It was two weeks ago, when we were still enjoying mid 50-60F weather, that I looked out to my woodland garden on the side of the house and saw what I thought were some white blossoms on a tree. It’s probably just wishful thinking, I said to myself. I meandered out there anyway, with my camera in hand: as a gardener, forever hopeful. And lo and behold, I couldn’t believe it. My dove tree was in bloom.
For those of you who have never seen a dove tree, also commonly known as Handkerchief or Ghost tree, Davidia involucrata is a glorious sight in bloom. In late spring, it produces pendent shaped white flowers. And yes, the blooms do look like doves or handkerchiefs.
I bought and planted this dove tree, which I ordered from Gossler Farms Nursery, www.gosslerfarms.com, 10 years ago. I was told it was going to take several years before it bloomed. And it did. But boy, was it worth the wait! This sweetheart of a tree sits on the edge of a woodland where it receives partial shade. No special attention was given to the soil nor did I shelter it from the wind which was suggested. And it still has given me a miraculous fall bloom.
On my daily walks at Haverford College, I’ve been taking note of the flowers still in bloom, along with the splendor of fall on this small college campus. Haverford College is a magnificent place where all of us nature and dog lovers congregate on a trail which circles the perimeter of the campus. Parts of the trail meander through woodlands where you can have encounters with nature at its best. And if you’re lucky, you may stumble upon the work of some little fairies.
This planting of cleome, echinacea and aconitum serves as a reminder that what I would consider to be a later summer/early fall planting can bring immense pleasure to the soul when witnessed in late October.