Love in Bloom

Flowering trees bring the landscape to life. Their blossoms will delight your senses and set your garden apart.

By Marty Ross

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Tree Advice from Our Experts
 

  • The best time to plant a tree is "when it is starting to rain and will rain for 4 days," says Bill Thomas of Chanticleer. Otherwise, newly planted trees should be watered generously.
  • The best time to plant a tree is "when it is starting to rain and will rain for 4 days," says Bill Thomas of Chanticleer. Otherwise, newly planted trees should be watered generously.
  • Start with small specimens, which will establish quickly, catching up to larger specimens before those have had a chance to settle in and really begin to grow.
  • Self-sown seedlings collected from your own neighborhood can be relied upon to transplant and take hold successfully.
  • Plant new specimens fairly close to trees already on your property to avoid the spotty, aimless effect of trees dotted here and there in an expanse of lawn.
  • Flowering trees look especially pretty in groves. Dennis Collins of Mount Auburn Cemetery suggests planting groups of three or more different sizes of trees for a more natural effect.
  • Using native trees is the best way to impart a sense of regional identity, and they attract native pollinators and birds.
  • Plant something different, says Guy Sternberg of Starhill Forest Arboretum. "If five neighbors on your street all have crabapples, enjoy theirs and do your own thing with something else."
  • Perfection is not always desirable. "The more perfect a tree's leaves, the less value to birds," says Stephen Kress of the National Audubon Society. "They favor trees with damaged leaves," Kress says, "and work those trees in search of insects."
  • Shop locally. Independently owned garden centers and nursery specialists are likely to have some treasures among their inventory, says Sternberg.

Chanticleer: A Garden for All Seasons

Many of the flowering trees featured here were photographed at Chanticleer, a 35-acre estate garden in Wayne, Pennsylvania, near Philadelphia. The grounds around the estate home have been transformed into a lush and imaginative garden in which traditions are respected but creativity flourishes.

"I don't follow too many rules in gardening," says Bill Thomas, director of Chanticleer. "Designwise, a lot of it is taste," he says. When something doesn't work, he suggests, "compost your mistakes" and move on.

Contact: Chanticleer Garden, 786 Church Rd., Wayne, PA 19087; 610-687-4163, chanticleergarden.org. From April through October, the garden is open from 10 A.M. until 5 P.M. Wednesday through Sunday. From May through August, the garden is also open until 8 P.M. on Fridays.

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