ShadyGardens Blog

August 24, 2008

Gordonia – Loblolly Bay: Evergreen Native Tree for Wet Soil

Filed under: Gordonia, Loblolly Bay, native, native plant, native tree white bloom, tree — shadygardens @ 1:23 pm

Loblolly bay, an American native plant, is an attractive evergreen tree with large white flowers about 3 inches across, appearing late spring into early fall!
Much easier to grow than its cousin, the Franklinia Tree, Gordonia is long-lived, as long as regular water is received.
The white blossoms begin as a white ball-shaped bud and open into a lovely 5-petaled bloom with a golden yellow center. The fragrant blooms attract many insect species.

Gordonia lasianthus will reach up to 60 feet tall at maturity. It is native to the Southeastern United States and is found in swamps, bogs, and wet woods. Loblolly Bay is the common name for this tree. It will grow well in any garden as long as regular water can be given.

Hardy in USDA Zones 7-9, Gordonia withstands temperatures down into the teens for short periods of time.
The white fragrant blooms resembling camellia blossoms appear sporadically all summer, attracting many pollinators to the garden.
The Gordonia or Loblolly Bay Tree cannot survive drought so water well in the absence of rainfall.
This rare native tree can be purchased directly from Shady Gardens Nursery.

April 20, 2008

American Fringe Tree Chionanthus Virginicus

Whether you know it as American Fringe Tree, Old Man’s Beard, Grancy Gray Beard, or the common name given it by the British, Grandsir Graybeard (which is probably why some of us call it ‘Grancy’ Graybeard), Chionanthus Virginicus is one of the loveliest of all American native trees. Just looking at it takes my breath away. Easy to grow but difficult to find in local nurseries, Grancy Graybeard should be in every garden, native or not. This tree is drought tolerant and blooms in early spring. Blooms last up to a month, but the beauty lasts all season. Rich green elongated leaves stay beautiful all summer and are not bothered by pests. Even during winter when naked, the American Fringe is still very interesting. You can see for yourself the lovely ‘puffy’ white cloud-like blooms on the trees I saw as I passed through Shawmut, Alabama, in early April, 2008. As you can see, Chionanthus Virginicus grows well in full sun, but usually occurs naturally at the edge of woodlands. A very versatile plant, Grancy Graybeard is ideal for any garden. For more information on where to find this delightful tree, visit

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