When we added a cutting garden of strictly native plants last year, the fringetree a landscape designer recommended was past its blooming time of the year. Given his description and the pictures in our North Florida native plants books, we eagerly looked forward to seeing our little fringetree sapling in bloom this year. It has truly exceeded our expectations, with bright white clusters of fragrant, wispy hanging blossoms that almost seem to glow against darker green foliage behind them.
For those interested, Gil Nelson, in Florida's Best Native Landscape Plants, describes this as a slow growing small tree which can live over 50 years and is "among the most trouble-free small landscape trees". It also bears a blue, olive-like fruit that attracts birds. According to Nelson, although it is most often seem in traditional southern landscapes, its range extends from Pennsylvania and New Jersey on down to North Florida and west into Texas. The botanical name is Chionanthus virginicus. Perhaps some of you are familiar with this tree; it is a completely new delight for me.
Question of the day: What are your favorite spring flowers or flowering trees? Are you seeing signs of spring where you are?