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Weekly Express-News Article "
"What is Showy in the Landscape?”
Snapdragons, petunias, calendula, stocks, and pansies are at their colorful best right now. If you keep them well watered and it does not become abnormally hot, they should continue to the center of attention for another month.
The cemetery iris bloomed earlier, but the big German iris are looking good now. In my neighborhood, lavender, seems to be the dominant color, but yellows, whites and purples are also blooming.
Most wildflowers and naturalized flowers will not make much
of a show in the
Snapdragons, iris, and larkspur all have beautiful flowers, but they have another advantage, all are passed up by deer in many neighborhoods.
In the larger plants, the pomegranites have just started blooming. For those of from the north, the flower resembles a miniature peony, lush and frilly. The color is completely different; of course, pomgranite blooms are intense red-orange. They last a few weeks to be followed by an unusual fruit that makes me think of an apple with a jester’s hat on it. The fruit is nutritious and tasty. I am told pomegranite juice is all the rage. It would have to be expensive because the tasty part of the fruit is the jell around the numerous seeds. The access to the tasty jell is further limited by the compartments within the fruit. Pomegranite is a great diet food – you use lots of energy to finally eat the wonderful fruit.
Pomegranites are multi-stem shrubs that grow 12 or 13 feet tall and 6 or 8 feet wide. The plants have very few pests and do not seem to be a favorite of the deer. Pomegranites are deciduous and very drought-tolerant. They have naturalized in my neighborhood and produce flowers and fruit without irrigation. The selection normally planted for fruit is “Wonderful.” Dwarf pomegranites are an attractive ornamental shrub, but do not seem to be as tough as the standard size plant. The fruits are dried and lacquered for decorations. The small fruits produced on the dwarf plants are especially decorative.
The Chinaberry is also blooming now. The light, lilac colored flowers will cover the whole crown of the tree. The berries that follow are not as tasty or decorative as the pomegranite fruit. In fact, the birds rarely eat them and they cause great distress to swimming pool owners because they can overwhelm the Polaris and other cleaning apparatus. The Chinaberry flowers are attractive, but all in all the tree is not highly rated as an addition to a landscape. They spread in the manner of hackberries and are cold-sensitive and short-lived. Enjoy the blooms in a neighbor’s tree, but remove the seedlings from your yard.
Loquat is another exotic tree that is showy right now. The blooms are long past but the fruit is showy. Also called Japanese plum, the fruit is quarter to half-dollar size and a golden color. It is very tasty eaten fresh or used to make jelly. Loquat fruit eaten by the birds and is also a favorite of raccoons, squirrels, and even dogs.
Loquats are an excellent landscape plant. They are evergreen with large furry leaves shaped like a dog’s tongue with a sharp end. Loquat will grow in sun or shade to 25 feet tall. They have a disciplined growth habit and form a rounded airy crown. They can be used as a small specimen tree, as understory for large shade trees or in a tropical looking planting around the pool or patio. They grow very fast.
The first wisterias are beginning to bloom. The lavender flowers are fragrant and the
plant grows very large, very quickly.
The vine can be spectacular on a large trellis. A good example is the wisteria at the
Wisteria are best adapted to acidic soil so can become chlorotic
If your landscape has blooming plants that are looking good, check out the SAWS’ website at www.saws.org to consider entering the xeriscape landscape contest. This is the last weekend to enter.