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Using boulder walls to retain a slope and stones for a patio serve a purpose in the landscape that goes beyond function. Choosing the right materials for the hard elements in a project can make the difference in a landscape that looks complete and authentic versus one that will look dated and unnatural as the years go by. Here are a few photos of projects with nice hardscapes that will stand the test of time and get better with age.

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More Flowering Trees

As spring marches on, every day seems to bring another favorite tree into bloom. I’ve compiled some photos to showcase some of the best flowering trees.

First up, the lovely Serviceberry, Amelanchier canadensis, also known as shadblow. This tree finished blooming a few weeks ago:Serviceberry1


Here is the elegant Silverbell, Halesia diptera. These trees are so pretty with their white bell-shaped flowers:


Halesia detail

Also blooming right now is Aesculus x ‘Fort McNair’. Fort McNair is a hybrid between the Red Buckeye (native) and the European Horse Chestnut.

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And last but not least, the Fringetree, Chionanthus virginicus. I know I’ve said it before, but one of my favorites.


Fringetree detail

As you can see, there is a wealth of trees that are well-suited for our region. Featured here are natives, or partial natives, that can be wonderful assets to your garden.

Dogwoods and Redbuds: Two Favorites


Eastern Redbud


Flowering Dogwood

Little introduction is needed for two common trees that are found in our Appalachian region. Anyone who lives here can’t help but to notice the spectacular displays of the flowering dogwood, Cornus florida, and the eastern redbud, Cercis canadensis. These species of trees are native and are also commonly planted. In order to maintain genetic diversity, it is best to stick with straight species of plants when re-naturalizing disturbed areas, but for a specimen tree in the garden setting, often a cultivar is a better choice.

Cornus florida

Flowering dogwoods are wonderful trees but can suffer from diseases, especially an introduced one called anthracnose. Cornus fl. ‘Applachian Spring is a selection that was introduced as the most disease-resistant cultivar on the market. It has the typical form and habit of a common dogwood, but the white flowers (really just bracts; the true flowers being the small ones that make up the yellow center) are a little larger and creamier in color. It also has excellent red color in the fall accompanied by red berries that birds find irresistible.

Foliage of Cornus florida ‘Appalachian Spring’
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Cercis canadensis var. texensis ‘Oklahoma’

Eastern redbuds look stunning with dogwoods, which bloom around the same time. A fine cultivar to try is Cercis canadensis var. texensis ‘Oklahoma‘. This tree was a favorite of plantsman J.C Raulston, and for good reason. ‘Oklahoma’ has a lusterous leaf and consistent deep purple flower color, with the shape of the tree being generally wider and more compact than the straight species.

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‘Oklahoma’ flowers

If you are looking for special trees to plant in your garden or yard, these are unrivaled in their beauty. Since both are native to our region, they are well-suited to our climate and offer benefits to wildlife as well.
We have dogwoods and redbuds in stock. Give us a call – 828.687.1677

AHBA Home & Garden Expo

We’re at the AHBA Home Expo this weekend – Come out and see us! Leave a comment here to be entered into our drawing for a $50 gift certificate towards a tree or shrub.

Spike Winterhazel – Corylopsis spicata

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Corylopsis spicata or Spike Winterhazel, is a 4 to 6′ high (often over 10′ at maturity) deciduous shrub that blooms in late winter to early spring. The fragrant bell shaped flowers hang in clusters and are a pale creamy yellow. These shrubs have a wide-spreading open growth habit with rather attractive contorted branches. Closely related to witch hazels, they have the same shape at maturity, often being twice as wide as high. The leaves have a crinkled, pleated appearance and emerge a nice purple color and eventually become bluish green.

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As far as landscape plants go, Corylopsis spicata does not need special care, and readily grows in moist, well-drained soil in a spot that is sunny to partially shady. They are well suited to our climate, being hardy zones 5-8. If yellow bells are a little too garish for your taste, the beauty of the Winterhazel is not something you want to miss.