Stillwater News Press

Local Columnists

May 10, 2014

What’s Blooming 05-11-14

Botanical Garden really taking bloom

The gardens are really taking shape out here at TBG. I look out my office window and I see the hummingbirds fighting at the feeders, cardinals and robins flying through the sprinklers and the white Iris, Storybook Roses and the Narrow Leaf Amsonia blooming.  

Another plant that really stands out in the garden is the Golden Spirit Smoke Tree, Cotinus coggygria ‘Ancot.’

The spectacular foliage emerges a beautiful chartreuse color and then matures to a brilliant gold. In the fall the foliage will turn a coral, orange and red color adding another season of interest. The smoke tree gets its name from the smoke-like plumes of whitish-pink flowers that resemble puffs of smoke. Several plants with chartreuse foliage tend to scorch in the sun; however the Golden Spirit Smoke Tree will not scorch unless conditions are extremely dry.

The Smoke Tree will grow to about eight feet tall by six feet wide; it blooms in the summer and is hardy to zones four to eight.  

The Golden Spirit Smoke Tree was introduced in 1999, and is among the best new shrubs being planted in America. While species of Cotinus are native to North America, this species originated in China and the drier areas of Europe. As with all patented plants, asexual reproduction is prohibited during the life of the patent.

This wonderful tree will provide interest through three seasons so it should be planted as a focal point in the landscape.  

Also, the cut smoke tree blossoms add interest to floral arrangements and have become favored by upscale florists in New York City.

Laura Payne is the volunteer and events coordinator at The Botanic Garden at Oklahoma State University and a field producer for the television program “Oklahoma Gardening.” Email her at laura.payne@ok-state.edu.

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