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Trees

Planting Flowering Trees

It's Spring! Winter is finally over, and the changes in the garden are happening so quickly.  Suddenly the days are longer, the buds on the trees are all swelling and unfurling and even though this "arrival of Spring" happens every year... it is still amazing to me.

Garden inspiration is everywhere; while walking in the forest, in your neighbour's garden or as you drive through town and this is a fantastic time for choosing and planting trees. The increasing soil warmth and Spring rains give plants the conditions that help them thrive.

Here are some of our favourite Spring and Summer flowering trees:-

Akebono Flowering Cherry (Prunus × yedoensis ‘Akebono’) Beautiful soft pink, fluffy semi-double blooms of Akebono Cherry Trees grace our streets right now. These are the beauties planted in front of City Hall. After full bloom when the flower petals begin to fall they are like pink snowflakes swirling and drifting on the breeze. Mature size 15-25'' tall x 10’-15' wide

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The Autumn Colours

Here come the beautiful fall colours!  Whether walking or driving around, Campbell River I have had enjoyed these colours in street trees, on our trails, the stunning view of Quadra Island with the big leaf maples (Acer macrophyllum) lit up within the deep green coniferous trees and in your private gardens.  This leads me to think, of how we never know, who will enjoy the trees and shrubs we plant.

A personal experience of this was a particularly magnificent Smoke Bush (Cotinus) on Hilchey Road which caused me pull over and snap a photo of its glory; all glowing coral deepening to pinkish-red.  I was so pleased I had my camera handy and thankful to the homeowner who planted it for the glowing feeling it passed along to me.

For many years the burning bush (Euonymus alatus) and red maples (Acer rubrum) at the Arena on Dogwood street have been enjoyed by so many of us.  Customers mention this gorgeous planting each and every fall.  I hope those who planted and cared for these plants know how much we all appreciate their beauty.

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Chitalpa Tashkentensis 'Pink Dawn'

When it comes to summer blooming trees, the Chitalpa, is in my opinion, one of the most beautiful! It is not a very well known tree, so it is a great time of year to come and see it in bloom at the Garden Centre.

We planted ours about 10 years ago. Like most of the other trees Nigel and I have added to our garden, it began as a bit of a misfit. It was a healthy tree, although not perfectly shaped, so Nigel and I decided we would give it a spot. It has repaid us by developing into a lovely shaped, rounded, multi-trunked tree of about 15 feet that may reach as tall as 25 feet in time.

The individual flowers of the tree are sometimes described as being like azalea, orchid or snapdragon flowers and indeed they do resemble all of these. These lovely flowers are the softest blush colour with rose markings and yellow throats and are loosely held in large panicles (cone-shaped bundles) above the branches. The slender leaves are about 4 inches long and medium green.

Chitalpa trees are a cross between a desert tree, Chilopsis linearis and the fairly well know large leaved Catalpa bignonioides. In fact the flowers are very similar to the Catalpa but they get their ruggedness from the Chilopsis. That being said it is understandable that they would need a sunny location and very good drainage. Once established they are very drought tolerant.

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Living Christmas Trees

If the idea of using a tree that you can plant in your garden later appeals to you this is how I would do it. First choose a tree that you would like to add to your garden. So it may not look exactly as what we have come to think of a traditional Christmas tree; however it will be pleasing in your yard for many years to come

It is important to know that a living tree will only tolerate being in your home for a short period of time and will not like to be in a room with a wood stove or other extreme heat source. While it is in your home keep it well watered. Acclimatize it before putting it back out in the cold again by setting it in the garage or carport over night.

As your tree will only be in the house a few days (about 7-10 at the very longest!) you may want to make a bit more of a fuss over it than usual. Make sure the whole family is home to set it up so that this new tradition appeals to all.

Make your family's favourite easy dinner or have an appie night, it feels like a family party! Get your kids to help with the traditions like lighting candles or choosing Christmas music. I think these are the specials times that your family will treasure. Plan where the tree should be planted before Christmas and if time allows dig the hole so that the hard work is done.

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