The Friends of Madison County Library has undertaken a long term project to create environmentall sensitive and sustainable gardens and landscapes on the grounds of the Madison County Public Libraries for the general public's education, use, and enjoyment. The vision for this project would be accomplished by fostering land and water stewardship through environmentally friendly garden designs and maintenance and associated educational programs on the library grounds. As part of the project, two plants, a native and an invasive, will be chosen to be highlighted each month in all library branches. Look for the displays of the plants and information that you can read and use.
April 2013 Native Plant of the Month: Eastern Redbud Cercis CanadensisThe lovely Eastern redbud is a native perennial, deciduous tree or shrub. When planted in shade, it grows dense and round, reaching about 15 ft. tall but in full sun has an open, taller form, growing up to 30 feet.
Eastern redbud is a strikingly conspicuous tree in the spring because it produces thousands of pink to lilac before most other trees. The wood is heavy, hard, and close-grained, but because of the small size and irregular shape of the tree it is of no commercial value as a source of lumber. This tree is most valued as an ornamental and is extensively planted. The heart-shaped leaves are easily recognized and add to the beauty of the flowers.
In the forest understory in moist rich woods, it is commonly found along the banks of streams, in ravines, on bluffs, in open rocky woods, and abandoned farmlands.
The tree is very graceful with arching branches that look lovely as a single plant, in groupings, and in shrub borders. They do well in soils of moderate to low fertility and are very drought resistant.
The seeds have very hard seed coats that require both chilling and scarification for germination, unless planted in the fall. Cuttings are difficult to root. Mature plants do not transplant well so buy young plants that are balled and burlapped or container grown. Transplant the plants in the spring or fall, in well-drained soils in sun to part shade.