The Twisted Tale of the Lavender Twist Weeping Redbud Tree

This my friend is a true love story...

In my book, "Easy Plant Propagation" I talk about my lifetime love affair with landscape plants, and this tree, the Lavender Twist, Weeping Redbud clearly falls into the category of plants that I am passionate about. Of course I'm passionate about a lot of plants, but this one has even more special meaning to me than most.

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Below are photos of the Lavender Twist Weeping Redbud I have growing in my front yard. Even when the plant is not in bloom, everyone who spends a little time on our front porch asks about this very unique and interesting tree.

Lavender Twist, Weeping Redbud Tree Spring Blossoms
Lavender Twist, Weeping Redbud Tree Spring Blossoms

Lavender Twist, Weeping Redbud Tree Full Leaf, mid Summer
Lavender Twist, Weeping Redbud Tree Spring Blossoms

Notice the crazy looking, little plant on the stake to the right of the Lavender Twist Redbud? That's a Harry Lauder's Walking Stick that I'm training to grow single stem.

The Lavender Twist Weeping Redbud was developed right here in Madison, Ohio at Brotzman's Nursery. I first met Charlie Brotzman back in 1975 when I was driving a truck delivering gasoline, fuel oil, and diesel fuel for the local farm co-op.

Brotzman's Nursery was one of my customers so I was in there on a regular basis and quickly got on friendly terms with long time nurseryman Charles Brotzman. Very much a small family operation Broztman's Nursery was quaint and cozy and I really enjoyed delivering there.

By that time I'd already had a few years of extensive experience working in the nursery business and was starting my own landscaping business so I loved delivering to nurseries. It wasn't long before I was buying plants wholesale from Charlie for my landscape jobs.

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Time marched on and at some point, I really don't remember the year, Mr. Brotzman passed away and his two sons Tim and Bill continued operating the nursery just as they do today.

Meanwhile, around 1991 in up state New York there was a lady by the name of Connie Covey who had an overgrown Lilac tree in her front yard and asked her neighbor to cut it down for her. It was really overgrown and as he worked in and among the branches of the lilac he came upon a twisted and contorted plant that he had no idea what it was. But fortunately for plant lovers around the world, he decided to leave it there.

Eventually this interesting tree caught the eye of a local nurseryman who took some photos and a branch to nurseryman Tim Brotzman here in Ohio to see if Tim could propagate the tree for him. He wanted one for a gift.

Eventually Tim Brotzman obtained ownership of the original tree and had it moved from New York to Ohio to further his attempts to successfully propagate the tree. From his first attempt he was only able to get one successful graft out of the fifty that he tried.

Tim eventually perfected the propagation of this wonderful plant and was granted a patent in 1998. He named the tree Cercis Canadensis 'Covey' Lavender Twist© in honor of it's original owner Connie Covey.

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But the interesting part of the Weeping Lavender Twist© Redbud story is that Miss Covey mentioned that back around 1960 her brother found the twisted twig growing along a highway somewhere and brought it home just to see what it would grow into. Over the years the family lost track of the tree growing in their yard and during a spring clean up project this plant narrowly dodged the teeth of a chainsaw.

More than likely the tree that her brother found growing randomly was a chance seedling that just decided to be different.

But what are the chances of Mr. Covey finding it, successfully moving the seedling to their home in New York, the neighbor not whacking it off with the chainsaw, it catching the eye of a nurseryman, another nurseryman taking a keen interest in it and investing time and money to preserve the beauty of one little chance seedling.

And now one of the off spring resides in the U.S. Botanical Garden!

How cool is that?

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