‘Sweet baby Jesus! Its bloody well about time!’ I can hear the diatribe from here! I have been lusting after the sublime purple leafed Cercis canadensis ‘Forest Pansy’ for years! Seeing the beautiful potted selection in the pages of plantsman Dan Pearson’s delightful tome, ‘Home Ground: Sanctuary in the City’ acted as a catalyst for my reserving one for this coming Spring at Whistling Gardens!
'Forest Pansy' is a purple-leaved cultivar of the popular Missouri native redbud tree. It is a small, deciduous, understory tree with a spreading, flat-to-rounded crown. Can eventually grow to 20-30' tall. Trunk usually divides somewhat close to the ground. Clusters of tiny, rose-purple, pea-like flowers bloom profusely on the branches and mature trunks for 2-3 weeks in early spring (March-April) before the foliage emerges. Flowers tend to be darker and more purplish than the species. Heart-shaped leaves open bright reddish-purple and gradually mature to a more muted purple (or purplish green in hot summer climates). Pendulous, flat, bean-like, 2-4" long seed pods resembling snow peas appear in late spring after flowering. Fall color is variable, but often includes attractive shades of reddish-purple and orange. Redbuds are true harbingers of spring. And I think that I have satiated my appetite for the new, the rare and the unusual….. well at least for this week!