Spring-blooming trees are lovely indeed —greeting winter-weary eyes with bright pops of color in an otherwise muted landscape— but summer-blooming trees? I often post about the lack of dog-day focus in garden design —despite the myriad, mid-season options— and the dearth of flowering trees in gardens at this time of year has always puzzled me. Why not add a Japanese Stewartia or two?
Long after the crabapples, cherries and dogwood blossoms have faded to memory, Stewartia pseudocamellia —known as ‘The Summer Camellia’ in Japan— always delights this wilting gardener in July with her refreshing, pure-white flowers. True, I have selected this tree for garden designs many times for her exquisite, autumnal foliage and exfoliating bark alone —but mid-summer blossoms really are the frosting on the cake, and who can ignore this beautiful, vanilla frosting? Hardy in USDA zones 5-8, Stewartia pseudocamellia does best where summer days are hot but nights are mostly cooler. Japanese Stewartia is a slow growing tree with glossy, green foliage and a columnar shape at maturity. Depending upon the specimen and location —Stewartia prefers a somewhat sheltered spot in full sun to part shade and slightly acidic, moist, well-drained soil— it can reach 20-40′.
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