This my latest attempt --- Cercis canadensis 'Forest Pansy' and I am so excited to see the first tentative pink blooms opening. I planted it last summer, so this is the first time I am seeing it flower.
It is the purple-leaved variety, and the leaves are a striking, very deep wine color in spring and early summer. Here it was last summer.
What happened to the other four redbuds I tried to grow?
Well, there was an earlier 'Forest Pansy', planted in this exact same spot, but it was decapitated in a snowstorm its first year. The following spring it made a valiant effort to carry on, and the foot high stub of the remaining stump tried to bloom, but it didn't make it.
Then there was Cercis candensis 'Silver Cloud' with variegated white and green leaves, but it refused to come back after its first winter. I learned from other gardeners that it is not a robust cultivar. It wants just exactly the right amount of partial shade and just the right amount of water and it apparently didn't trust me to provide either.
My one success, until I lost it, was Cercis reniformis 'Oklahoma'. It was a spectacular tree, and I had it for five years before a freak October snowstorm in 2011 took it down.
It was most beautiful in bloom, in late April, just outside the bedroom window.
After blooming on bare wood in early spring, 'Oklahoma' would fill out with glossy heart shaped leaves. It had become a shapely round headed tree, just the right size and a pleasing form.
But this was the last I saw of it after a too-early wet snow hit before the leaves had fallen:
And there was another redbud that I lost. It was one of those 10 free bare root seedlings that comes in an envelope in the mailbox when you donate to Arbor Day. It was about seven inches tall when I planted it in 2006, and six years later it was a sizable young tree. This was a species Cercis canadensis, not a fancy cultivar. I put it out in the meadow, where it got no special attention, and it grew into a multi-stemmed wild child. It did great. Then last year it died.
So, four failures, and here I go again with my hopes rising for my newest 'Forest Pansy' redbud as it opens its pink flowers this May and promises wine red leaves for summer.