Good Gardening: Tree Flowers

Apr 5, 2021

John Fischer says the lack of spring rain this year has left the blooms on his fruit trees longer than in many years.
Credit John Fischer / KLCC

You are probably aware of my penchant for all things edible. The lack of spring rain this year has left the blooms on my fruit trees longer than in many years, and they are beautiful.

But even more impressive are the flowering trees and shrubs.  Here are several flowering cherries in my neighborhood that I have long admired, and this year the petals are on the trees instead of in the puddles below them.

Yes, flowering fruit trees produce blossoms- not fruit. But the flowers are more prolific, and usually stay on the trees longer than on their fruit producing relatives. Flowering pear, plum, cherry, and quince are all in the same category of blossom density as the cherries- they just don't have a festival named after them, or a capital (Washington D.C.) festooned with them.

Credit John Fischer / KLCC

If you want a flowering win - win - win situation consider a crabapple. Their blooms are often a beautiful pink, the leaves have a purple tint, and the small fruit is a favorite treat for local birds.

Forsythia are still blooming in their brilliant yellow this year too, and are often one of the first colorful plants of spring.

Other flowering trees Can provide color in your yard right through summer. The golden chain has amazing hanging blossoms. Flowering Dogwoods - both pink and white - have small blooms but large bracts that provide their color.

Flowering hawthorns used to be widely planted in our area, but their sharp thorns, susceptibility to leaf blight, and invasive qualities have made them less common. 

Mimosa trees have a fairy tale quality with their delicate blossoms, a pale smooth trunk, and canopy-like tree structure.

Credit John Fischer / KLCC

While edibles are also beautiful, and native trees are always best suited to our area, one or two plants that are just there to look good after a long gray winter can make a big difference in a yard and an attitude. See if you can frown while you're ten feet from a fully flowering cherry.

I'm John Fischer for KLCC's Good Gardening.

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