A month or two ago, I decided to take out my Japanese Snowbell. But, not until after flowering. The heavenly scent that envelops the neighborhood when it does, is marvelous! Of course, now that it is in full, exuberant bloom, I’m again waffling on my decision. It’s not that I don’t like the tree, but it was planted by the former owner in such a wonky spot. He told us he had wanted a “shade tree” – which kind of made me laugh. Shade trees are big things – like Chestnuts, Oaks or Elms, with massive trunks and canopies – not dinky little 25′ ornamentals. But still – he was somewhat right. I bet, at its current height, it really does provide some shelter from the southern sun, even if this cooling effect will never, ever truly affect our second story – especially on a 100F + day like today. Anyway, where it currently is, it takes up a lot of room, as it was planted on the centerline of the backyard, about two-thirds down from the property line toward the house. I should have moved it when I still had a chance. Maybe I’ll just compromise a little, and trim it up some.
It rarely snows in Portland, but in my garden, pretty white stuff covers the floor twice, in rather quick succession in spring. First, the bracts of the row of Viburnums along the west side fence, layer the ground and everything on it. A few weeks later, it’s the Snowbell’s turn to blanket the world with flowers.
Sure, the little white flowers might look a little messy – especially as they start to shrivel. But it’s a nice kind of messy. The real pain comes later, when the tree drops all its fruits. They are hard to rake up as they are about the size of, and roll around like pea gravel. But, if you fail to remove them, you will have armies of seedlings the following spring. This is where I usually go wrong. Seeing all those little starts carpeting the beds in spring is daunting – there are so many better ways to spend a few hours in the garden than pulling those infernal little things! Maybe I need to invest in one of those leaf vacuum things…?