This month’s Plant of the Month is not usually celebrated in July as it is well known for the beauty of its flowers in Spring. However, every other visitor to the Towers this month has asked me about the stunning tree in the car park and so without further ado I bring you…
The Judas Tree is an elegantly spreading small tree, often multi-stemmed like this one. The gorgeous magenta flowers in Spring grow straight from the wood of the branches and are followed by the rich red seed pods which give a second period of splendour in the height of summer. The fact it also has a good buttery yellow autumn colour and with its elegant form even looks good standing naked in the depths of winter make it a fantastic tree all year round. Our specimen is close to fully grown as they reach 30ft/10m tall and so make a good smallish tree, although their spreading nature does mean they dominate their allotted space.
The glaucous heart-shaped leaves are attractive in their own right too, even without the glorious pods dangling beneath:
Although young trees and unripened wood can suffer from frost damage they are fully hardy and both this Cercis siliquastrum and the Cercis ‘Forest Pansy’ we have elsewhere in the garden came through the last winter (which was unusually hard) unscathed. They like a moist but well drained and fertile spot, seeming to be perfectly happy on our Essex clay.
The shade it produces is deep enough that the grass grows weakly beneath it. The perfect spot for a shade bed perhaps?