By Phran Novelli

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – Years ago I saw the prettiest tree growing beside my brother-in-law Carl’s house and he told me it was a ‘peony tree’ and described its beautiful flowers.

I loved the look of the silhouette of this delicate little tree against his wall, so I got a tree peony and planted it in a sunny spot where it’s grown to be about 4 feet high, and pumps out hundreds of huge flowers each spring.

Imported from Asia, tree peonies (photo) are shrubs with strong woody branches that keep their big blooms upright so they don’t flop over like other peonies do.

Then, years later, after I’d learned a bit more about plants, I was back at Carl’s house and I realized he didn’t have a tree peony at all, but rather, a Magnolia virginiana, a lovely little tree that’s native to the USA and has white flowers with a citrusy-vanilla scent that bloom in the summer.

Now, I’m planning to plant one of our native magnolias too, not far from the bed with the tree peony. Thanks for the planting ideas, Carl!