Thursday, April 24, 2008

Oklahoma State Tree...Eastern???Redbud

The garden that I am primarily responsible for is Fern Valley, but I work 2 days a week in the National Grove of State Trees. The Grove is a collection of state trees. We can't do Hawaii, and predictably have a lot of trouble with Alaska and not so understandably with Washington state. We, I would love to say I, do a good job with Oklahoma. The Eastern Redbud, Cercis canadensis, is the state tree of Oklahoma. These trees pictured are the Oklahoma display in the NGST. Most of the state trees don't put on this kind of a show. They're may be majestic, stately, or grand, but not showy. Virginia and Missouri have the flowering dogwood as their tree and they are small but beautiful too. when they bloom.

Redbuds are showy and are native pretty much everywhere from the tall grass prairie to the Atlantic Ocean. They are happy in deciduous shade, full sun, or anywhere in between. They don't always, or even usually live a long time as they are plagued by a variety of fungal diseases. But hey, they grow fast. They reseed around themselves. They are tolerant of a wide range of conditions. They flower together before the deciduous canopy has filled in; driving through Rock Creek Park when they are in bloom, you can pick out every tree from your car going 35 or 40 mph, whatever is legal on the parkway. There are selected cultivars, white flowered or weeping, or variegated, and they are nice, but the species is nice too.

Spring colors are often either yelllows or in the redbud, pink/purple range. Good companion plants for redbud are native phloxes either Phlox subulata, divaricata, or stolonifera. A non-native that mixes nicely with Redbud is Lunaria annua, moneyplant.

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