Smithsonian Gardens Celebrates Arbor Day 2013
This year, Smithsonian Gardens is pleased to be hosting its second annual Arbor Day Tree Planting Celebration! Although we have a great diversity of tree species here at the Smithsonian, we are always looking to add more to diversify our collection. There are many wonderful exotic, non-invasive species that are well-suited to the growing environment in the Washington, DC area. However, we are currently concentrating on adding more native tree species. This year, we have chosen two different natives to plant.
Carolina Silverbell (Halesia tetraptera)
Carolina Silverbell is a native hardwood understory tree that is typically found along slopes and streams in ravines in hardwood forests. They favor north and east-facing aspects with moist, well-drained acidic loam soils. They thrive in full and partial shade and have a core range in the southern Appalachian Mountains, but stretch as far as eastern Oklahoma, northern Florida, and southern Illinois. This tree typically grows to be 30-40 feet, but can grow as high as 80 feet. Its primary feature is beautifully bell-shaped white flowers that hang in clusters and are borne in the spring.
White Fringe Tree (Chionanthus virginicus)
The White Fringe Tree is another native hardwood tree that is found in its natural range which stretches from southern New Jersey to Florida, west to Texas. The species is very variable, and no two trees seem to be alike in all characteristics. The Fringe Tree can grow in a variety of conditions, and is cold hardy to minus 30 degrees Fahrenheit. As with the Carolina Silverbell, this tree’s most striking feature is the flowers. Six to eight-inch fleecy white, fragrant flowers appear in May and June and make this a beautiful addition to the landscape.
On Arbor Day, Friday April 26, we will be having two tree plantings. The White Fringe Tree will be planted at the Anacostia Community Museum, and the Carolina Silverbell will be planted at the National Museum of Air and Space, on the south side of the building adjacent to the observatory. The Smithsonian Gardens’ Arborist and other horticulture staff will be on hand at the Air and Space event to demonstrate proper tree planting techniques and to answer questions. The planting will take place at noon. We hope you can join us!
-Greg Huse, Smithsonian Gardens Arborist