Prunus Kwansun is the most popular Japanese flowering cherry tree and Cornus Eddie’s White Wonder is an upright dogwood that will flourish in full sun or part sun.

Prunus Kwansun is the most popular Japanese flowering cherry tree and Cornus Eddie’s White Wonder is an upright dogwood that will flourish in full sun or part sun.

Break out those hoes, it’s gardening season

After a beautiful super moon on Saturday night, spring finally arrived Sunday. The sun shone, the last snow disappeared from my yard, and at least in Sunningdale, winter loosened its unyielding grip.

Thank goodness! We’ve all been commiserating on a late start to the garden season but the delay should make emerging green sprouts of spring bulbs all the sweeter. I imagine once the weather warms a bit, we’ll experience lots of plants blooming at the same time.

The long winter gave me time to sort through garden pictures, and images of a couple of superb spring bloomers stood out to start me dreaming. I thought, ‘Why not dream big and ask the community to consider the idea of planting ‘drifts’ of these showy, spring-blooming trees throughout the entire area?’

In garden design, single specimen plants can be used as focal points but if we really want to make a statement, a ‘drift’ of the same plant is often more powerful.

Just imagine the beautiful Kootenay landscape coming alive earlier than June or July.

I have presented the idea to our Communities in Bloom team with the idea of planting Eddie’s White Wonder dogwoods and Japanese Kwanzan cherry trees along the river walks. These trees bloom in May and could add significantly to the beauty of our landscape at a time when not much else is happening.

Now I am presenting this idea in hopes of sharing the realization of this dream to you, the local residents.

Neither of these small ornamental trees requires significant amounts of care and both are pest and disease resistant.

The Eddie’s White Wonder dogwood (Cornus nutalli x Cornus florida) has an upright, spreading form and dominant single stem. Flowers with button-like centres form a small, spherical cluster which is surrounded by four to six large, rounded and overlapping white bracts.

An entire blossom may be over four inches across. This dogwood grows 25-feet tall and wide and is hardy to Zone 5 (or Zone 4, if protected). It prefers part sun but seems to flourish in full sun as well.

The ‘Kwanzan’ (prunus serrulata) is the most popular of the Japanese flowering cherry trees and the hardiest of the double flowering type.

Two-and-a-half-inch, double flowers (deep pink to white) and gorgeous bronze new growth combine with a uniform growth pattern to make this an excellent specimen for lining neighbourhood streets. It grows to about 25 feet tall and wide, prefers full sun and is also hardy to Zone 5 (or Zone 4, if protected).

Trees are a long-term investment that can provide years of enjoyment. I am pleased to have the Eddie’s White Wonder in my back garden and will be adding the “Kwanzan” to my front yard. I invite you all to join me in this community venture. What better way to celebrate the arrival of spring!

I am also excited this year, to be sharing this column with my two business partners, Margaret Devantier and Betty Drover. I am confident everyone will benefit from the very different perspectives and insights they will have to offer.

Margaret has extensive knowledge of integrated pest management (the health of plants) and is a master gardener. Betty has overcome the challenges of gardening in colder climates like Fruitvale and will share her knowledge in developing beautiful perennial beds and vegetable gardens.

We are happy to take questions, share garden photos and pass along garden ‘happenings’ from around the community. Send an email to psiddall@telus.net, we’d love to hear from you.

Patty Siddall returns to our pages for another growing season with her column, Ground Rules in Gardening.

She operates Siddall Naturewise Garden Services in Trail and will share column space with business partners Margaret Devantier and Betty Drover every other Friday.