Although I earn a living from K-State here in Manhattan, Kansas (not as a gardener), I have been remiss in not blogging more about the KSU Gardens, just right down the street from my work. In fact, as a volunteer for care of the Ottoway Rose Garden there, I'm in the garden on a weekly basis and I should blog more about this growing botanical display garden and I will occasionally in the future. The KSU Gardens project, if you haven't yet heard about it, is a plan to complete an eventual 19-acre garden that doubles as a public resource to K-State and the surrounding community, and as a teaching laboratory for Horticulture students at the University. It is funded primarily by private donation, garden sponsorship, and through the work of a group known as the Friends of the KSU Garden. Phase II of the Garden project has begun, eventually expanding the current garden to double its size and moving some of the plant collections to more permanent homes.
My prompt for today's blog, however, was seeing the blooming tree pictured at the above right last week in the Gardens. It is a non-commercial redbud sport found locally and given to the Gardens several years back by K-State Professor Emeritus, John Sjo. It made a stunning display this year, the very light pink of the sport set off against the more normal Eastern redbuds that line the front of the old conservatory as it appears on the left side of the picture below. The multistemmed nature of the tree makes a nice architecture point during the winter, but its flowers set it off from the garden during Spring. The Garden's director is talking about cloning and commercially introducing the plant as 'Pink Sjo', which would seem to be an apt name. I hope it comes to past because I'm drooling over a chance to have an offspring of this tree for my own garden.