Landscape Map
Apple Trees Weeping Hemlock London Planetree Sycamore Japanese Tree Lilac European Green Beech Camperdown Elm River Birch Tulip Tree Sweet Gum Shagbark Hickory Umbrella Pine Japanese Cutleaf Maple Copper Beech Star Magnolia Bur Oak Weeping Beech Eastern Larch Ginkgo Austrian Pine Weeping Cherry Horse Chestnut Pink Dogwood Crimean Linden European Linden Blue Atlas Cedar London Planetree Sycamore Black Locust Red Maple Rock Garden Rose Garden Fern Garden

Apple Trees

Malus pumila

The apple tree (Malus pumila) is a deciduous tree in the rose family best known for its sweet, pomaceous fruit, the apple. It is cultivated worldwide as a fruit tree. The tree originated in Central Asia, where its wild ancestor, Malus sieversii, is still found today. Apples have been grown for thousands of years in Asia and Europe, and were brought to North America by European colonists. Apples have religious and mythological significance in many cultures, including Norse, Greek and European Christian traditions.

Apple trees are large if grown from seed, but small if grafted onto roots (rootstock). The leaves are alternately arranged, dark green, simple oval-shaped with a serrated edge, and white to pale pink blossoms develop in the spring at the same time as the budding of the leaves. The 1–1½ inch flowers are five petaled, with an inflorescence consisting of a cyme with 4–6 flowers. The central flower of the inflorescence is called the "king bloom"; it opens first, and can develop a larger fruit, which matures in late summer or autumn.

Apples were introduced to North America by colonists in the 17th century, and the first apple orchard on the North American continent was planted in Boston by Reverend William Blaxton in 1625.

In Norse mythology, the goddess Idunn is portrayed in the Prose Edda (written in the 13th century by Snorri Sturluson) as providing apples to the gods that give them eternal youthfulness. In Greek mythology, the Greek hero Heracles, as a part of his Twelve Labors, was required to travel to the Garden of the Hesperides and pick the golden apples off the Tree of Life growing at its center. Though the forbidden fruit of Eden in the Book of Genesis is not identified, popular Christian tradition has held that it was an apple that Eve coaxed Adam to share with her.

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Weeping Hemlock

Tsuga sieboldii

Weeping hemlock (Tsuga canadensis 'Pendula'), a tall evergreen shrub with languid branches that spread horizontally towards the ground, is a tree that inspires amazement and wonder in anyone who is fortunate enough to see it. Despite the shrub's size, the needles that comprise the dark green foliage have a soft and subtle texture, which makes weeping hemlock ideal as a landscaping accent focal point.

Weeping hemlock attains a height of approximately 10 feet and a canopy width of 20 feet when mature. Weeping hemlocks are native to North America; they grow slowly and have a lifespan of about 50 years.

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London Planetree Sycamore

Platanus acerifolia

Platanus × acerifolia, London plane,[2] London planetree, or hybrid plane, is a tree in the genus Platanus. It is usually thought to be a hybrid of Platanus orientalis (oriental plane) and Platanus occidentalis (American sycamore). Some authorities think that it may be a cultivar of P. orientalis.

The London plane is a large deciduous tree growing 20–30 m (66–98 ft), exceptionally over 40 m (131 ft) tall, with a trunk up to 3 m (10 ft) or more in circumference. The bark is usually pale grey-green, smooth and exfoliating, or buff-brown and not exfoliating. The leaves are thick and stiff-textured, broad, palmately lobed, superficially maple-like, the leaf blade 10–20 cm (4–8 in) long and 12–25 cm (5–10 in) broad, with a petiole 3–10 cm (1–4 in) long. The young leaves in spring are coated with minute, fine, stiff hairs at first, but these wear off and by late summer the leaves are hairless or nearly so. The flowers are borne in one to three (most often two) dense spherical inflorescences on a pendulous stem, with male and female flowers on separate stems. The fruit matures in about 6 months, to 2–3 cm diameter, and comprises a dense spherical cluster of achenes with numerous stiff hairs which aid wind dispersal; the cluster breaks up slowly over the winter to release the numerous 2–3 mm seeds.

It shares many visual similarities with Platanus occidentalis (American sycamore), of which it is derived; however, the two species are relatively easy to distinguish, considering the London plane is almost exclusively planted in urban habitats, while P. occidentalis is most commonly found growing in lowlands and alluvial soils along streams.[3]

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Japanese Tree Lilac

Syringa reticulata

Japanese tree lilac (Syringa reticulata

Japanese tree lilac grows to a height of 20–30 feet; it is the largest species of lilac, and the only one that regularly makes a small tree rather than a shrub. The huge clusters of creamy white flowers, borne in early summer for about two weeks, are the main ornamental feature but lack the fragrance of the spring-blooming lilacs—this lilac’s fragrance is more suggestive of privet. The leaves are medium to dark green, opposite, ovate, with a dull shiny upper surface.

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European Green Beech

Fagus sylvatica

The European (green) beech (Fagus sylvatica) has been described by many experts as the finest specimen tree available. Tree expert Michael Dirr hales it as “so beautiful that it overwhelms one at first glance.”

The European green beech is a large tree, capable of reaching heights of up to 160 feet tall, with trunk diameters of up to 10 feet. It has a typical lifespan of 150–200 years, though sometimes up to 300 years. Like most trees, its form depends on the location: in forest areas, it grows to over 100 feet, with branches being high up on the trunk. In open locations, it tends to be much shorter (typically 50–80 feet) and more massive.

The European beech tree has an unmatched place in history. The beechnuts were food for prehistoric man and are still consumed today. The wood has been employed for centuries for both fire and furniture in Europe. Historians claim that the first written European literature was inscribed on Beech bark in Sanskrit. The English word 'book" comes from the Anglo-Saxon "boc", a derivative for the Anglo-Saxon "beece" or Beech.

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Camperdown Elm

Ulmus glabra ‘Camperdownii’ is a small to medium sized, weeping tree, which is produced by grafting. It is known for its large, dark green leaves and weeping branches that without pruning will reach the ground, and its twisting, crowded branching, which are intolerant to being trained: the branch structure seems to have a mind of its own.

The grafted Camperdown elm slowly develops a broad, flat head that may eventually build as high as 13 feet, and an incommensurately wide crown with a contorted, weeping habit.

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River Birch

Betula nigra

River birch (Betula nigra), also called black birch or water birch, is a species of birch native to the eastern United States from New Hampshire west to southern Minnesota, and south to northern Florida and west to Texas.

As its name suggests, the river birch naturally grows along river banks, in flood plains or swamps. It is a deciduous tree growing to 80–100 feet with a trunk 20–60 inches in diameter, often with multiple trunks. The bark is variable, usually dark gray-brown to pinkish-brown and scaly, but in some individuals, smooth and creamy pinkish-white, exfoliating in curly papery sheets. It has glossy green leaves that are 2–3" long and somewhat triangular. Margins are double-toothed and leaves are arranged alternately.

River birch wood was once used for ox yokes, wooden shoes and other products around the farm. But they were rather disdained by loggers as knotty and spindly, therefore often left to grow along the river bank to control erosion.

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Tulip Tree


Liriodendron tulipifera—known as the tulip tree, American tulip tree, tuliptree, tulip poplar, whitewood, fiddle-tree, and yellow poplar—is a large deciduous trees in the magnolia family. The tulip tree is one of the largest of the native trees of the eastern United States, known to reach the height of up to 190 feet, with a trunk 10 feet in diameter. It blooms in May and June, producing tulip-shaped flowers 1½–2 inches in diameter with greenish-yellow petals and a splash of orange at the base, and its leaves provide vibrant yellow color in the fall.

One can argue about whether the “tulips" are the outline of its leaves or its cup-shaped flowers, but both undoubtedly contributed to the fanciful name given to this tree by early settlers. The tulip tree is still beloved for its beauty today, serving as the state tree of Kentucky, Indiana and Tennessee. It is the tallest of the eastern hardwoods—and a rapid grower when conditions are right.

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Sweet Gum


Sweet gum (Liquidambar styraciflua), also known as American sweetgum—with its star-shaped leaves, neatly compact crown, interesting fruit and twigs with unique corky growths called wings—is an attractive shade tree. It has become a prized specimen in parks, campuses and large yards across the country.

Sweet gum are large, deciduous trees, 60–75 feet tall, with star-shaped leaves with 5 lobes (occasionally 7) that are lustrous medium green in color, toothed along the margins and 4–7½ inches in length, having a pleasant aroma when crushed. They provide brilliant fall color, with leaves turning vibrant shades of yellow, orange, red and purple. The fruit is a long-stemmed, woody, burr-like capsule (popularly called a "gumball"), containing numerous seeds and covered in prickly, woody armatures, possibly to attach to fur of animals. American sweetgum seeds are eaten by eastern goldfinches, purple finches, sparrows, mourning doves, northern bobwhites and wild turkeys. Small mammals such as chipmunks, red squirrels and gray squirrels also enjoy the fruits and seeds.

The earliest known published record of the tree is in a work by Spanish naturalist Francisco Hernández published posthumously in 1651, in which he describes the species as a large tree producing a fragrant gum resembling liquid amber, whence the genus name Liquidambar. However, the first mention of any use of the amber is described by Juan de Grijalva, the nephew of the Govorner of Cuba, in the year 1517. Juan de Grijalva tells of gift exchanges with the Mayas “who presented them with, among other things, hollow reeds of about a span long filled with dried herbs and sweet-smelling liquid amber which, when lighted in the way shown by the natives, diffused an agreeable odour.”

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Shagbark Hickory

Shagbark hickory (Carya ovata) is probably the most distinctive of all the hickories because of its loose-plated bark. It is a common hickory in the eastern United States and southeast Canada. It is a large, deciduous tree, growing well over 100 feet tall, and will live over 350 years.

Mature shagbarks are easy to recognize because, as their name implies, they have shaggy bark. This characteristic is, however, only found on mature trees; young specimens have smooth bark. The leaves are 12–24 inches long, pinnate, with five (rarely three or seven) leaflets.

The shagbark hickory's nut is edible and has a very sweet taste. The nuts are a preferred food of squirrels and are eaten from the time fruits approach maturity in early August until the supply is gone. Hickory nuts also are 5 to 10 percent of the diet of eastern chipmunks. In addition to the mammals above, black bears, gray and red foxes, rabbits, and white-footed mice plus bird species such as mallards, wood ducks, bobwhites, and wild turkey utilize small amounts of hickory nuts.

The word hickory is an aphetic form from earlier pohickory, short for even earlier pokahickory, borrowed from the Virginia Algonquian word pawcohiccora, referring to a milky drink made from ground hickory nuts. Shagbark hickory nuts were a significant food source for the Algonquins.

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Umbrella Pine

Sciadopitys verticillata

Umbrella pine (Sciadopitys verticillata), koyamaki, or Japanese umbrella-pine, is a unique conifer endemic to Japan, and is a living fossil with no close relatives, and known in the fossil record for about 230 million years.

The Japanese umbrella tree gets its common name from the umbrella-like whorls of needles that grow at the ends of the branchlets and branches. Each whorl contains 20-30 soft, flattened, dark green needles (to 5 inches long) that radiate outward in a manner somewhat resembling the ribs of an open umbrella. On a mature specimen, its rich needles compose a sculpture of form, texture, and color that is unrivaled. The foliage develops a bronzy tint in winter. In its native habitat in Japan, this evergreen conifer may grow to 90 feet tall.

It is a very attractive tree and is popular in gardens, despite its slow growth rate. Koyamaki was chosen as the Japanese Imperial crest for Prince Hisahito of Akishino, currently third in line to the Chrysanthemum Throne.

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Japanese Cutleaf Maple

Acer palmatum

One of the loveliest of all the small trees is the group of trees known as Cutleaf Japanese Maples (Acer palmatum). These oriental relatives of our native maples exhibit traits that have been selected by Japanese gardeners and horticulturists for thousands of years. These are the most refined and most delicate of all the maple family.

The Cutleaf Japanese maple gets its name from its deeply cut leaves. The lobes of the leaves are cut to the leaf petiole. Each lobe is finely serrated and each serration is further toothed. This delicate leaf morphology is colored in shades of either green or red and is the most attractive feature of the plant.

Japanese Cutleaf Maple is a deciduous shrub, very small ranging from 3–9 feet in height, often growing as an understory plant in shady woodlands. It may have multiple trunks joining close to the ground.

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Copper Beech

Fagus sylvatica

Copper beeches (Fagus sylvatica f. purpurea), also commonly known as European beech trees, appeared as natural mutants of the common beech in various parts of Europe, as early as the 15th century.

Copper beeches infuse the landscape with larger-than-life visual impact, with deep purple foliage during spring, which changes to a showy copper hue in autumn. Copper beech trees take on a dense, oval to pyramidal shape. Generally growing to heights of 50 to 75 feet with a width of 40 to 60 feet, these trees can reach an ultimate height of 100 feet. The bark is smooth, thin and grey, often with slight horizontal etchings. Twigs are slender and grey but not straight - their shape resembles a zig-zag. Torpedo-shaped leaf buds are coppery and up to 1 inch in length, with a distinctive criss-cross pattern.

Because beech trees live for so long they provide habitats for many deadwood specialists such as hole-nesting birds and wood-boring insects. The bark is often home to a variety of fungi, mosses and lichens.

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Star Magnolia

Magnolia stellata

Star Magnolia (Magnolia stellata,) is a slow-growing shrub or small tree native to Japan. It bears large, showy white or pink flowers in early spring, before its leaves open.

Star magnolias grow 5–8 feet in height, spreading to 15 feet in width at maturity. The tree blooms at a young age, with 3–4 inch flowers covering the bare plant in late winter or early spring before the leaves appear. There is natural variation within the flower color, which varies from white to rich pink; the hue of pink magnolias also changes from year to year, depending on day and night air temperatures prior to and during flowering.

The leaves open bronze-green, turning to deep green as they mature, and yellow before dropping in autumn. They are oblong and about 4 inches long by about an 1½ inches wide.

These magnolias produce a reddish-green, knobby aggregate fruit about 2 inches long that matures and opens in early autumn. Mature fruit opens by slits to reveal orange-red seeds, but the fruits often drop before developing fully.

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Bur Oak

Quercus macrocarpa

The bur oak is a mighty sight to behold. A coarsely textured crown, wild and wooly acorns and a massive trunk with rough and deeply furrowed bark combine to make one impressive tree. But really, those characteristics helped this oak survive the elements of its wide-reaching natural range.

The bur oak (Quercus macrocarpa,)—sometimes spelled burr oak—is native to North America in the eastern and central United States and eastern and central Canada. It is a large deciduous tree growing up to 100 feet in height, and is one of the most massive oaks with a trunk diameter of up to 10 feet. It is slow-growing, and commonly lives to be 200 to 300 years old. The bark is medium gray and somewhat rugged. It features alternating leaves that are 6–12 inches long with 5–9 lobes separated about halfway down by a pair of particularly deep sinuses, and yields acorns that are larger than most others, with a conspicuously fringed cap that extends about halfway down the nut.

In pioneer days on the plains, bur oak came to the rescue of unfortunate travelers who needed new wagon tongues, wheel hubs or spokes. Sioux City, Iowa, is the location of the Council Oak, so named because Lewis and Clark held council with the Native Americans under its already 150-year-old branches.

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Weeping Beech

Fagus sylvatica 'Pendula'

The weeping beech (Fagus sylvatica 'Pendula’) is a cultured variety of the deciduous European beech. It is characterized by sweeping, pendulous branches, typically growing to 50-60 feet tall with a dense, upright-oval to rounded-spreading crown. The stem of the tree may not be visible from a distance due to the presence of the covering weeping branches. Branches may reach the ground and start new roots again.

Leaves of the weeping beech are broad, flat, simple and not lobed. They have smooth margins and alternate. They typically measure 2–4 inches in length. The beechnuts sit in a thin spiny husk and are less than 2 inches in diameter. Weeping beeches may live for 150 to 200 years.

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Eastern Larch

Larix laricina

Larix laricina, also commonly called eastern larch, tamarack, American larch or hackmatack, is a deciduous conifer whose green needles turn a showy yellow in fall before falling to the ground as winter approaches. This is a tree of very cold climates, growing to the tree line across North America. It is native to boggy soils, wet poorly-drained woodlands and some moist upland soils primarily in the boreal forests from central Alaska, Yukon Territories and British Columbia to Newfoundland dipping south to Minnesota, Illinois and Pennsylvania. This is a medium to large sized tree that typically grows to 40-60 feet tall with an open pyramidal shape and horizontal branching.

The bark is tight and flaky, pink, but under flaking bark it can appear reddish. The leaves are needle-like, light blue-green, turning bright yellow before they fall in the autumn, leaving the pale pinkish-brown shoots bare until the next spring. The needles are produced spirally on long shoots and in dense clusters on long woody spur shoots.

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Ginkgo biloba

Ginkgo biloba, known as ginkgo or maidenhair tree, is the only living species in the division Ginkgophyta, all others being extinct. Hailed as “undoubtedly one of the most distinct and beautiful of all deciduous trees,” the ginkgo certainly stands out. Unique, fan-shaped leaves turn a stunning yellow color in the fall.

This tree also comes with a bit of history. It is a living fossil, with the earliest leaf fossils dating from 270 million years ago. Native to China, the tree is widely cultivated and was introduced early to human history. It has various uses in traditional medicine and as a source of food.

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Austrian Pine

Pinus nigra

Austrian Pine (Pinus nigra) is a large coniferous evergreen tree, growing to 66–180 feet high at maturity and spreading to 20–40 feet wide. The bark is grey to yellow-brown, and is widely split by flaking fissures into scaly plates, becoming increasingly fissured with age. Austrian pine is moderately fast growing. It usually has a rounded conic form, that becomes irregular with age. The tree can be long-lived, with some trees over 500 years old.

Birds and squirrels enjoy Austrian pine seeds. The large evergreens also provide shelter and nesting sites, particularly for birds such as owls.

The Austrian pine is a native of Austria, northern Italy and the former Yugoslavia. It was introduced to the United States in 1759. Its forebears were likely worshipped by the Romans over 2000 years ago. Over 217 million Austrian pines were planted during the nation's dust bowl Great Plains Shelterbelt project. The species has thrived for over 200 years in some of the worst soil and climate conditions America has to offer.

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Weeping Cherry

Prunus subhirtella

Weeping cherry (Prunus subhirtella var. pendula) — sometimes also called winter-flowering cherry or Higan cherry — is a small deciduous flowering tree originating in Japan, but unknown in the wild. With their cascading branches that fill with pink blooms, weeping cherries bring a dash of beauty to the garden, putting on a pastel show each spring. After the tree finishes blooming, leaving what looks like a blanket of snow on the ground beneath it, it puts out glossy, dark green serrated leaves that stay glossy green throughout the summer and into the fall when they turn a vivid yellow before leaving the tree bare in winter.

The flowers of the weeping cherry are attractive to bees, butterflies and birds, while the pea-sized fruits attract squirrels and other mammals. The flowers are fragrant and can be used as indoor decorations.

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Horse Chestnut

Aesculus hippocastanum

The horse chestnut (Aesculus hippocastanum), horse-chestnut or conker tree, is an attention-grabbing specimen in the spring. It is one of the first trees to leaf out as the temperatures warm up, and beautiful clusters of white flowers cover the oval to rounded crown in early to mid-May. But the horse-chestnut is more than an ornamental. It also provides great shade in the summer.

The horse chestnut grows up to 118 feet tall, with a domed crown of stout branches; on old trees the outer branches are often pendulous with curled-up tips. The leaves are palmately compound with 5-7 obovate leaflets that are 4–10 inches long and doubly serrated on the margins. The leaf scars left on twigs after the leaves have fallen have a distinctive horseshoe shape, complete with seven "nails." The flowers are produced in beautiful 5–12 inch oblong clusters with a blotch of color at their base that starts yellow and ends reddish.

The fruit is a spiky capsule containing one (rarely two or three) nut-like seeds called conkers or horse-chestnuts. When ripe, each horse-chestnut turns a handsome shiny dark mahogany brown with a round light tan scar. The seeds, especially those that are young and fresh, are slightly poisonous. Although not dangerous to touch, they cause sickness when eaten; consumed by horses, they can cause tremors and lack of coordination. Some mammals, notably deer, are able to break down the toxins and eat them safely. In Britain and Ireland, the seeds are used for the popular children's game conkers.

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Pink Dogwood

Cornus florida

Pink dogwood (Cornus florida var. rubra) is a varietal species of flowering plant native to eastern North America and northern Mexico. It blooms in April and May, with pink bracts that resemble petals radiating cross-like around a compact group of inconspicuous flowers. This tree is considered both a flowering tree and an ornamental tree. It is typically planted for both its visual interest and profusion of spring blooms. In addition to their spring beauty, these trees provide berries for birds in the fall.

The pink dogwood grows to a height of around 25 feet with a spread of around 25 feet at maturity. The leaves are dark green, oval or egg-shaped, tapering to a sharp point. They turn a spectacular red or reddish-purple in the fall.

This species has in the past been used in the production of inks, scarlet dyes, and as a quinine substitute. The hard, dense wood has been used for products such as golf club heads, mallets, wooden rake teeth, tool handles, jeweler’s boxes and butcher’s blocks. Flowering dogwood is the state tree and flower of Virginia, the state tree of Missouri and state flower of North Carolina. It was used to treat dogs with mange, which may be how it got its name.

In 2012, the United States sent 3,000 dogwood saplings to Japan to commemorate the 100 year anniversary of the Washington D.C. cherry trees given as a gift to the U.S. by Japan in 1912.

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Crimean Linden


The Crimean Linden (Tilia x euchlora), is one of several trees of the genus Tilia of the hibiscus, or mallow, family. They are among the most graceful of deciduous trees, with heart-shaped, coarsely toothed leaves; the fragrant flowers of the linden tree hang from the middle of leafy, ribbon-like green bracts in long-stalked clusters. The flowers possess a nectar which attracts bees and produces a strong flavored honey. When this tree is in flower it will be full of bees, hence its common name "Bee Tree." During the three weeks that the Lindens bloom, bees forsake most other flowers. The honey that they make of Linden nectar is white in color, and highly regarded. The flowers when gathered and dried can be used to make tea. Linden flowers are used in the manufacture of perfumes.

When the flowers go to seed they form small nutlets that contain 1 or 2 seeds each, clustered beneath large leafy wing bracts that act as parachutes. The fruits are woody and about the size of peas. The leaves are heart-shaped, 2-3 inches long.

Linden wood is soft and creamy, and it is much favored by woodcarvers because of its workability (it is said to "cut like cheese") and its even grain. In past centuries it was used to make ship's figureheads and cigar-store Indians. Today it is used for broom handles, beehive frames, piano sounding boards and certain parts of guitars.

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European Linden


European Linden (Tilia × europaea) are deciduous, broadleaf, perennial hybrid trees that grow widely throughout Europe and the United States. Also called European lime, common lime and common linden, these trees are a naturally occurring cross between bigleaf (Tilia platyphyllos) and littleleaf (Tilia cordata) lindens. Despite their common name, they are no relation to the fruit-bearing citrus tree that yields limes. European linden trees are often planted as shade or street trees, and are valued for their showy display of late springtime blossoms.

European linden trees are slow-growing trees that usually reach heights of 50–70 feet, but can occasionally grow as tall as 120 feet, sometimes taking as long as 50 years to reach their mature height. These trees have a columnar form, rough green or grayish-brown bark, and heart-shaped, deep green leaves with rough, serrated margins and pointed tips. The leaves are found in two rows. They are 2-4 inches long and wide.

Drooping clusters of heavily scented, pale yellow blossoms appear in late spring. Small, winged green nutlets, which change to brown as they ripen during late summer, replace the flowers. European linden's fall foliage color ranges from pale green to yellow or orange depending upon location.

One long-lived example was the "Malmvik lime", planted as a sapling near the Malmvik Manor in Stockholm, Sweden in 1618. The tree existed for 381 years until the last part of the tree fell in a storm in 1999. The UK champion is at Aysgarth, Yorkshire, measuring 85 feet in height in 2009.

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Blue Atlas Cedar

Cedrus atlantica

The Atlas cedar (Cedrus atlantica), one of the true cedars, is named for its native range, the Atlas Mountains of Algeria and Morocco. Blue Atlas (Cedrus atlantica ‘Glauca’) is among the most popular cedar cultivars in this country, with its beautiful powdery blue needles. In winter the Atlas cedar is most striking. Its elegant limbs are open, almost horizontal, and bear patchy clusters of stiff green or blue-green needles.

Fully grown, Atlas cedar is a large coniferous evergreen tree, 100–110 feet tall. It is very similar in all characters to the other varieties of Lebanon cedar; differences are hard to discern.

An Atlas cedar is planted at the White House South Lawn in Washington, DC. President Carter ordered a tree house built within the cedar for his daughter Amy. The wooden structure was designed by the President himself, and is self-supporting so as not to cause damage to the tree.

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London Planetree Sycamore

Platanus acerifolia

London planetree (Platanus × acerifolia), London plane, or hybrid plane, is usually thought to be a hybrid of oriental plane and American sycamore. The original cross may have occurred as early as the 1640s, after which this tree became widely planted in London and other major European cities because of its perceived tolerance for urban pollution. City planting spread to America where this hybrid today is common in such distant locations as Brooklyn, New York and San Francisco, California.

The London planeetree is a large deciduous tree growing 75–100 feet with a trunk up to 10 feet in circumference. It develops a mottled bark with red-brown scales that flake to reveal green, white and creamy yellow, with large leaves up to 7 inches long and 10 inches wide that are sparingly toothed along the edges. They somewhat resemble the leaves of black, sugar and red maples. The fruit matures in pendulous ball-like clusters of tightly packed seed approximately 1 inch in diameter. The pendant seed balls are used by purple finches, goldfinches and squirrels.

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Black Locust

Robinia pseudoacacia

Black locust (Robinia pseudoacacia) is a medium sized deciduous tree native to the southeastern United States. The name ‘locust’ is said to have been given by Jesuit missionaries, who fancied that this was the tree that supported St. John in the wilderness, but it is native only to North America.

Black locust reaches a typical height of 40–100 feet with a diameter of 2–4 feet. It is a very upright tree with a straight trunk and narrow crown which grows scraggly with age. The dark blue-green compound leaves with a contrasting lighter underside give this tree a beautiful appearance in the wind and contribute to its grace.

In the early summer black locust flowers; the flowers are large and appear in intensely fragrant clusters (reminiscent of orange blossoms). Bees are attracted to the flowers. Flowers are followed by smooth, flat, purple-brown seed pods 4–5 inches long.

The leaves are compound, meaning that each leaf contains many smaller leaf-like structures called leaflets. The leaves are alternately arranged on the stem. Each leaf is 6–14 inches long and contains 9–19 leaflets, each being 1–2 inches long. The leaflets fold together in wet weather and at night (nyctinasty) as some change of position at night is a habit of the entire leguminous (pea) family.

When growing in sandy areas this plant can enrich the soil by means of its nitrogen-fixing nodules, allowing other species to move in. On sandy soils black locust may also often replace other vegetation which cannot fix nitrogen.

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Red Maple

Acer rubrum

Red maple (Acer rubrum), also known as swamp, water or soft maple, is one of the best named of all trees, featuring something red in each of the seasons—buds in winter, flowers in spring, leafstalks in summer, and brilliant foliage in autumn. It is one of the most common and widespread deciduous trees of eastern and central North America: the natural range of red maple begins roughly at the eastern edge of the Great Plains north to Lake Superior, extending eastward to the Atlantic.

At maturity the red maple attains a height of around 40–60 feet. Its flowers, petioles, twigs and seeds are all red to varying degrees. It features simple, medium to dark green leaves 2–6 inches in length with 3 or 5 lobes and sinuses that are irregularly toothed, but it is best known for its brilliant deep scarlet foliage in autumn.

The fruits of the red maple (samaras) provide food for squirrels and many other rodents. Rabbits and deer eat the tender shoots and leaves of red maples.

It is the state tree of Rhode Island. No one seems to know the whole story of why it was selected by the citizens of this smallest of states. In the 1890s, a Rhode Island school commissioner gave students a list of trees and asked them to vote on their favorite. Red maple won, but it was not officially adopted as the state tree until 1964—making Rhode Island one of last states in the nation to proclaim its tree. The selection may have been because the name Rhode Island is from the Dutch, meaning “red island.” Since the state bird is the Rhode Island red hen, it makes sense that the tree would be one noted for this color.

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Rock Garden

The Rock Garden features alpine plants and other low-growing perennials and shrubs. The garden was first installed in 2001. Drainage for the plants was achieved by building up the site with several truckloads of topsoil, coarse sand, and gravel. Large rocks from the surrounding woods hold the raised bed in place.

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Rose Garden

The circular rose garden was planted in 1911. These kinds of elaborate, large-scale rose garden became popular in America in the early 20th century when they started to appear in the country estates of New York and Connecticut’s elite, and in public gardens across the region. It was designed in concentric circles and it originally contained only shades of pink roses. Today the garden contains some 500 roses, with the oldest types found in the outer circle of beds.


Fern Garden

The fern garden was established by Mangold for George Merritt, and planted in the shade of a larch grove; this was replanted in the early 1970s with river birch edged with Norway spruce. Merritt placed benches among the trees in several places on the grounds, which Gould retained.