fringe Tree) is a useful specimen tree for it’s smaller stature, awesome bark and abundance of white flowers from May to June. It grows 12-15′ high and only 4-6′ wide. The fragrant white fringe flowers bloom along upright branches and open after it leafs out in May. Small 1/2″ diameter deep-blue fruit develop later in the season along with yellow fall color. The golden-brown exfoliating bark carries it through the cold weather until the cycle starts all over again in spring. Plant in full sun to part shade in moist, well-drained soil. They’re not only a good choice for small sites but apparently another option for rain gardens as they are found growing along stream and river beds. Quantities are limited so check them out soon. If you’re lucky you may get the one with the Cope’s Gray Tree Frog!
Middle: Cornus controversa ‘Variegata’ (Giant Dogwood) – a classic for every collector and those who just need to brighten up a shady nook. Its spreading tiered habit is accentuated by the bright variegated white and green foliage. The spring flowers are an open creamy white cluster and fill the branches after it leafs out. It will grow 15-30′ high and 15-25′ wide so make sure you give it ample room. Plant in light open shade in well-drained moist soil. It will naturally develop a layered look so no need for pruning. It looks fantastic as it’s leafing out under-planted with shorter mid-spring flowering bulbs such as the blue Scilla or Chionodoxa. Other accent plants could include Japanese Forest Grass, the blue Hostas and some of the darker leaved weeping Japanese Maples.
Right: Ginkgo biloba ‘Spring Grove’ (Maidenhair Tree) This dwarf Ginkgo is a sweet specimen for the smaller garden, an interesting addition to the courtyard or even planted as a container or patio tree. It was found as a witches broom on a plant found at Spring Grove Cemetery in Ohio. As a male clone there is no need to worry about stinky smelling fruit. Its 15 year size is 6′ high x 4′ wide. The main feature of this plant, besides it’s compact size, are the typical Ginkgo leaf – interesting to view throughout the season and awesome when they turn a brilliant butter-yellow in fall. Plant in full sun to part shade in average soil. It’s a slow grower and one of the nicest of the dwarf Ginkgos.