Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Cercis canadensis - Eastern Redbud

I had seen the colors often in earlier springs...driving along, every now and then, a brilliant pop of purple would catch my attention. What is that tree, I would find myself thinking?


I have drooled over the Eastern Redbud for years. Every spring, it makes itself known by brilliant purple buds, highlighted by reddish heart-shaped leaves, left over from the preceding fall and winter.

Below, it is nothing but a bare stick-like twig.  On the lower right (below) is my smallest Redbud. I planted it in March (before the snow made the landscape white). I got it at a native plant nursery, and was happy that it was reasonably priced and that I could 'handle' digging a hole for this smaller size seedling.


This little twig-like seedling gave a couple of blooms this spring...not much to look at, really--but, I'm just happy it had any blooms at all. Pinkish purple is such a cheery color:


Anyway...back to my dreaming. I wanted more of a 'splash of color'. I wanted to wake up and see it in my own yard...not just on a walk or a drive.


So, I added a 'just a little larger one', after the small seedling. Nothing so big I couldn't dig a hole for it. It wasn't blooming and it still wasn't 'much', but it was a Redbud, so I was happy. Here's the 2nd of my Redbuds in bloom, recently:


And again, below:


Anyway, despite seeing the lovely purple blooms of my two small redbuds, I couldn't help myself last week and I just decided to 'bite the bullet', so to speak, at a local privately owned nursery. I had been 'spying on' their larger Redbuds and plotting where I would put one in my front yard--for at least two months.


I had just the spot. I ordered the tree, paid, and was told it could be up to two weeks before they could deliver and plant it. But before I got home that afternoon, the guys were in my front yard digging a hole in the area I had marked!


It might look small in the photo, but when you compare it to the seedlings I planted in the backyard, you can understand why it had to be put on a truck and delivered...and planted, by some strong burly guys ;)

Remember the seedling in the backyard (below)?


This newest addition is quite a few years older and there really is no comparison when it comes to bud development. I needed to see the color and I needed to see a lot of it! And I got what I was looking for :)


I love how it hangs on to its leaves from the previous season...so beautiful!


The new, spring heart-shaped leaves are almost just as lovely, in their green attire: 


So now, my front yard has a little highlight, from this newest tree. Even though it isn't huge, it's got something interesting to offer. I am sure each spring it will be more and more exciting to wait for the pops of purple it will offer up! Doesn't it look lovely against the back-drop of my neighbors Dogwood tree?


Between March and April I went from no Redbuds to three Redbuds! Of course, my 'favorite' one is the biggest one because it offers the most buds and therefore the most color.


 But I have high hopes for my two backyard seedlings/trees. In a few years, they will also add a big splash of spring color to the backyard garden. I just didn't want to have to wait ;)


Cercis canadensis (Eastern redbud) (native to the eastern woodlands from New Jersey to northern Florida, and westward to the Great Plains)  can grow up to 30 feet tall. It is generally an 'understory' tree, however, and will fit in well with all of the oaks, tulip poplars, and other much taller trees in my front and back yards. Its green, heartshaped leaves turn red in fall and since it is considered deciduous, the red leaves that do stay on add a little color through the winter.  After 2 or 3 weeks of flowering, leaves appear and the flowers drop. It produces flat reddish-brown pods that will remain on the tree until after leaf fall and some will even persist throughout winter. It is hardy in zones 4 to 9. *I have not experienced the complete leafing-out phase or the fruiting phase. I'll show more photos when that happens! The pods will look like beans hanging down from the tree!

Apparently, the flowers of the tree can be put into salads or fried and eaten! I have been way too busy enjoying them to bother with harvesting and eating them. But perhaps when all three trees are blooming, I'll become more willing to experiment!

As for the wildlife value of native Redbud, I read that cardinals, ring-necked pheasants, bob-whites and rose-breasted grosbeaks enjoy feeding on the seeds. (White-tailed deer and gray squirrels have also been observed feeding on the seeds--I have plenty of both and that's no surprise. What DON'T they eat?!?!). Also, the Redbud flowers can help and contribute to the production of honey by bees. Overall, I love this tree.

I've joined Gail at Clay and Limestone for "Wildflower Wednesday", along with other bloggers who are sharing natives and wildflowers that they love. Be sure to visit!

What gifts have you discovered today? Until next time,

Words and photos ©Thanks for today.™, by Jan Huston Doble @ http://www.thanksfor2day.blogspot.com/
Not to be reproduced or re-blogged without express permission of the author.


31 comments:

  1. There are many red bud trees in my neighborhood, both in landscaped yards and in the woods. After a dreary winter, it's always wonderful to see those bright purple flowers. Great choice of accent tree!

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    1. Thanks Tammy...this is a tree almost anyone can appreciate!

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  2. I, too, love redbuds. They are so lovely along the highways. As Nancy Hugo noted in her book Seeing Trees, the individual flowers (when plucked from the tree) resemble little hummingbirds. All of the redbuds in my yard were planted by birds, but I did move one of them to a more prominent location. The Virginia Native Plant Society featured the redbud as its wildflower of the year and published a brochure. It is available on the web at http://vnps.org/wp/2013-wildflower-of-the-year/.

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    1. Thanks Nancy...I forgot to mention that fact about the VNPS / wildflower of the year, although I knew that and had thought I would add it! It took too much time uploading photos and I forgot to add that in. Thanks for commenting :)

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  3. You will enjoy your redbuds! I, too, have been giving "the eye" to a purple leafed weeping redbud... That sounds pretty interesting, too, don't you think?

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    1. Hmmm, yes, a weeping redbud sounds luscious!! You must show some photos!! And I hope you'll get to add it to your yard/gardens.

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  4. Ah, yes. I would say you are entranced with the Redbud. ;-) I have a lovely one that was here 13 years ago when we moved in. It's one of those trees that makes you simply sigh with its beauty. Over the years, it was a great spot to stage prom photos for my kids. I don't know how long Redbuds live, but I can't imagine my garden without it! Enjoy, Jan!

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    1. Thanks Beth! How wonderful that you've had such a nice one for so many years. It's probably not going to stage any photos...as the flowers are pretty high up...and there's only another yr or 2 to go as far as proms go...but I'll keep it in mind! I'm not sure how long they live either...but I think a LONG time, as I've seen many that have very thick branches and look very old. So glad you have one to enjoy, too.

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  5. Redbuds are so beautiful!
    Happy Gardening!
    Lea
    Lea's Menagerie

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    1. Thanks, Lea. The same to you :)

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  6. The redbuds in my Gettysburg neighborhood are all in bloom right now, and I'm enjoying them so much. It got me wondering if I could grow one in my Maine garden, but it looks like probably not. Although they're rated as hardy to zone 5, which is what my garden has been reclassified to, O'Donal's doesn't guarantee the ones they sell -- usually a sign that a plant is not reliably hardy in southern Maine.

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    1. Hi Jean, I just noticed that my reply to you is no where to be found here. I wrote a couple of paragraphs right after you posted your comment. Not long afterwards, my computer shut off and I remember feeling frustrated at the time. I will try to remember what I had said.
      I'm glad you can at least enjoy red buds while you're in PA...they do add a pleasant spot of color to the landscape. If you would like to try one in Maine, maybe you could find a small seedling that doesn't cost an arm and a leg and give it a shot? That way, if you lose it, you won't have invested too much in it.
      I was looking through some photos of our trip to Chanticleer a couple of Aprils ago...and I noticed redbuds in the photos. I think I was oblivious to them that day! There was so much to take in there...and meeting you and Carolyn was also a bit overwhelming...so perhaps the redbuds got lost in the shuffle ;) Glad I still have the photos. I still have not posted about that trip---and it was so fun. I am just not a rapid blogger anymore and once I put something off it seems I never get back to it. Of course right now, I'm overwhelmed with photos from everything in bloom at the moment...but it's on my 'to do' list to write a post on our visit to Chanticleer...one day :)

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  7. How wonderful for you, not one but three all different sizes, to give you the glorious color and sweet heart shaped leaves.

    Enjoy ~ FlowerLady

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    Replies
    1. Thanks, Lorraine. I do hope they will all do well here, but you never know...next spring the smaller ones may not have made it. That's the fun of gardening though, things are always doing their own thing and they surprise us often!

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  8. Hello again, Jan. I’m not familiar with this tree (love its name) but I agree with you that it is a beauty and completely understand your need to get a bigger specimen :-) It’s a bonus it feeds much wildlife (despite some you might not want to) and the best is that bees love it :-D

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    1. Shirl, this is the Eastern Redbud, native to the US. I should have posted more info on the native range...I will go back and add that. It sure is a lovely tree if you're in the right climate and zone for it!!

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  9. I LOVE red buds. We had them on our college campus. I have photos I took of them each spring there. We have two in our garden now. Sadly, this year, the late freezes zapped the flower buds. Otherwise, they are well. Yours look good. I didn't know you could eat them. Occasionally, I find a seedling in a flower bed. Always spot those heart leaves. They're easy to share with friends if they want them.

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    1. Glad you have red buds in your yard, GSS! What a fun tree! I am so sorry your buds were zapped...I would be heart-broken. I hope the green, heart-shaped leaves are at least a pretty sight to look at ;)

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  10. I planted my first redbud this past fall and hope it made it through winter...I hope to see it bud soon and maybe I will get a chance to eat those flowers if I can stand picking them.

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    1. So glad you have a redbud too, Donna! It will be good news if it blooms for you! If you get a huge amount the first year you'll really be fortunate...if it is a large enough tree I suppose you could. Let me know what they taste like if you try them, I guess they're kind of 'spicy' :)

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  11. So happy you finally have your blooming redbuds, Jan! I love this tree--to me, it signals the beginning of spring. For some reason, though, my two are very late this year. I've been keeping an eye on them, worried that the drought of the last two summers might have affected them. They are just beginning to put out a few blooms, weeks later than usual.

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    1. I hope your redbuds hurry up and bloom all the way for you, Rose! I know it is candy to the eye to see the beautiful purplish/pink blossoms! Happy spring (I hope it's spring there soon!!)

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  12. I have seven in my garden now. Only one really bloomed nicely. I think sometimes they need a little time in their new digs to be happy. Two of mine are about the size of watercolor paintbrushes...tiny, but alive. Two of my newest ones are purple leafed, just gorgeous. (giving you something else to crave. )

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    1. Seven, Janet? 7? Wow! Well, I can certainly understand why, if you have the space. They are lovely native trees. That's funny that a couple are so tiny...but be patient and hopefully they will grow and thrive. Your 2 red leafed trees might be the cultivar 'Forest Pansy'...

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    2. One is 'Merlot' and the other one is 'Ruby Falls'. Of all of them, Ruby Falls is doing the best.

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    3. OH...so 'Merlot' and 'Ruby Falls' both have red leaves too, not just 'Forest Pansy'? So now I guess I don't know what my biggest tree is, since it has some red leaves on it. I thought it was the straight native when I got it but now I'm thinking it must be a cultivar. I do know the 2 smaller ones in the back are native because I got them at a native plant nursery. It would have been nice if the local nursery that sold me the large one knew that it was a cultivar and which one it was!

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  13. Ah, you've fallen under the spell of the redbud! There's no escape now. It's my favorite tree. Not only are the blossoms gorgeous, but the shape of the tree is almost as graceful as a Japanese maple. Mine is a Forest Pansy redbud, with leaves that are a bit more red. I really don't think it is holding onto leaves from the past year. It just starts to put out leaves as the flowers fade, so you get a mix of both. Be patient my dear, in just a few years you'll have many lovely blossoms to enjoy. Mine is blooming now, and soon she'll be ready for her photo shoot!

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    1. Thanks, Robin. The Forest Pansy cultivar does have red leaves, but the native has green. They turn bright red in the fall/winter. I will double check though but I think those red leaves were still attached from the past season. There were only a couple, and they were stiff and crunchy; alsom no more red leaves have formed, only green. But now you've got me curious. If I find out otherwise I'll come back and eat my words!

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    2. I was also thinking, Robin, that this might not be the straight native and might actually be 'Forest Pansy'...hmm. It was not labeled as such, but I didn't get it from a native plant nursery, like I got the other 2. This nursery carries mostly non natives and cultivars, although I do sometimes run into pure natives there, on and off. I will watch it and see what else it does; and I'll ask the nursery next time I'm there what they think. I will let you know when I figure this out!! Thanks for bringing this to my attention.

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    3. Guess what, Robin...I now am sure that you are correct! I obviously did not have the 'whole scoop' on Redbuds when I wrote this post. I checked the new tree this morning and there are even MORE red leaves developing...it is clearly a cultivar! But it is going to be a pretty one, I'm sure...having red leaves right in the front yard, during spring, is a PLUS! It will remain a focal point even though the red buds are beginning to fade and disappear now. I wish the nursery had labeled it better, they did not even know it was a cultivar. That's the problem with a lot of places...unless you go to a completely native-only nursery, you don't really know what you're getting. I am going to love this tree, regardless. Thank you for helping me learn something new!

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  14. I had to laugh at your doings to get your redbuds. They do have sweet little blooms, and it's nice to have them this time of year. It is frustrating when you think you are getting something that's native, and it turns out to be a cultivar. I have a number of cultivars that I enjoy, but I have noticed that a number of places call cultivars native still. I guess that's better for the critters than hybrids and tropicals.

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Thanks so much for visiting and taking the time to comment! Please enjoy your TODAY and all of the gifts in YOUR garden of life!

Jan

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