|The Dancing Tree kicks up her heels and reaches for the sky earlier this November
It has an attractive shape and form that looks lovely on the edge of the wildflower garden. As it ages the branches become irregular and have a beautiful layered grace to them. You just have to look up to see the Dancer in the Tree reaching for the sky while performing a high kick.
It's small, rarely growing taller then 30 feet or so. An easy tree that thrives in the dry mesic soil of my garden. It doesn't mind rocky slopes or ridges; it's very shade tolerate, which makes it a perfect small tree to thrive under larger oaks or pines. I can see it as a specimen along walks, in parks and of course, in a naturalized or woodland garden like mine. Hophornbeam is a native of the eastern half of the US and Canada; including most of the Midwestern states and Texas.
O virginiana (Betulaceae family) has serrated leaves that resemble an elm. The stems are very slender, giving the tree a fine textured appearance during the winter season. The fall foliage turns a most becoming yellow....and when the wind blows they flutter and bounce a golden light around the garden. Sometimes the coppery brown leaves stay the entire winter accenting the textured bark and twisted and knobby trunk.
I find this tree completely charming and recommend it highly for your shady native garden.
It's a gem of a tree!
It's not a picky grower; will tolerate dry shade; and even high winds. It isn't bothered by most insects or fungal diseases. It has both male and female flowers (monoecious), so, it needs no pollinators, just the wind.
|leaves often hang on all winter making it quite striking in a winter garden
In the forests and woodlands, the buds and catkins of Eastern Hophornbeam are important winter food for ruffed grouse, sharp-tailed grouse and wild turkey. It's eaten by bobwhite, red and gray squirrels, cottontails, white-tailed deer and ring-necked pheasant.
Suburban dwellers, like me, will appreciate that it provides food for purple finch, rose-breasted grosbeak and downy woodpeckers. It also is a host plant for the larva of several winter moths.
Small native trees like Hophornbeam might be hard to find, but, they are available. Try an internet search if you haven't a local native plant nursery nearby. Middle Tennessee gardeners can find them at GroWild Nursery.
Welcome to Clay and Limestone and Part 3 of the Thanksgiving week long celebration of wildflowers. It's our annual celebration of the "First Thanksgiving" when colonists celebrated arriving safely in the New World and all across America families and friends gathered for Thanksgiving dinner. It's traditionally a time for appreciating the bounty in our lives.
This year, I am especially grateful for the health and well being of my family; for loving and supportive friends; for rain that finally fell in Middle Tennessee; for wildflowers that bloomed no matter how horrid the weather has been and for the trees that shade my garden and add to the beauty that surrounds our home. Thank you all for joining me all this week to share and celebrate the wonderful wildflowers that live and thrive in our gardens. Remember, it doesn't matter if they are in bloom or not, you can still share them. Please leave a comment and add your name to Mr Linky so others can pop over to see your Wildflower Wednesday post.