Here are a few tips on trees for your Maytime garden from Thornhayes Nursery:
No consideration of ornamental trees for May would be complete without a mention of the genus Crataegus. This obviously includes our native Hawthorn Crataegus monogyna but also includes various Old World and New World species. Generally with the exception of some cultivars of Crataegus laevigata they have single white flowers, but in profusion, starting during May and continuing in to June in some species. In terms of size they vary from such species as Crataegus schradereana growing to about 12–15 feet up to Crataegus x grignoniensis to about 30 feet. The former has deeply cut silvery leaves and red black fruits and the latter is a glossy semi-evergreen with persistent red fruits. One of the justifiably popular Hawthorns is Crataegus persimilis prunifolia growing to about 20 feet with masses of white blossom, red fruits (much beloved of fieldfares) and gold autumn leaves.
May is also the time for many of the Crabs to flower. The earlier forms start off in April, but May has such beauties to offer as the scented pure white blossom of Malus baccata mandshurica and M. hupehensis.
The flowering cornels of the genus Cornus are a treat for May. White, pink or red bracts then persist through much of the summer often giving way to strawberry-like fruits and fiery autumn leaves. These include such beauties as Cornus kousa chinensis and Cornus ‘Eddies White Wonder’, but also some of the newer American hybrids, such as Cornus florida ‘Cherokee Brave’, which has red bracts and red young growth.
Whilst the weather pattern this year is messing up a lot of flowering times, late April in to May is generally the time to appreciate Cercis in flower. The common Judas Tree Cercis siliquastrum has magenta pink pea blossom in abundance along its bare branches. There is a darker form C. s. ‘Bodnant’and also white-flowered forms to consider, plus the striking C. chinensis ‘Avondale’. Also, although grown primarily for its purple foliage, C. canadensis ‘Forest Pansy’ has purply pink flowers, whilst C. canadensis ‘Appalachian Red’ is a new introduction with red flowers.
Find out more at Thirnhayes’ website.