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How funny to see the difference between what's over-used where! I just ranted about river-birch and paperbark maple recently. ( A surfeit of serviceberry would be a welcome problem! (And a tasty one.)

I disagree about pollarding Catalpas. Native to the US (the Paulownia, which I’ve also heard called the Princess tree, is not), I like the Catalpa very much in smaller yards precisely because there is no need to prune. It holds a very slender form, like a sourwood: tall and narrow. The blossoms are lovely on the tree and even better to look at close up- lots of fine detailing in them, and children get a kick out of the long slender “cigar-bean” seed pods.

I do like Parrotia very much- there aren’t many such elegant, low branching small trees around- but it has relatives native to the east coast of the US (where I grew up), the witch hazels, and I try to use those either instead of or with the Parrotia whenever possible. Witch hazels are multi-stemmed and do so well in wet settings; I can create a nice rhythm around a yard with a witch hazel in a soggy spot and then a Parrotia somewhere drier. The leaves are very similar in size and shape, and the flowers come in just about together: the Parrotia’s are red and the witch hazel’s normally yellow, though there are red cultivars out now.

We have some lovely but tender magnolia varieties here, and a number of folks are partial to the spring blooming Camellia. I battle the late-frost blossom kill by putting these plants on the north and east sides of the house, where it will warm up last. By the time the north side of the house is warm enough to be budding out, the ambient air temperatures have risen enough that late-frosts are pretty much over. More blooms, fewer dead brown cabbage-y things.

A tree is one of big factor of having a good garden. Trees can help us in breathing fresh air and replenish our mind and body. Also we can also see the beauty of nature because of a tree.

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