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Garden Photo of the Day

Bark Beauty

Taking a close look at an overlooked feature

Japanese stewartia (Stewartia pseudocamilia, Zones 5 - 8)

Erika Shank, of Amagansett, New York, submitted a series of wonderful photos of bark on trees and shrubs. They are beautiful images, and a reminder to stop, look carefully, and enjoy the details we sometimes overlook.

Pitch pine (Pinus rigida, zones 4 – 7)
English yew (Taxus bachatta, Zones 5 -7) with variegated wintercreeper (Euonymus fortunei Zones 4 – 9)
Fragrant snowbell (Styrax obassia, Zones 6 – 8)
Ukon flowering cherry (Prunus serrulata ‘Ukon’) with beautiful bark complemented by lichen and snow.
View Comments


  1. User avater
    Priscilla King 02/05/2018

    Lovely textures all, but the Styrax obassia is really stunning, especially as it frames the large buxus and path. And I've always loved the bark on pitch pines. They look so "meaty"! Thanks for the submission.

  2. user-6896762 02/05/2018

    The patterns of bark are fascinating. I enjoyed theses images!

  3. flowerladydi 02/05/2018

    Beautiful!!! I am a sucker for bark!, it is fascinating!

  4. User avater
    Kevin Kelly 02/05/2018

    Good morning, Erika. Great photos. I am also a fan of interesting bark. Winter is a great time for these plants to show off their stuff. Thanks for sharing.

    Anyone interested in additional photos of cool bark, search the FG GPOD blog under my name for a post titled Winter Bark from 2 years ago. You will see some additional beauties to complement the great photos shown here today.

    1. Maggieat11 02/05/2018

      Ericka, your photos are lovely! I am looking forward to seeing my River Birch and Paperbark Maple mature and show off their gorgeous bark as well. Thank you for sharing!

    2. Maggieat11 02/05/2018

      Thanks, Kevin. A good "re-view" of your great photos!

    3. User avater
      meander1 (Michaele ) 02/05/2018

      I really enjoyed revisiting those pictures of yours, Kevin and the Quercus palustris ‘Green Pillar’ remains quite interesting to me. I have never seen it offered at one of my local nurseries. Oh, and I played the Guess the Name game with your photos as well and got 2...practically a triumph.

      1. User avater
        Kevin Kelly 02/05/2018

        Good job, Michaele. Guessing trees by only seeing the bark and be tough.

        I had to drive to a nursery 125 miles away to get the Green Pillar. That was 12-15 years ago. I have only seen it one other time at a nursery. Fabulous tree. Has all the fall color of other pin oaks, but remains in a tiny space. Creates a big exclamation point.

    4. Cheryl A 02/05/2018

      Kevin, Thanks so much for pointing us to your prior post of 2016. You have such cool trees. That Green Pillar is amazing - But I think I have run out of space for tall trees. We added a yellow wood last fall, and that took our last open space. I'm surprised I've not seen a serviceberry (amelanchier) among the bark pictures. Ours is a baby, but that bark is also beautiful during winter.

  5. User avater
    meander1 (Michaele ) 02/05/2018

    I scrolled very slowly and had fun playing the "try to guess the name" game. And even though I scored 0 for 5, I had a very enjoyable time losing! Your photos are fabulous, Erika.

  6. user-7007816 02/05/2018

    Thank-you Kevin. I also enjoy stopping and taking the time to see the beauty of bark. Very nice photos.

  7. Sonya Peel 02/05/2018

    Enjoyed your photos of bark. I thought the Stewartia pseudocamilia was especially pretty. So many trees with interesting bark to liven up the winter months. I've been enjoying the grey bark on the large White Oak (Quercus alba), which can be seen from all the rooms on the front of my house.

  8. Jeff Goodearth 02/05/2018

    I always enjoy the winter show of bark, textures and the skeletons of trees. A lot of people miss out by not planting some of the plants that show off their skin. These are all wonderful and there are SO many plants available to enjoy during the winter months.

  9. User avater
    Linda on Whidbey 02/05/2018

    Good morning, Erika. As others here, I’m also a bark lover. We often plant trees just for their interesting winter look. Our stewartia is still too small to show it’s true colors but we’re hopeful that it will eventually be as beautiful as yours. Thanks for these lovely photos.

  10. Dvngardener 02/05/2018


  11. Cheryl A 02/05/2018

    Hi, Erika, Such great pictures! And a wonderful reminder that plants are so much more than their flowers. And that winter can be beautiful in its own right. Is anybody's witch hazel blooming yet? (Zone 6?). Or, does anybody have a lenten rose in bloom yet?

    1. Jeff Goodearth 02/05/2018

      My hellebores are showing color but are still tightly snugged at ground level. still cold here

    2. User avater
      meander1 (Michaele ) 02/05/2018

      I have some that I planted last summer called 'Madame Lemmonier' whose vibrant pink blooms are open and showing off. I really like this variety because the blooms are outward facing and not looking down. The flowers are very noticeable.

      1. Cheryl A 02/05/2018

        YAY! Sounds like you are the first to have any in bloom! Which zone are you again, Michaele?

        1. User avater
          meander1 (Michaele ) 02/05/2018

          I thinks the zone maps show my part of east TN being 6b but there are years we sneak into 7a. I wish I could post a picture in the comments section to show you how pretty my 'Madame Lemmonier' is right now.

  12. User avater
    treasuresmom 02/05/2018

    Just love these pics. The winter bark is amazingly beautiful!

  13. Sheila_Schultz 02/05/2018

    There is something about the color and texture of bark that almost overrides the beauty of colorful blooms and leaves during the rest of the year. Your gardens definitely have the right 'Bones' Erica.

  14. PerenniallyCrazy 02/05/2018

    Glad you shared these photos Erica. A winter garden is NEVER complete without the beauty of tree bark.

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