Story from: The Gateway Gardener September 2022
Flowering Trees for Small Spaces by Abby Lapides
Whether they’re adding another season of bloom, shading a garden or providing 3-dimensional value, flowering trees are a design staple in the yard. You don’t need a ton of space to enjoy these beauties, some of the best flowering trees come in small packages. Here are a few of my favorite trees that will provide gorgeous flowers without taking up too much space.
Versatile and tough as nails Forest Pansy Redbud, contains the rugged genetics of our native Redbud, Cercis canadensis but in a much prettier package. Brilliant scarlet-purple, heart-shaped foliage emerges in spring, maturing to a deep maroon color that contrasts beautifully with green or yellow foliage plants. This stunning tree was awarded the Plant of Merit award by Missouri Botanical Garden for its ornamental value and ease of care. But I forgot to mention the flowers – before the stunning leaves appear, bright purple buds open to showy lavender flowers all along the bare stems. Grows about 20’ tall and wide.
A unique tree that will surely stop traffic is the ‘Arnold Pink’ Carolina Silverbells Tree, Halseia carolina (pictured above). Large baby doll pink bells dangle off this tree in April before leaves emerge. As the wind blows you can almost hear the tinkling noise of these beautiful bells. Growing into an open pyramidal shape about 20-30’ tall and 15-20’ wide, this is a perfect tree where a taller, but not too wide, tree is needed.
If you’re looking for a tiny tree with a big show, look for Tinkerbelle Magnolia. Bred in New Zealand by revered Magnolia breeder Vance Hooper, Tinkerbelle delights with vibrant redpurple blooms that can repeat. With its compact columnar shape and abundance of flowers, Tinkerbelle is a perfect choice for a small garden or narrow border. In optimal conditions a secondary bloom appears immediately after the first and another wave of flowers presents in summer to early autumn. Grows 10-15’ tall, but only 6-8’ wide.