Trees offer a firm landscape foundation

By Norman Winter

National Arbor Day is an excellent time to consider adding trees to your landscape. In addition to enhancing its beauty, it’s an opportunity for families to create memories as they watch the trees mature.

Selecting the right tree for your landscape, whether for shade, foundation or flower, is one of the most important decisions you will make, and the choices may seem overwhelming. The Southern Living®Plant Collection is here to help, with some outstanding options for today’s urban landscape. We’ve done the research for you.

Like many, you have probably treasured the spring bloom of the dogwood and wished you could extend the season. Your wish has come true with Southern Living Plant Collection’s Empress of China® Dogwood. This incredible small tree will reach 18-feet tall and 15-feet wide – perfect for today’s landscape.

Like many, you have probably treasured the spring bloom of the dogwood and wished you could extend the season. Your wish has come true with Southern Living Plant Collection’s Empress of China®Dogwood. This incredible small tree will reach 18-feet tall and 15-feet wide – perfect for today’s landscape. 

It is evergreen in lower regions and semi-evergreen in colder areas. It is recommended for zones 6-9, and believe it or not, those dazzling white blooms appear beginning in June. This award-winning tree is also recognized as backyard wildlife habitat friendly as the small red fruit formed after it blooms is treasured by birds.

One of the most exquisite considerations has to be the ‘Sweet Tea’ Mountain Gordlinia. This small tree can eventually reach 20- to 30-feet in height with a spread of 10-feet.

One of the most exquisite considerations has to be the ‘Sweet Tea’ Mountain Gordlinia. This small tree can eventually reach 20- to 30-feet in height with a spread of 10-feet.

This Southern Living®Plant Collection tree is steeped in history as it is a cross between the Franklinia named for Ben Franklin, and the Gordonia. You’ll find the resulting Sweet Mountain Tea Gordlinia adorned with enormous 5-inch fragrant white blooms produced over a long period during the summer. If that were not enough to entice you, consider the evergreen foliage turns burgundy red in the winter.

The collection also includes evergreen hollies for your consideration. These hollies are not only picturesque in their form and structure, but they also fill the important role of creating the foundational bones of the landscape.

‘Scarlet’s Peak’ is a most unique selection of yaupon holly. It reaches a stately 20-feet tall but only 3-feet wide. Like other yaupon hollies, it produces a bounty of red winter berries eaten by more than a half dozen species of birds. Scarlet’s Peak holly will be like an evergreen pillar perfect to be surrounded by Encore® Azaleas. It is recommended for zones 8-10.

‘Scarlet’s Peak’ is a most unique selection of yaupon holly. It reaches a stately 20-feet tall but only 3-feet wide. Like other yaupon hollies, it produces a bounty of red winter berries eaten by more than a half dozen species of birds. Scarlet’s Peak holly will be like an evergreen pillar perfect to be surrounded by Encore®Azaleas. It is recommended for zones 8-10.

Robin™ has become one of the most-loved hollies in the landscape. This classic pyramidal formed tree loaded with bright red winter berries is mesmerizing in its beauty.

Two other hollies in the collection look as though they were created to be Christmas trees. Robin™ has become one of the most-loved hollies in the landscape. This classic pyramidal formed tree loaded with bright red winter berries is mesmerizing in its beauty – add a Cedar Waxwing eating a berry and you have a priceless painting. Robin is recommended for zones 6-10, and will reach 15- to 20-feet in height with a spread of 12- to 15-feet. 

There is nothing quite as elegant in the landscape as a well-maintained Oakland™ Holly.

There is nothing quite as elegant in the landscape as a well-maintained Oakland™Holly. Don’t let the word “maintained” deter you, as its habit and structure lend itself to being the perfect Christmas tree shape. It, too, reaches 15- to 20-feet tall with a spread of 12- to 15-feet. It features oak-shaped leaves, and its berries are produced in late winter. 

We invite you to visit our website www.southernlivingplants.com. Not only can you see the entire collection of trees, but read about their care and planting instructions.

While the cost of the tree is small in dollars spent, the investment potential is high. A tree not only adds value, but enjoyment and memories for years to come. The wrong decision can result in a loss of the most precious of investments – time –which is where the Southern Living Plant Collection’s name and reputation brings piece of mind. Let the celebration begin!

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