One of the most important parts of the design is the entrance, the trees lining the driveway on the way to the house. They lead the eye…and the car…and the mind. And, especially when underplanted with large shrubs, slightly screen the garden from view so the garden beyond becomes a series of surprises.
I started out wanting Hawthornes, a life-long dream, but was persuaded not to use them as they are subject to, and co-host, Cedar-Hawthorne disease and the co-host Red Cedars are native here and ubiquitous. So I spent a lot of time trying to find my next choice, the single-flowering Cherry, Sargent Cherry, Prunus sargentii. However it does not seem to be available here and I’m told that Cherries generally don’t do well in this climate.
Finally, after a lot of anguish (yes, this is the kind of thing that gives a garden designer sleepless nights!) and a lot of suggestions from a lot of people, one suggestion “took”. Dennis Patton, the always helpful Horticulture Agent at Johnson County Extension (www.johnson.ksu.edu) suggested Kohlreuteria, the Golden Rain Tree.
It is the right size. Has a handsome shape. Beautiful yellow flowers drop to the ground like “rain” – therefore the Golden Rain Tree — leaving straw colored seedheads that persist. And it is likely to be successful here; it actually likes the soil and climate.
We put in twelve of them last month and so far ten are blooming and beginning to do their job.