Fashionably early, as only Mother Nature knows how

Early last week, I walked out of the front door and saw my Ford Ranger covered in white petals fallen from the crabapple (Malus sp.) that forms an umbrella over my spot in the driveway. My filthy silver pickup looked as if it were decorated for a wedding parade. But then it struck me that it was far too early in spring to be wearing white. What would the fashionistas say about wearing white before Memorial Day?

But as I thought about it, I realized that Mother Nature is blissfully unaware of this seasonal etiquette, or she’s once again decided to shun the shackles of human constraint and rebel to her heart’s content. Whatever the case, when it comes to woody ornamentals, the dominant spring fashion has been cascading clusters of white.

As I’ve photographed my home garden, the University of Illinois campus, the Illinois Arboretum and the Missouri Botanical Garden this spring, my lens has found white in all shapes, textures and sizes.

Crataegus mollis (Downy Hawthorn)


Spiraea flexuosa 


Spiraea prunifolia (Bridalwreath Spirea)


Exochorda racemosa (Pearlbush)


Cornus sericea (Red-Twig Dogwood)
Prunus avium ‘Lapins’ (Bird Cherry)


Magnolia denudata (Yulan Magnolia)


Magnolia stellata (Star Magnolia)


Prunus salicina (Japanese Plum)


Spiraea thunbergii


Prunus serrulata (Japanese Flowering Cherry)


Pyrus calleryana ‘Bradford’ (Bradford Pear)


Viburnum sp.


Cornus florida (Dogwood)


Malus sp. (Crabapple)

Published by Christopher Tidrick

Be real. Love always. Share beauty. Lead well. Learn more.


  1. What a striking post, and such a relief from all the raucous pinks in spring. I am hearing wedding bells! These photos show nature's beautiful, pure, pristine sense of elegance. (I have to go out now and really look at my redtwig dogwood blooms… I always think of them as nondescript and non-showy, but your closeup is a stunner.)



  2. Beautiful! Thanks for sharing all these beautiful white flowers! I do have some of these in my garden but a lot are small and don't produce a lot of blooms yet – like my Star Magnolia. I'm also picking up a white dogwood tomorrow!



  3. Just the kind of snowflakes I'm looking forward to seeing. Preferably, sometime in this century. (Or that's how it feels this winter.)



  4. These are beautiful, Chris! Your own photography I assume?

    We have a great new Spiraea thunbergii you may not have seen yet. It was only recently added to the Garden Debut® collection. It's called Gold Thread™ and it not only features these lovely white flowers in spring, but it's fall foliage is a brilliant red-orange color. Check it out:



  5. Helen, they'll be here soon. 🙂



  6. Briana, yes they're my photos although not all in my garden.

    I'm not a huge fan of white flowers on chartreuse foliage, but the fall color looks great. Thanks for the suggestion!



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