Fragrant Flowering Trees for Mid-Atlantic Gardens
Regional Gardening, Best Trees, Mid-Atlantic Gardening
Hardy and exquisite-looking trees are important elements in Mid-Atlantic gardens. They are the most permanent and dominant elements in the landscape. There is a tremendous amount of possibilities in terms of trees to pick for your yard: evergreen or deciduous trees, spring or summer blooms, fall color interest, leaf shape, exfoliating bark, growth habit, etc.
Choosing a delightfully fragrant tree adds to your overall enjoyment in spring or summer when its scent hangs beautifully in the air.
You may want to grow these remarkable flowering trees to perfume your garden and your home. As you will note, some are top performers and have received the prestigious Award of Garden Merit of the Royal Horticultural Society!
Fragrant Flowering Trees for Mid-Atlantic Gardens
Chionanthus virginicus (Fringe Tree) is a deciduous shrub or small tree which is spectacular in full bloom. In late spring or early summer, it is literally covered with delicate clouds of slightly fragrant, creamy-white flowers borne in long drooping panicles. As the blooms fade, the petals drop like snow on the ground. While the male flowers bear slightly longer petals and are showier, the female flowers give way to lovely clusters of dark blue fruit in late summer and are a food source for birds and wildlife. The foliage of wide, spear-shaped leaves turns golden-yellow in fall.
Prized for its fragrant flowers, showy conelike fruit, handsome foliage, and smooth gray bark, Magnolia virginiana (Sweet Bay Magnolia) can be grown as a graceful, slender tree or as a multi-stemmed shrub. Evergreen to semi-evergreen in mild climates, the foliage of lanceolate shiny green leaves glimmers in the wind as a result of their silvery undersides. Solitary, lemon scented, cup-shaped flowers, 3 in. across (7 cm), appear in mid-spring and bloom sporadically throughout the summer. Adorned with 9-12 velvety, creamy-white petals, each flower open in the morning and close at night. They are followed by showy, cone-like fruits with bright red seeds.
A very pretty landscape tree, Malus sargentii (Sargent Crabapple) is a dwarf, deciduous, multi-stemmed shrub or small tree with a long season of interest. Opening from pink buds, abundant clusters of fragrant, sparkling white blossoms appear in mid to late spring. The flowers are borne in alternate years, blooming heavily every other year. They are followed by crops of very showy, persistent red fruits in fall, 1/4 in. (0.5 cm), which are long-lasting and attractive to birds. The dense and spreading, summer canopy of ovate, lobed, dark green leaves, warms up to golden shades in the fall, before shedding to the ground, revealing the architectural zigzagging branches.
One of the hardiest close relative of Citrus, Poncirus trifoliata (Hardy Orange) is an extremely architectural, well-branched, deciduous shrub which provides significant ornamental interest over most seasons. Resembling orange blossoms, refreshingly fragrant, cup-shaped white flowers, 2 in wide (5 cm), appear in late spring and continue to flower through to early summer. They are followed by an abundance of golf-ball size, slightly furry fruits which ripen to a lovely golden-yellow in fall. If left on the tree, they will persist well into winter, adding interest in the garden. The foliage of three-palmate leaves emerges yellow-green in spring, turns glossy dark green in summer before turning a lovely butter-yellow in fall.
Fast-growing, Robinia pseudoacacia (Black Locust) is a spreading, suckering, deciduous tree boasting attractive compound leaves and pendulous racemes of scented pea-like flowers. The dark blue-green leaves comprise 5-11 pairs of oval leaflets, which turn yellow in the fall, before shedding to the ground. As the leaves fall, they reveal the beautiful, deeply furrowed rough bark. Dense, pendant clusters of fragrant white flowers, 8 in. long (20 cm), appear in late spring and early summer. Attractive to honeybees and hummingbirds, they are followed in fall by smooth, flat, purple-brown seed pods.
Very showy and elegant, Styrax japonicus (Japanese Snowbell) is a deciduous tree with gracefully spreading branches and a rounded crown. In late spring to early summer, masses of fragrant, bell-shaped, white flowers with showy golden-yellow stamens, appear in pendulous racemes. Despite flowering after the leaves have fully emerged, the blossoms are easily visible thanks to the upward posture of the foliage. The foliage of finely-pointed ovate, glossy green leaves, warms up to golden yellow and orange in the fall. The smooth gray bark exfoliates on older specimens, revealing orange inner bark that adds winter interest. A great patio tree providing multi-season interest.
Very showy and desirable, Styrax obassia (Fragrant Snowbell) is a small, upright deciduous tree or large shrub of rounded habit with multi-season interest. In late spring to early summer, masses of fragrant, bell-shaped, glistening white flowers with showy golden-yellow stamens, appear in pendulous racemes. Despite flowering after the leaves have fully emerged, the sheer volume of flowers creates a stunning display. The bold foliage of large, broadly-ovate or rounded, dark green leaves, transitions to golden yellow in the fall. The smooth gray bark exfoliates on older specimens, revealing orange-brown vertical fissures that add winter interest. A great patio tree where fragrance, flowers and bark can be enjoyed.
Highly popular, award-winning Syringa vulgaris 'Sensation' (Lilac) is an upright, deciduous shrub noted for its unusual bicolor flowers. Sweetly scented, they form large, pyramidal panicles of purplish red florets adorned with white edges. Blooming in late spring, the blossoms are so profuse that they literally cover the plant. The erect, open branches are clothed in rich green, heart-shaped leaves that remain attractive in summer.
Incredibly pretty when in full bloom, the Japanese flowering cherry, Prunus serrulata, is primarily grown for its profuse and showy spring blossoms in early or mid spring. Depending on cultivars, the flowers may come in various shades of white and pink and may be single, semi-double or double.
Regarded one of the most spectacular of flowering trees, the Yoshino cherry, Prunus x yedoensis, is highly celebrated for its thousands of showy, almond-scented blossoms coming out all at once along its bare branches in early spring and then quickly falling.
Native to Japan, Magnolia stellata, also known as Star Magnolia, is a small deciduous tree with incredibly pretty star-shaped flowers in late winter or early spring. While the blossoms are fairly small, 4 in. across (10 cm), they are packed with up to 40 long and narrow tepals and are extremely showy
Considered one of the most beautiful Magnolias, Magnolia denudata is a large deciduous shrub or small tree. Upright and cup-shaped when borne, its creamy to ivory white flowers gracefully open their 9-12 tepals as they mature, resembling lilies. Rich of a lemon fragrance, the blooms appear on naked branches in late winter to early spring, before the ovate leaves unfurl.
You may want to review these useful guides
The following is a list of Azaleas and Rhododendrons recognized as proven performers in the Mid-Atlantic region. Most of them have received the Rhododendron of the Year Award of the American Rhododendron Society.
Wondering which English rose cultivars have proven reliably hardy and entirely worth growing in Mid-Atlantic gardens?
Perennial flowers are fabulous additions to our gardens. When carefully selected, waves after waves of colorful blooms will be enjoyed in your Mid-Atlantic garden from spring to fall. Reliable plants, they come back stronger and bigger when winter turns to spring, ready to start another spectacular show.
Plant one of these shrubs or small trees and enjoy a spectacular display from late summer through winter. They all possess brightly colored fruits and are an excellent way to brighten the drab winter garden, turning sorry spots into beautiful focal points.
circumnavigation / 123RF Stock Photo
While every effort has been made to describe these plants accurately, please keep in mind that height, bloom time, and color may differ in various climates. The description of these plants has been written based on numerous outside resources.
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