Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Beautiful bracts

Heavy winds during the last few days have left the ground littered with the bracts of the dove tree, Davidia involucrata. Among gardeners of my generation, a freely flowering dove tree is a bit of a trophy plant. I planted my first one when I was a teenager; it survived only a few years. Looking back, I’m glad it didn’t make it – I had planted it in the middle of the front lawn, the last place I need another tree.

Years later I tried again, this time successfully. I didn’t do any better in choosing a site this time. If you are thinking about planting a dove tree, plant it where it can be viewed with the sun in back of you. The only easy way to see the big flowering tree in the garden now is to look up into the sun – not a nice experience.

This is a tree which requires patience from the gardener. Our tree started as a three footer. The first blooms came seventeen long years later. The tree developed with two trunks; for years only one of those trunks bloomed. This year the second trunk finally started to bloom. In fact, this has been the best year yet for bloom from this tree. On rare occasions it sets seed, but this is not a regular occurrence.

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