One of our native Rhododendrons growing above a carpet of Phacelia bipinnatifida. The white flowering tree in the far right is a Silver Bell, Halesia carolina.
Here we have a similar scene only the Silver Bell Tree, we have Red Buckeye, Aesculus pavia.
Native Rhododendrons tend to be deciduous or semi evergreen bushes. All the Asian imports tend to be full evergreen or semi at least.
The flowers come in a range of shapes and colors and they are often scented.
I never understood why no one plants the yellow orange variety. It's our native Flame Azalea, Rhododendron calendulaceum. Of all the Asian imports none of them are yellow or orange in color. No, instead they're all white, red, magenta, and combinations there of. Some recent cultivars have come out as orange but they're still Asian imports.
On a good year it's the most eye catching plant in the forest.
Even when planted along side other Rhododendrons it has a way of drawing your eye.
If you don't agree, well our natives come in the classic pink and red. One variety that I didn't get a picture of had enormous flower clusters the side of my head on it.
Silver Bells, Halesia carolina, was one native I didn't understand. Flowers that point down just don't appeal to me. But seeing it here and in full bloom has me coming around to it.
This tree gets 30' tall about and having all those flowers looking down at you is kind of fun and different. So many trees aim up and away it's a nice change.
I'd herd people suggest Red Buckeye as a hummingbird tree but I had no idea that it flowered this young! This is a 4' tall sapling and it had a cluster of brilliant red flowers already.
They don't have to get big to be pretty either.
They get nice and tall too. They're pollinated by hummingbirds and I imagen certain butterflies too. I don't think any of which are particularly common or easy to attract without years of devotion though. Having a nectar source like this tree would make the process easier though.
To be continued...