Catching the Crabapple at peak bloom at the Chicago Botanic Garden (CBG) involves some tricky timing, but we gave it another try last week on the first day that worked. Last time we visited the buds looked as if they were just getting ready to burst. Passing the Regenstein Center, CBG’s building for indoor displays …

Only a few weeks ago I was complaining about how our ‘Schubert’ Chokecherry (Prunus virginiana) had never bloomed, and now – it’s blooming! I guess patience has been rewarded, since this tree was planted 6 years ago as a bareroot whip less than 3′ tall (it’s now about 15′).

I wanted to do just a quick post on the ‘Donald Wyman’ crab blooming now in our Front Garden. For me, the flowering of this tree is one of the most joyous moments defining spring in our garden. For the last two years in a row the bloom has been unusually prolific.

When neighbors plant a new tree on their side of the property line, it feels to me like I’ve got a new tree of my very own. In this case the tree is a Yoshino Cherry (Prunus x yedoensis), and its first season of profuse bloom is happening right now.

It has been my ambition to have red fruits adding to our garden’s fall and winter appeal, particularly in the shade garden in back. My main plant for achieving this goal was supposed to be Cranberrybush Viburnum (Viburnum trilobum). On this score, the effort was a complete failure, mainly because squirrels eat all the fruit …

Flowers for shade, especially perennials, are usually associated with springtime, before the leaf canopy fills in and blocks most of the sunlight.  We do have a few summer blooms in our shady back garden, though.

American Fringe Trees (Chionanthus virginicus) and Peonies have little in common, except that they are providing some of the most striking blooms in our garden at this moment.  

Every year I like to give a little push for 2 native Currants that, I believe, could be more widely utilized in home landscapes.

Spicebush (Lindera benzoin) is a native alternative to Forsythia that’s certainly worth considering. It’s a shrub that offers much more than yellow flowers in spring.

All this time at home, and it’s been too cold and wet to do much in the garden lately. In fact, it snowed all afternoon today, damn it! So I have not much to do but think up schemes, schemes that will further explode my garden budget deficit.