Saturday, March 26, 2011

The Beauty of Spring--A Blossoming Fringetree

Here in coastal North Florida, our azaleas are already dropping petals, and the wonderful flowering bulbs I grew up with in Michigan, like tulips and daffodils, do not flourish. However, we are enjoying our second round of spring flowering. I hope that wherever you are (except for my southern hemisphere friends, that is :>), you are beginning to see signs of spring emerging.
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?


  1. What a lovely yard, Mary! No real signs of spring here yet. I did notice some shoots growing in the front of the house but I don't know what they are, at least as of yet. We're back to freezing and just below freezing temps however, so I'm not sure they will make it. My favorite spring flowers are the lilacs, followed by hydrangeas. I just adore both types of flowers.

  2. Thank you for your spring hopes and favorite flowers, Sherry. I love the way you pick up the conversation and say interesting things--no matter what topic I suggest. I hope those freezing temps are soon a thing of the past for you for this year!

  3. What a beautiful almost sparkling little tree. Spring is slowly coming here. I love the bulbs, perennials and most of all our native spring woodland flowers. Ah spring! :)

  4. Ah, the native spring wildflowers in the woods--you probably have many of the same species that I enjoyed on my endless, childhood walks in the wooded areas near Lake Michigan (in MI). Thanks for the memories, TB, and I'm glad you like our little fringetree.

  5. Are these an East Coast thing??? I think I saw something like these trees when I was in Philadelphia near the Barnes Museum...
    At any rate, they were also beautiful (and to me unusual) trees like these are!

  6. Yes, they are new to me, but apparently can grow all along the East Coast as far north as New Jersey, Marian.