colours ornamental trees and shrubs spring gardening trees

Cercis – the best tree for the May garden?

We have a Cercis canadensis in our garden and every year we look forward to its flowering period. The flowers are like small pea flowers and are the deepest brightest pink possible. In some years the flowers come before the leaves make their appearance and in others the leaves and flowers are out together. This May the flowers are at their best just as the leaves are appearing so we can appreciate the pink flowers against the new bronze foliage. Strangely the flowers form straight on the bark of the trunks and branches of this Cercis which attracts attention from our garden visitors.

The common name for this tree is the Judas Tree.

Simply enjoy my photos of this wonderful tree.

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We have a close relative in the front garden called Cercis canadensis “Forest Pansy” which is grown for its deep purple foliage and its black branches in winter. Where we live in the UK midlands this tree doesn’t normally flower but this year following a wet winter and warm dry early spring ours is trying hard to bloom. The buds have been half-open for over a month now and seem to be struggling to open. Perhaps a warm and sunny period of weather will spur it on. Fingers crossed!


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gardening ornamental trees and shrubs trees

Super Pods

These two deep pinkish-red seed pods come from very different trees, the first is from our Judas Tree (Cercis) at home. They form after the pink flowers which appear early in the summer, bursting straight out from the bark, which is a unique habit as far as I know. (But I feel sure someone will know of others!)

The second we found under a Magnolia. Where the Judas seedpod was thin and partly see-through almost like a Mange Tout Pea, the Magnolia pod was rounded and almost waxy in texture. When they are ready to expell their seeds they dry up slightly, fissures open like dry lips and the bright orange seed is exposed.

We have now put the magnolia seeds to stratify in damp sand in the fridge for 2 or 3 months and then we shall sow them. And then wait a very long time!