There are many plants that have unique characteristics, often ranging from: flowers, foliage color, and form, but one overlooked feature that is quite interesting is a plant’s bark. The visual, tactile and unique patterning of bark can play an important element to enjoying year-round beauty in your garden.
Especially important in the winter-time, there are some deciduous trees that look just as majestic when they lose their leaves due to their bark color, pattern and uniqueness. Some trees’ bark are as smooth as skin or as dappled as a jigsaw puzzle. Here are some of our favorite bark characteristics that will bring you seasonal beauty.
Redtwig Dogwood (Cornus stolonifera):This upright deciduous shrub can be used as a border/screen plant due to its gorgeous full green leaves. Being a West Coast native, it is highly valued as a habitat plant and often used in restoration projects. This plant shines though is in the winter season after it has lost its leaves when it reveals its brilliant red bark.Picture credits to Flickr user: briweldon
Palo Verde (Parkinsonia sp.):Native to the Southwest, Palo Verdes are truly a sight to behold year round. When it flowers you will see some of the most intense yellow seas of flowers. Once it looses it leaves you are left with a bare frame of chartreuse green bark. Since this is a Southwest plant it thrives in full sun and needs very little water, it makes a great water friendly plant.Picture credits to Flickr user: quinn.anya
European White Birch (Betula pendula):This upright tree with weeping branches is probably known universally for its striking signature white bark. An amazing tree that can be used in all styles of design from contemporary to cottage gardens.
Howard McMinn Manzanita (Arctostapholys ‘Howard McMinn’):A medium to large shrub, the Howard McMinn Manzanita has one of the showiest flowers of the manzanitas. Like many manzanitas this one is a great source of food for hummingbirds in the early spring, but where it differs from the others is in its elegant branching system accompanied with a beautiful smooth reddish bark.Picture credits to Flickr user: ((brian))
Sango Kaku Japanese Maple (Acer palmatum ‘Sango Kaku’):Sango Kaku is one of our favorite Japanese maples. It has amazing fall color leaves that demands your attention as a focal tree in the garden. Green in the summer, fiery orange and reds in the fall, and once all its leaves drop you are left with coral pink/red bark that turns color to a yellow green in the spring when leaves return. AMAZing!
Crape Myrtle (Lagerstroemia sp.):Crape myrtles are great because they have such a large variety of flower colors that range in different hues of white, pink, lavender and red. Its fall color leaves are also splendid. What’s cool about crape myrtles is that they are available in single trunk or multi trunk trees and shrubs. What’s easily an overlooked feature that this tree has is its bark because that too is deciduous and peels off revealing magnificent smooth cinnamon-brown bark
Flaxleaf Paperbark (Melaluca linarifolia.):This evergreen tree is quite a fun tree. It has showy white flowers in the spring and it has a stout trunk covered with thick, tannish bark that deceivingly looks aged and rugged but when you try to feel it you’ll be in for a pleasant surprise. It’s soft to the touch…almost like a sponge.
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