What’s blooming now? This is an informal blooming journal from Director of Horticulture Mike Ecker. For specific information on the locations mentioned below, please call 740.323.2355 or email us at email@example.com.
White flowering, rounded trees with large panicles are Japanese tree-lilac. Nice to see how many are used as street trees. At The Arboretum they can be seen at Stone Gates, Azalea Glen, both west and east of Japanese Garden. Two oldest specimens in Rare Trees were planted 1951. Some think flowers have a nice scent but I’ve always gotten the impression they smell like stale balloons. Not sure how I know how stale balloons smell.
Trees with white flowers with large pointed bracts are Kousa dogwood. I’ve mentioned ‘Summer Stars’ at Entrance before but I think it looks better now than last week. Azalea Glen has many selections like Big Apple that has a spreading, mounded form as opposed to rounded or upright like many others. Radiant Rose has very nice pink flower bracts, their color reminding me of spring flowering trillium fading from white to pink in maturity.
Other trees look like they’re flowering but upon closer inspection it’s actually colorful foliage such as bright red new growth of Wildfire black tupelo, white and green foliage of variegated boxelder, Summer Fun kousa dogwood and Silver King sweetgum.
If there were a category of Flowering Shrubs of the Week winners would be Virginia sweetspire at Entrance, Swamp and near Dawes Lake. Their white fragrant flowers coverer a really tough native shrub with multiple ornamental characteristics. Another is Red Prince weigela at Holly Hill parking–talk about a show stopper–WOW!
You may think the Azalea Glen has less interest since most rhododendron and azalea are finished but don’t believe it. Enjoy kousa dogwoods next the Auto Tour, but venture deeper into the Glen to see Cumberland azalea, Rhododendron bakeri in beautiful orange-red splendor; enjoy the white cup-like flowers of Oyama magnolia (thought magnolias were done too didn’t you?) face-to-face but also look inside to see the dark purple-red stamens; Japanese snowbell are simply a joy to behold as are the white and dark red flowering respectively, allspice (Sinocalycalycanthus) Venus and Hartlage Wine.
Smokebush flowers are hardly noticeable to begin with but these shrubs are more noticeable now because of colorful hairs developing on flower panicle stems. West of the Visitor Center is a few selections such as ‘Daydream’ which is simply covered top to bottom, a yellow-foliaged selection called Golden Spirit™ which contrasts nicely with purple leaf forms such as Grace and Nordine.