One of my favorites in the garden is the Red Bud (Cercis). It is hard to miss in the spring with its explosion of magenta. To me it looks Asian somehow – the clouds dark purple pink blossoms and crooked branches are reminiscent of Chinese silk paintings. Yet believe it or not, it is native to the eastern half of the US with zone 5 (Chicago area) being the upper reaches of its habitat.
Unlike any other tree that I am familiar with, the redbud blossoms appear in clusters in late April to mid-May, on bare stems before the leaves, and even on the trunk itself. After the blossoms fade away, the alternating heart-shaped leaves are very pretty.
Redbud prefers partial shade or light shade. In the wild, Eastern redbud is a frequent native understory tree in mixed forests, meaning that it is found on the edges of the woodland in the shadow of larger trees. We were in Asheville North Carolina at the end of March and saw magenta clumps of color all over the Blue Ridge Mountains. Natural beauties for sure.
Our redbud is located on the north side of our property near our front entrance “under” a maple. The multi-stemmed tree looks quite handsome against the white stucco backdrop with the young heart shaped leaves emerging. I’ve hung a birdhouse on its branches. So far, the birds around here are immune to the charms of the redbud as there are no takers yet.