On my walk the other day I took photos not just of the terrible trees, but of the nice ones too. I love deciduous trees in winter, as you get to see their branching structure so much more clearly. Some of them are really magnificent too.
Not the trees in my yard though. The only ones that have any character in winter are the black locusts, and they're not the healthiest specimens around. Plus I only have a couple left -- most have been removed. Around the neighborhood though there are some beautiful trees...
First up, a really nice American Sycamore (Platanus occidentalis):
This is the species of tree that gets the largest in this part of the country, or at least that's what I've seen. Shaw Nature Reserve has a few giant specimens, and there are two growing in a small wild area in my neighborhood too. I can't believe I've never done a post about them... I'll have to dig through old photos.
Next up are a picturesque source of irritation for many people in our neighborhood, the Sweetgum (Liquidambar styraciflua):
These are nice trees in almost every way: nice form, grow quickly while young, good fall color -- but their seedpods (or "gumballs" as they're called around here) are a nuisance! Everybody who has one of these trees complains about the gumballs.
As one of the few people on my street that doesn't have one, I think they're attractive.
I'm not sure what this next small tree is, but its berry-laden branches almost poked my eye out:
That's what I get for walking along while looking up at trees. This could be American cranberry bush viburnum (Viburnum trilobum). Does anybody know for sure?
Next up are a pair of Tuliptrees (Liriodendron tulipifera):
Whoever thought of planting these across the street from one another has my admiration, as it makes a beautiful scene. I only learned about this species of tree this year, first when I found a small sapling growing in my garden, and then when I was researching potential replacement trees for the ailing ash in my front yard.
They have a unique leaf structure, spring flowers (which I've not yet seen), and these persistent seed pods which I've never noticed until this year. I've walked underneath them for years, never paying attention. They're lovely!
Hey, that's not a tree! I couldn't resist a photo of one of the few other yards in the area that contains bamboo (Phyllostachys aureosulcata). I plan on talking to the homeowners in the next couple of months, as they have a rhizome escape problem as evidenced by shoots coming up along the side of the house last year. It's not a well-maintained grove, and could be much more attractive. Great privacy though!
Back to the trees, and another cross-street pairing, this time of American sycamores:
Just amazing trees! I don't know if I'd want one in my yard though, as they drop lots of litter (but I think all of my trees already do that). So impressive though... okay, maybe I do want one in my yard.
Next up, what I thought was a holly, but now I'm not sure:
It's loaded with berries. I wish I had my good camera with me so I could see the leaves more clearly. It's a stunning plant right now, whatever it is!
Finally, a couple of bald cypress (Taxodium distichum) that are much larger than the one in my yard:
These are old enough to produce cones (it's a deciduous conifer -- did you know that?), but I mainly like the branching structure and somewhat shaggy bark:
Beautiful trees that adapt well to city conditions, and will eventually get quite large. Bald cypress grows quickly when young (mine adds at least 3' of height every year) but then slows down, has strong limbs, feathery foliage -- just great trees!
But it seems that there are several different species in the neighborhood that I'd consider to be "great" based on these photos.
It's going to be difficult to choose one for my yard!
Do you have any great winter trees in your garden or neighborhood?