By Deb Courtner
Special occasions call for the creation of memories. What better way to commemorate a graduation, wedding, birth, anniversary, housewarming, holiday or other significant event than by planting or donating a carefully selected plant to be enjoyed year after year? Alternatively, plants are a deeply meaningful way to pay tribute to the life of a loved one or cherished pet who has passed on.
Flowering trees that convey caring include Autumn Brilliance serviceberry, with its fluffy white blooms, June berries and fabulous fall
color; the fruitless Spring Snow crabapple, with its fragrant white blossoms; Fringe Tree, with its distinctive, fragrant, hanging white flowers that look just like the tree’s name; Eastern Redbud, with its deep pink blossoms set against gray bark; or Hawthorn, with its spring/early summer flower clusters, dark red berries, and impressive autumn foliage. If you like trees with colorful leaves all season long, consider a Japanese maple in well-protected locations, or Purple Smoke Tree. If you prefer an evergreen, take a look at the dwarf Alberta spruce, with its compact, conical form, which will fit into almost any garden.
As for shrubs, options include the semi-evergreen Carol Mackie Daphne, with its tiny, sweet-smelling pink blooms and variegated leaves; Tiger Eyes sumac, with its lacy chartreuse foliage, red stems and unparalleled fall color; butterfly bushes, with their heady scent and summer-long blooms; Hedge cotoneaster, with its shiny green leaves, black fruit and outstanding orange fall foliage; viburnums, with their full blossoms, ornamental fruit and pleasing autumn leaves; weigela, with their outrageously showy pink, purple or white flowers; and, of course, many varieties of roses.
Also, keep in mind that Fort Collins Nursery offers delivery and planting services for its trees and shrubs, and a one year satisfaction guarantee.
When selecting a plant for yourself or for a recipient, there are several factors to consider:
- Where will the plant be installed? If the plant is a shrub to memorialize a pet, for instance, you might consider planting it in your pet’s favorite resting place.
- How much room is available for the plant as it matures?
- What are the growing conditions (sun, soil type, water) in the garden where the plant will be installed?
- If you’re looking for a flowering plant, do you want it to bloom at a particular time of year in honor of a special event?
- What are favorite colors or fragrances of yours, the recipient or the memorialized individual?
- Would you like a plant that symbolizes a particular virtue? For example, red roses, hibiscus and wisteria symbolize love, whereas an oak tree represents strength and endurance.
- Do you want a plant with a name similar to that of a recipient? Examples include daphne, holly, and rose of Sharon with its feminine-named cultivars. Or do you want a plant that has a name relating to the event, such as Peace rose or Livin’ Easy rose?
The staff at Fort Collins Nursery will be happy to help you choose a suitable plant for your special occasion.
Deb Courtner is a garden designer and writer who creates low-maintenance environments for busy homeowners. She owns and operates Blossoms and Blueprints, LLC, a design and consulting firm in Fort Collins, Colorado.