I realized in my post about small trees to remember a lost loved one by, I only included conifers. So today, let me correct that oversight and highlight three wonderful but small deciduous trees.
Coral Bark Maple
This little maple tree (Acer palmatum ‘Sango-Kaku’) sports coral colored stems in winter, lovely green-yellow leaves in summer, and nice yellow color in fall. It’s an elegant vase-shaped tree that grows to about 15 feet tall and maybe 6 feet wide. I have one at the back of my yard and it absolutely glows in winter when the sun hits it. Plus, you can under plant it with red or yellow twig dogwoods for an echoing pattern or dark green viburnums for bold contrasts. Either way, this tree is a sweet choice to memorialize a beloved person. Hardy to zone 5.
Redbuds (Cercis canadensis) mainly put on a show in spring. They bloom in fantastic strong magenta flowers on bare branches. This creates a cheery effect in spring when all else is barely leafing out. Though there’s no fragrance, the flowers will bloom for up to three weeks. Redbuds top out at about 20 feet and are good if you’d like to plant daffodils or other bulbs below as the branches aren’t that dense. Hardy to zone 4.
A dogwood tree is great if you have a partly shady space. They like protection from afternoon sun. If given that, they’ll bloom in pretty pink or white flowers. I’ve highlighted Cornus kousa here just because it’s the more disease-free cultivar. In late spring, it blooms in pretty white flower bracts, oftentimes covering the entire tree. It’s really a spectacular sight. This near perfect tree adds vibrance to the garden and nicely pays tribute to those you’ve loved. It grows to about 20 feet. Hardy to zone 5.
If you’ve lost a loved one during covid, I wish you peace.
For me, March 11th, 2021 marks the one-year anniversary of our Covid-19 lockdown. At this time last year, my kids were packing for a marching band trip to Ireland that sadly never happened. Schools closed and our lives changed drastically. Though we lost loved ones, they weren’t from Covid but we know several people who’ve lost loved ones from Covid. My friend’s father died. A friend’s bus driver died. A colleague’s mother died. Regardless of how our loved ones died, they died. Most of us are mourning someone. But if we plant trees to remember them, we honor their lives. Here are three trees that are beautiful but small enough to plant in a city garden.
Chandler’s Cypress (Cupressus macrocarpa ‘Chandleri’) grows to 12 feet in an elegant wispy structure. It’s dense and darkly alluring. Also, this conifer is virtually disease-free. In full hot sun, I’d say it’s hardy to zone 8.
Wichita Blue Juniper
Conversely, Wichita Blue Juniper (Juniperus scopularum ‘Wichita Blue’) is hardy down to zone 3. This makes it a great choice for most of the U.S. It’s a tough conifer growing to about 15 feet tall and about 4 feet wide. It has an icy blue color and requires little to no maintenance or pruning. It loves full sun and is virtually disease free.
When I mentioned in my forest bathing article that breathing in a conifer’s essential oils boosted NK cells, I was referring to the oil from a Hinoki Cypress (Chamaecyparis obtusa ‘Gracilis’). This little tree’s slender and lovely, growing in evergreen fans that display a coppery tinge in winter. It’s a graceful tree native to Japan and often used in screening but works as a specimen too. Again, it’s hardy to zone 4 so most anyone in the U.S. can grow it.
If you’ve lost a loved one this year, I wish you comfort and peace.
Photos of Juniper and Hinoki Cypress courtesy of Monrovia.