Miraculous Blooms In The Fall Garden

– Posted in: Garden Design

It was two weeks ago, when we were still enjoying mid 50-60F weather, that I looked out to my woodland garden on the side of the house and saw what I thought were some white blossoms on a tree. It’s probably just wishful thinking, I said to myself. I meandered out there anyway, with my camera in hand: as a gardener, forever hopeful. And lo and behold, I couldn’t believe it. My dove tree was in bloom.

For those of you who have never seen a dove tree, also commonly known as Handkerchief or Ghost tree, Davidia involucrata is a glorious sight in bloom. In late spring, it produces pendent shaped white flowers. And yes, the blooms do look like doves or handkerchiefs.

I bought and planted this dove tree, which I ordered from Gossler Farms Nursery, www.gosslerfarms.com, 10 years ago. I was told it was going to take several years before it bloomed. And it did. But boy, was it worth the wait! This sweetheart of a tree sits on the edge of a woodland where it receives partial shade. No special attention was given to the soil nor did I shelter it from the wind which was suggested. And it still has given me a miraculous fall bloom.

On my daily walks at Haverford College, I’ve been taking note of the flowers still in bloom, along with the splendor of fall on this small college campus. Haverford College is a magnificent place where all of us nature and dog lovers congregate on a trail which circles the perimeter of the campus. Parts of the trail meander through woodlands where you can have encounters with nature at its best. And if you’re lucky, you may stumble upon the work of some little fairies.

A few photos of perennial combinations that I saw on campus. One of my favorites: asters in bloom and amsonia foliage.

This planting of cleome, echinacea and aconitum serves as a reminder that what I would consider to be a later summer/early fall planting can bring immense pleasure to the soul when witnessed in late October.

Fran Sorin
The 10th Anniversary Edition of Fran's classic book, Digging Deep: Unearthing Your Creative Roots Through Gardening, has recently been published. Updated with a new foreword by the renowned author, Larry Dossey, M.D., it has dozens of endorsements from renowned spiritual, gardening, and personal development authors and experts in their fields. A graduate of the University of Chicago with Honors in Psychology and One Spirit Interfaith Seminary, Fran is a renowned gardening expert, passionate gardener, deep ecologist, inspirational speaker, ordained interfaith minister, soul tending coach, and CBS Radio news contributor. See less Google+ | LinkedIn | Facebook | Twitter | Pinterest
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Gail October 29, 2008, 10:06 am

Isn’t amsonia fabulous in the fall! What a wondrful planting and it looks perfect with the aster. Thank you for posting about the Dove Tree! I have been looking at this guy for years wondering if it made sense to try. Siting it on the edge of the woodland sound a perfect place to enjoy its lovely bloom

Gail-
I think it does make sense to buy one and to give it a try. I would check out the selection at Gossler Farms Nursery. I see that they are offering a few varieties this year. And if you can, try to buy one wholesale. You can save alot of money by doing this even though the shipping costs can prove to be a bit steep! Fran

Cameron (Defining Your Home Garden) October 29, 2008, 12:11 pm

The Dove Tree is fabulous!

I have so much amsonia hubrechtii, but it hasn’t turned yellow yet. With temps of 29 predicted, I hope it doesn’t go from green to brown in one day!

Lovely scenes you’ve captured!
Cameron

Cameron..
Hmmmm….I wonder why your amsonia hasn’t turned yellow yet. Has this ever happened before? Mine was already yellow weeks ago when the temps. were in the 50s and 60s. Am glad you like the dove tree. What I didn’t say in my post but what I’ll share with you is that I originally bought 3 of them (at a very inexpensive price) and only one survived. Am glad that did it…it gives me great pleasure! Fran

Nancy Bond October 29, 2008, 12:33 pm

Isn’t it wonderful when something blooms unexpectedly? Beautiful campus shots, Fran.

Yes Nancy it is. Yeh….I do love Haverford College…one of my favorite hangouts. Will try to get to Chanticleer before the end of the week for fall shots. It closes this Friday for the season!! Fran

Ken from Sweden October 29, 2008, 3:06 pm

Hi Fran.
Oh.. I envi you, I have a plant to.
I bouth it for three years ago and the winter take some bit of it every year but it still alive.
I hope i will see my Davida bloom some day, until then I can watsh yor beautiful photos.
Ken from Sweden…were we actually dont can have Davidas…but who listen to that?
Ken

Ken-
Have patience with your tree. Mine took at least 4-5 years before it started really blooming. I think the first couple of years, the blooms were far and few between. And then suddenly one spring, it was like magic. The tree was covered with these blooms. I’m curious as to why you’re not allowed to plant Davidias in Sweden….do tell!! Fran

Frances October 29, 2008, 4:02 pm

The tree is enchanting. I have only seen it in catalogs and wondered about it. I am waiting also like Cameron for the amsonia to turn that shocking gold, just planted it last fall and have been waiting patiently. Maybe it should be moved by the blue asters. ;->
Frances
http://fairegarden.wordpress.com/

Frances-
I once tried planting amsonia near my asters with no success, perhaps because that area gets only partial sun. But even those wisps of a plant have turned yellow. It always amazes me how amsonia just continues to get more glorious as the seasons progress. Thanks for your comment on the dove tree. I do love it. Fran

Cameron (Defining Your Home Garden) October 30, 2008, 6:04 pm

Fran — we’ve had a lot of rain this year, so I wonder if that’s slowing down the yellowing. I notice that two have started to turn (I probably have 6). Those that are shadowed by a large buddleia gone wild are still very green! We had frost this morning.
Thanks,
Cameron