by Dina Lehmann-Kim, Master Gardener
When the Shade Garden held its work party April 16 to pot up plants for the Master Gardeners (MG) of Northern Virginia’s annual plant sale at Green Springs*, MG volunteers and other visitors were welcomed by the glorious color and striking blooming pattern of its centerpiece – the Eastern redbud tree (Cercis canadensis). Its delicate flowers, blooming so closely to the bare branches, provided a graceful outline of the tree’s form. The Shade Garden’s specimen is somewhat unusual in that it has large clusters of blooms all along the trunk. The redbud is native, at maturity can reach 20 to 30 feet, and can be used as an understory tree. Interestingly, it is a member of the Fabaceae or pea family.
In addition to this native, the brilliant color of Virginia bluebells (Mertensia virginica), provided another bright greeting to the gardeners.
Though early in the blooming season, the garden offered quite a selection from nature’s vast color palette. If not careful, the casual visitor might miss these garden treasures. Of note were the drooping, yet graceful, yellow flowers of Bellwort (Uvularia grandiflora) and the bright petals of the diminutive yellow wood poppy (Stylophorum diphyllum).
Other yellow flowers in bloom were two native groundcovers and good alternatives to the invasive English ivy – Golden Ragwort (Packera area) and Green and Gold (Chrysogonum virginianum).
See our Tried and True Native Plant Selections for the Mid-Atlantic fact sheets for more information on these two plants.
*The Green Springs Garden plant sale will take place on Saturday, May 14th. For more information, please visit: http://www.fairfaxcounty.gov/parks/greenspring/events.htm