Tea Time With Jesse

Six of One, Half Dozen the Other

Nature’s Fireworks – Happy Fourth!

Posted by middlerage on July 5, 2013

I have not featured a favorite tree on this blog in a looonggg time. One of the prettiest trees I know of is one of my favorites, and its colorful foliage makes a good 4th of July analogy. Of course, any tree I write about is a favorite, so it seems like kind of a dumb thing to say – “favorite.” So by way of introduction let me start with a tree I don’t like: the eastern Redbud. First off, its flowers are pink not red, so let’s not name it redbud, m’kay. Secondly, when they bloom, they aren’t attractive “florets” but rather something I can only term a growth. Here’s a sickening picture.


Why, then, you may ask, am I discussing the Eastern Redbud? And what does that have  to do with one of my favorite trees? I’m glad you asked. It turns out that a varietal of the redbud, known as the “Forest Pansy,” is a beautiful, smallish (tho’ not dwarfish) tree, with gorgeous red-green leaves. It is the North American answer to the beautiful Japanese Maples. When fully grown it has a lovely full crown of reddish leaves that add color to any landscape. Here is some photos of a baby I’ve planted in my yard:




3 Responses to “Nature’s Fireworks – Happy Fourth!”

  1. Cercis c. ‘Forest Pansy’ is a cute little tree, popular out here in California too — though it’s a little hard to find just the right exposure to give it enough sun to fully develop the red color in the leaves without getting it crispy around the edges. And I have to say the flower display doesn’t bother me. I find the look of the flowers emerging directly from the bare, pre-leaf branches, to be interesting.

    Despite the fact that I could probably easily find a good exposure for one under the surrounding redwood canopy, I’ve never gotten around to planting a Forest Pansy here in the Ice Forest (a nickname we’ve given our surroundings from our generally cool-to-cold microclimate). You may have spurred me to a find a spot for one.

    • middlerage said

      I have to say the flowers inn the example picture are quite attractive. It’s the less-groomed examples (redbud is practically a weed around here, well not weed, it is native) that grate on me. Still, I suppose a branch of blossoms would look good in a Japanese vase in a spare tea house room. I’m just not much of a fan of the color pink. I’m embarrassed to say I’m not even sure the forest pansy varietal has blooms. So far my baby hasn’t had any. I hope it stays that way.

      What is your expertise on Hydrangeas? we bought one last year and it was thick with beautiful blooms. After a good long run, they whithered at the end of summer but didn’t fall off. The ugly dead blossoms just stayed, making a really unattractive display. So I gave up and ‘deadheaded’ the plant. This summer it has has a whopping two blossoms. Was it bad to trim off the dead blossoms last year? It seems it was. Is the choice to let the dead blossoms stay on all winter long?

      • It depends on the type of Hydrangea, but you probably have a traditional Hydrangea macrophylla. They bloom on “old wood,” so you need to prune the spent flowers off earlier, to let the pruned branches age before the following summer.

        There are new varieties of Hydrangea macrophylla, called “ever-blooming” (or “Endless Summer” — a trademarked name for the same thing), that bloom on both new and old wood. But you still need to remove the spent blooms to get new ones.

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