Friday, April 29, 2011

Dogwoods with Dinosaurs

Dogwoods and other unique spring flowering trees are coloring the grounds for quite a horticultural experience at Powell Gardens. If you are coming to see the dinosaurs these beauties will also grab your attention as they are some of the most beautiful of all flowering trees.

Missouri's State Tree the Flowering Dogwood (Cornus florida) are in full bloom at Powell Gardens. The Gardens displays a collection of most available cultivars with the Pink Flowering Dogwood (f. rubra or 'Rubra') near the Visitor Center depicted.

The first Pink Flowering Dogwood tree along the Dogwood Walk from the Visitor Center to the Island Garden always grabs attention. We just acquired the 'Prairie Pink' selection from Sunrise Nursery (Lawrence, KS). Prairie Pink Dogwood was selected by the late great Kansas plantsman John Pair from a tree in Laramie, KS. It has proven a reliable cultivar for easternmost Kansas.

It is always fun to show new plants that exceed our expectations. This narrow tree depicted between the Visitor Center and the Trolley Stop is a Amanogawa Flowering Cherry (Prunus hybrid). This tree was donated to us by the Northland's Narrow Tree Nursery (

The Amanogawa Cherry blossom are very cheery! Its gorgeous semi-double flowers of soft pink, age to almost white. The fact that the tree bloomed 100% after last winter was a good hardiness test. I think it has potential as a tree to bring distinction to tight spaces.

The vivacious purplish-red leaves of Emperor I Japanese Maple (Acer palmatum) stand out in the shade of the Rock & Waterfall Garden. This tree boasts beautiful spring and fall color! It is a new selection from Oklahoma's wholesale Greenleaf Nursery that is more suited to our plains climate and doesn't leaf out as early and thus set itself up for a late freeze's damage.

This NEW Redbud (Cercis canadensis 'The Rising Sun') is also very unique with sunny butter yellow new foliage! WOW, it is shockingly colored in the spring landscape and perfect for contrasting with other foliage colors. This new cultivar was brought in for us by Blue Spring's Colonial Nursery from wholesale Greenleaf Nursery and will soon become available to the general public. Look for this small tree near the Rock & Waterfall Garden's trolley stop. We also have the new 'Burgundy Hearts' Redbud with shocking new purple leaves near the Learning Shed in the Heartland Harvest Garden. Be sure and look for these and other fine flowering trees this weekend on your visit to Powell Gardens.

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