More, recent aquisitions, trees and shrubs
I enjoyed seeing a small tree (really actually a small shrub about 3' tall) covered with white flowers on my dog walks through a neighboring townhouse complex. I found out the tree was a fringe tree, Chionanthus virginicus, the American fringe tree or old man's beard. I actually wanted the C. retusus or Chinese fringe tree with flowers that stand above the new foliage giving it an almost completely white look but the mailorder nursery I bought the tree from was out of the C. retusus and I had to settle for the C. virginicus. I was amazed when the small tree arrived. It already had flowers. The flowers were past bloom but I was pleased that we would probably already have more flowers next year despite the diminutive size of the tree.
We bought two more Winter Hazels, Corylopsis pauciflora and C. sinensis (two shrubs on the left of the photo and Styrax obassia on the right) to join the C. spicata we already have. The yellow drooping flowers of the C. spicata were so eye-catching this spring we thought we'd try some other varieties. C. sinensis is purported to be the most ornamental of the species.
Corylopis pauciflora in better days. The plant has since died. One day it was doing well and the next it was drying up and dead within two days. I always kept the soil moist so I don't know what killed it. Supposedly it had clearer yellow flowers that open wider than either the C. spicata or C. sinensis. And, despite the name meaning few flowers, it is as ornamental with the flowers spread further apart than the others. Unfortunately we won't get to see it bloom.
Styrax obassia, Fragrant snowbell. We have a Styrax japonicus, Japanese snowbell or snowdrop tree which I really like, mainly for it's numerous flowers in late spring but also the ornamental hanging drupes which bear the seed. I was walking through the Princeton U. campus and happened to see the head gardener near a small tree with attractive pendant flowers and large heart-shaped leaves so I asked her the name of the tree - Styrax obassia. The leaves are not really heart-shaped but sort of round with a water shedding tip. I thought the tree was a striking specimen so I bought a very tiny one by mailorder. I will probably take several years for it to bloom.
And, Cornus controversa 'Variegata', table dogwood or giant dogwood. I've seen photos of this tree in catalogs for many years and wanted to buy one but they were always very expensive. But, Heronswood Nursery sent me an email, advertising the tree for only $27.95 so I pounced on the deal and bought two. I love the layered look of the tree and the variegations in the leaves only make it more attractive in my mind. The trees arrived wilted so I left them in pots under a shady tree for a week to recover from the shipping and they perked up a bit. I built a temporary diffuser over the plant after planting so it would not get hot overhead sun but I don't know how long I should keep it tented.
Apparently this tree is much esteemed in Europe but not planted much in the U.S. I wonder why? The Brits call it the Wedding Cake dogwood because of its layered look. Click on the Heronswood link to see a beautiful full sized specimen. Or, here's another photo from the Great Plant Picks site.