Homeowners have a wide array of options when selecting smaller ornamental and flowering trees for their gardens. These trees generally have a smaller growth size than larger shade trees and are chosen because of their unique characteristics and branching habits.
Many of these trees would be interchangeable within a landscape design, so gardeners can decide what characteristics they would most like to see, whether it be flowers, branching, and growth habit, or details like peeling bark.
Crabapples and flowering cherry trees have been favorite choices for many years because of their beautiful white or pink shades of flowers in the springtime.
The serviceberry is a tree that has wonderful year-round interest and has options to be grown as either as a single-stem or a multi-stem tree. With a silvery bark and simple branching habit, it is a great structure for the garden year round. It flowers white in the spring.
Japanese maples come in a wide array of green and burgundy leaf colors as well as various textures. They can have upright forms if you need a bit of height, or character and weeping forms for a lower focal point or accent. The common burgundy leaf color adds a bold pop of color to any space.
Redbuds are tried and true native trees with early spring flowers and heart shaped leaves throughout the year. Dogwoods are one of the most loved and requested trees for a garden, with their beautiful branching habit and very showy flower displays.
There are many magnolia trees to choose from, but my favorite is the sweetbay magnolia, a multi-stem tree that is very easy to care for and which has a wonderfully fragrant flower in spring.
Two lesser known – but wonderful – flowering trees would be the styrax and the stewartia. The styrax or Japanese snowbell has a very architectural branching habit, making almost as a sculpture during the winter months.
The stewartia tree is one of my favorite trees because of its tropical feel. With its peeling bark and leaves with sliver underside, it is sure to draw attention to itself. It also is a flowering tree with larger showy white flowers in June.
Brian Wildeman is a landscape architect at Landscapes by Dallas Foster, Inc., 825 Canal St. He can be reached at 812-882-0719 and dallasfoster.com.