A couple of weeks ago I wrote about how to get a bare root plant off to a good start in your garden. Over the years I’ve planted Floribunda crabapple, Autumnalis flowering cherry, Eastern redbud, Purple Pony and Blireiana flowering plums and Jacquemonti birch all from bare root. They’re soooo easy to plant this way. If I had more roomand sun these are some of my favorite trees that I’d add to my own garden this year.
If you want a tree that’s both highly ornamental and produces great tasting fruit as well, try Saturn flowering and fruiting peach. The fruit is large, yellow, freestone and delicious. As if mouth-watering flavor isn’t enough the tree produces masses of large, double, pink flowers making a spectacular show in the spring that rivals the most ornamental cherry tree.
I love flowering crabapples not only for their spring blossoms but for the small fruits that attract birds in the fall and winter and Prairifire is one of the best. Red buds open to bright pinkish red single flowers that cover the 20 foot tall tree. Purple foliage follows which turns bronze green by summer. Fruit is deep red, only 1/4" in size, and hangs well into winter on the tree. This crabapple has excellent disease resistance to scab, cedar-apple rust, mildew and fireblight which sometimes plagues some crabapples. It would make an outstanding ornamental tree in your garden.
I eat a lot of almonds. One handfull is only 160 calories and is an excellent source of vitamin E and magnesium and a good source of fiber and phosphorus as well as protein, potassium, calcium and iron. I’d plant a compact Garden Prince almond if I had just a little more sun. They grow to 10-12 feet and can be pruned easily to 8 feet. Soft-shelled, good quality sweet kernels ripen in late September to early October on self-fertile trees that set large clusters at a young age. Dense, attractive foliage follows showy pink blossoms.
Looking for a tree to provide shade for the patio table? How about a drought tolerant Golden honeylocust? Fast growing to 40 feet tall with a 35 foot spread this beautiful tree’s leaves emerge a bright, golden yellow at the tips contrasting with the deep green inner foliage making it look like a flowering tree bursting with bloom. Seedless and thornless, this tree has spreading arching branches and casts filtered shade, allowing growth of lawn or other plants beneath the tree’s canopy. It’s tolerant of acid or alkaline soils, drought, cold, heat, and wind.
Another good shade tree to consider is the Golden Rain tree. Enormous panicles of golden yellow flowers drape from the branches in the summer when you spend more time outdoors. Fat, papery fruit capsules resembling little Japanese lanterns last well into autumn. Growing about 30 feet tall, open branching casts light shade underneath, perfect for a hammock on the lawn but this tree would also be a good patio or street tree. Very adaptable to different soils as long as drainage is good.
This last suggestion is just plain fun. If you have the room and enjoy putting together flower arrangements, why not plant a ? Long silvery catkins covered with pink caps are very showy in the winter when the plant is dormant. The mature height is 15 feet tall with a 10-15 foot spread but can be kept to shrub size by cutting to the ground every few years.
Remember that while these trees and also the pussy willow need six hours or more of sun during the growing season they are dormant in winter and don’t mind being in shade for that part of the year. So if you live where winter sun is scarce you can still grow edibles and ornamentals successfully.