Good trees for urban gardens: Splashes of color outside Edmonds Center for Arts

Ginkgo biloba tree outside the Edmonds Center for the Arts building.

I made sure to visit the Edmonds Center for the Arts recently. I had spied a bright yellow tree from afar and did not want to miss the beautiful, yellow-leaved tree, ginkgo biloba.

It originates from China and has a long history. This is an ancient tree that has been tough enough to survive for so many years in spite of smog and other conditions that kill many trees. It is in the front, on the southwest side of the ECA lawn.

Sometimes the tree drops all of its leaves at once. There were a few leaves on the ground, but mostly the tree still had its leaves. It can grow quite tall, although there are varieties that stay smaller. Portland has a row of them downtown and it’s a spectacular sight each year.

Coral bark maple trees are a gift from Edmonds in Bloom.

A recent addition to the front of the ECA are pots with coral bark maple trees. They are a gift from Edmonds in Bloom. They add a welcome touch to the front of the ECA. They have dropped their leaves but the coral branches add much-needed color to the area.

As you walk down the path on the south side of the main building, you will find more color. The “Adirondack” crabapple tree is still holding on to its reddish orange tiny apples. Articles about this narrow tree say birds like the fruit, but so far the apples are staying on the tree.

If anyone sees birds eating the small fruit, report it to My Edmonds News. So far, I have never seen birds eat the fruit.

Camellia sasanqua

Another tree-like shrub is the camellia sasanqua “Setsugekka,” which is also on the side of the ECA just south of the crabapple. It is loaded with white flowers. The sasanqua camellia blossoms at a time when many shrubs are not blooming. This makes it a very welcome sight when so many trees have dropped their leaves or blossoms.

As we watch the change in color, we also count the days until Dec. 21, when the days begin to get longer. I am sure I join many who look forward to those lengthening days

— By Barbara Chase

Barbara Chase is a Master Gardener who serves on the City of Edmonds Citizens Tree Board.



  1. Thanks to Ms. Chase for another great tree article. I just planted one of those Coral Bark maples in my front yard and it adds great winter color as well as the summer leaves. I’m hoping it soon becomes a valued part of my water and tree view which I have, since most of the giant evergreens have been removed. I even like the utility pole and wire part of the view because a lot of great birds like to sit on the poles and wires to take in the view too. (Guests often lament the presence of the poles and wires and are dumbfounded when I tell them to me they are just another great aspect of a pleasant view. Perfection is highly over rated in my view – pun intended). The blue jays and woodpeckers are the most fun to watch. Crows are ever present, of course, but they are even interesting in an Edgar Allen Poe sort of way.

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