Although the highly anticipated white dogwood blooms (stars of Dogwood Arts Festival 2015) are making progress, they’re still in the half-open, pale green stage. Lovely, but not in full bloom. That’s just the way it is here in East Tennessee. You’re blessed with redbuds sporting their characteristic purplish blooms first. And then the dogwood show begins.
We usually catch our first sight of redbuds as we’re driving along the interstate — their wispy, pinkish branches poking out among the new green of trees along I-40. But because we’ve lived in Knoxville since 1963 and have traversed every Dogwood Trail in the city, we’ve always associated the South Knoxville Trail, this year’s featured trail, with a profusion of redbuds.
I headed out to what I thought would be the mother lode — Red Bud Road — not far off Chapman Highway. But either I was too late to catch the show in a subdivision usually robed in purplish pink at festival time, or something has happened to the redbuds this year. They just weren’t open for viewing.
My best bet for viewing full finery actually appeared on the high-traffic corridors. So back to Chapman Highway for a stunning tree at Berry Funeral Home, winner of a city Beautification Award.
Another old, old tree stood proudly beside the former Kern’s Bakery building (now empty) which has recently been purchased. (Renovation — and an exciting new venue — is coming, I’m told.)
It was not until I headed home detouring through Sequoyah Hills down Cherokee Boulevard that I spotted these prime redbud trees lining the walking path.
So I pulled over to photograph the rows of redbuds on the trail and this tree, centerpiece of a lovely garden spot in front of a historic home.
No wonder people love early-blooming redbud trees. For color, stateliness, and delicate (albeit ephemeral) blooms, redbuds make elegant additions to any landscape. And for us, they herald the coming of spring with the festival’s signature dogwoods right behind.
Just another reason to visit Knoxville at Dogwood Arts Festival time. But come early. Redbuds are ready.
For more information:
Dogwood Arts Festival: http://www.dogwoodarts.com/
“Cercis canadensis, eastern redbud.” Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cercis_canadensis