Contributed by Allan Robinson
Near my front door, which I use multiple times every day, is an ornamental tree that I admire. I take a sense of pride in this tree, as my partner and I planted it back in ’08. The day was warm and the tree perhaps a tad too big for both of us to comfortably handle as we slid it out of the back of a borrowed dump truck, scrambling out of the way in fear of bodily harm. With just the two of us we had one shot to size the hole correctly and position the tree in it. After much deliberation and a little more digging, followed by back-filling the hole and then a little more digging, we succeeded.
Since that memorable day back in 2008 both of us have admired our ornamental tree, a tree selected and planted purely for aesthetic reasons. We selected a tree for its four seasons of interest. Such a wealth of ornamental features may not be important if your tree won’t be seen throughout the year, but in our case this tree bids us a good-day every morning and welcomes us home each evening.
As the seasons progress, so does the beauty of the tree. In the spring we admire the large white flower petals before the leaves emerge. During the summer months we have lush green leaves changing to a rich purple-maroon in autumn. The berries, which have been hidden all summer, boldly announce their arrival to the birds by brightening to red in the fall. Before winter rolls around the last task of the tree is to set its flower buds for the following spring providing winter interest. We like to hang lights on it during the holiday season. With or without lights, the tree is quite handsome throughout the winter.
Although we chose a native dogwood (Cornus florida) for our front walk, other popular deciduous ornamental trees include Birch, Paperbark Maple, Kousa Dogwood, Crab Apple, flowering Cherry, Stewartia and Washington Hawthorne. What special tree would you like to have welcome you home each day?