Saturday, March 24, 2012


          I am not, alas, a particularly good Midwesterner, even though I've now had years and years of practice at it. The climate makes me grumpy. The ABYSMAL clay soil we have here that, if you started adding organic matter regularly to it now, you could attain actual fertility and tilth just slightly before the sun goes supernova and sucks our little solar system into its flaming maw, makes me suicidal.
          However, the Midwest does do trees well—a point very much in its favor—and one of the ones it does superlatively well is the redbud. I first saw redbuds growing wild in Indiana forests, and I thought they dressed the place up nicely.

          The redbud is native in this part of the world, which is a bonus to those of us with a grudge against the local soil profile, as redbuds not only tolerate it, but put on the loveliest springtime show of etherial, fucshia-pink buds all over themselves, followed by pretty heart-shaped blue-green leaves for the summer. They are unintersting come fall, but their breathtaking spring show more than makes up for lack of fall color. Redbuds are beautiful as specimen trees, or as an understory planting. They have a pretty open habit that often becomes more and more visually interesting as they age. They tolerate a fair amount of abuse.

          And they make a peevish misplaced Westerner very happy every spring.

1 comment:

  1. I absolutely adore these trees in the Spring! Once we drove from Nashville to Atlanta in February, and they were the only tree blooming. The bright pink blossoms seemed to be suspended in the air among the other dark trunks of trees. They reminded me of Japanese paintings.