There is no better activity for the first day of spring than a trip to the local arboretum to get a taste of early blooms. We are lucky enough to be a 5 minute drive from the J.C. Raulston Areboretum at NC State University. With many class and leisure hours spent there, it is my one of Brian and my favorite places to spend an afternoon. This particular trip, along with a myriad of blooms, we took an interest in some yellow magnolias as possible choices for our landscape. Below is Magnolia 'Lois'.
The arboretum has a fantastic magnolia collection, and although many of the pink varieties are just coming out of bloom, the yellow ones were in their prime, just unfurling. I was amazed at how much was in bloom, way too many to take a picture of each, so I will show the highlights.
I absolutely love these prairie crocus (Pulsatilla spp.). The one on the right is P. halleri subsp. styriaca. I don't know anything about them, but they have them planted in their scree (rock) garden.
This beauty was a standout, a scarlet flowered dwarf flowering peach (Prunus percisa 'NCSU Dwarf Double Red') that is a NC State University Horticultural Science introduction. What an amazing specimine plant! This is one I will be taking cuttings of (a benefit allowed by the arboretum for those in the industry and horticultural science students).
Two beautifully fragrant early spring plants, winter honeysuckle (Lonicera fragrantissima - the name says it all!), and early Korean lilac (Syringa oblata subsp. dilatata) were in full bloom
These were two of my favorite trees of the day, a bright chartreuse Cornelian Cherry (Cornus mas 'Spring Glow') (top) just starting to leaf out is another NC State University Horticultural Science Introduction, and a two-toned witch-hazel (Hamamelis x intermedia 'Wiero') (bottom). I love witch-hazels, such an interesting bloom in addition to its many medicinal uses.
Another beautiful yellow magnolia (Magnolia 'Legend') was just opening to reveal its pollen coated innards in a pool of rainwater.
The final yellow magnolia specimen (Magnolia 'Yellow Lantern') (left) looked stunning here amidst bright pink flowers and blue skies. This Virginia Pine (Pinus virginiana 'Wate's Gold') (right) is a special winter-gold variety that is one of my favorite trees at the arboretum. A great variety of a native, this one graces the winter garden. I have tried on several occasions to root cuttings from this tree with no luck yet, but I'm sure I'll try again sometime!
Another one of my favorite specimen trees, this weeping elm is deserving of the spotlight even in the absence of blooms or leaves. Found growing wild in a nursery mans backyard (click picture below to see whole story) this NCSU Horticultural Introduction is 54 years old! The white-edged samaras hanging from the weeping branches created an effect much like sequence shimmering in the sun.
"Now every field is clothed with grass, and every tree with leaves; now the woods put forth their blossoms, and the year assumes its gay attire." ~Virgil