Last week I went to Denver Botanic Gardens on a photo safari and was immediately drawn to all of the beautiful blooming Cercis canadensis, or eastern redbud. These small trees, hardy to Zone 4, are native to the Eastern US but are also found as far west as Texas and Northern Mexico. They are fairly adaptive to our alkaline soil, but it must be moderately moist and well drained; try planting in a slightly raised area in well amended soil (Unfortunately, I have not been successful growing Cercis canadensis here in the sandy soil of my home garden.) Cercis canadensis is one of the few flowering trees for our area that tolerates light shade.
The distinctive pinkish purple flower color is beautiful paired with any Colorado blue spruce (Picea pungens) or white flowering ornamental trees like Malus, Prunus, or Amelanchier. However, keep it away from brick buildings with any kind of orange cast---the clashing colors are horrific!
Keep your eyes open the next few days and see how many Cercis canadensis you can spot! These photos were taken in DBG's Japanese garden.