Best trees for urban gardens: Yellow and pink harbingers of spring

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We continue our series highlighting trees that work for gardens in Edmonds. It’s presented by Master Gardener Barbara Chase, who serves on the Edmonds Tree Board.

When February rolls around gardeners begin to think about spring. They see harbingers  of spring as bulbs pop up and trees show more color. We even have some bright days although long stretches of gray and rainy days are also part of the picture.

Trees such as the native hazelnut, corylus cornuta, produce yellow catkins.

Another native evergreen Garrya elliptica “Issaquahensis” produces cascades of white catkins appearing like a waterfall. They are at their peak in February,

Witch hazel, hamamelis, produces fragrant yellow flowers. A beautiful specimen is in the new park, Dayton Street Plaza at 2nd Avenue.  Former Edmonds horticulturist Janice Noe estimates that it was planted in 1970. They are slow growing but patience is warranted.

Cornelian cherry (cornus mas) also produces early yellow flowers. You can see a line of them north of the Edmonds Senior Center parking lot. They are also blooming on the north side of the Edmonds Center for the Arts just off 4th Avenue.

Although many camellias start blooming in spring, some camellias start much earlier. You will see these tree-like shrubs around town, mostly in shades of pink.

As we patiently wait for spring to arrive in March, we can enjoy these earlier blooming trees. They give us hope for a brighter garden in the future.

— By Barbara Chase

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