The Spring flowers of Laburnum are so spectacular they overshadow the tree's performance the rest of the year. In Winter, olive green stems are tipped with silvery buds. Stems in the background are tipped with a single bud, but the stem in the foreground has five. Does each mature to a raceme of flowers, or will some produce vegetative growth instead?
With Magnolia buds, you know ahead of time. Those that will mature to flowers are noticeably larger than those that are vegetative. Laburnum buds don't seem to be differentiated, so there's only one way to find out: I'll tie twine around this stem so I can locate it this Spring.
Meanwhile, midwinter is another peak in this tree's yearly cycle: It's training time. I'm covering one side and the top of a pergola with Laburnum, but the tree is nothing if not versatile.