Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Cercocarpus ledifolius, CURL-LEAF MOUNTAIN MAHOGANY

I will be writing about three Cercocarpus that grow in Utah and in most of the Mountain States. The three are Cercocarpus ledifolius, CURL-LEAF MOUNTAIN MAHOGANY, Cercocarpus intricatus, DWARF MT MAHOGANY or SMALL LEAF MOUNTAIN MAHOGANY, and Cercocarpus montanus, MOUNTAIN MAHOGANY also know as BIRCH LEAF MOUNTAIN MAHOGANY.

Cercocarpus ledifolius is erect, evergreen shrub that grows to 15 feet tall and some specimens have grown into a tree that is 40 feet tall. It is native to ten western states. It has a place in the landscape. If it is pinched each year, it will grow into a thick evergreen shrub. There are a some in nature that seem to grow naturally like that. The above pictures show a thick specimens from the San Rafael Swell. After established, these plants grow with water that falls from the sky. They would fit nicely close to a building.

Monday, October 29, 2007

Desert 4 O'clock Mirabilis multiflora

The Desert 4 O'clock is a great plant for the dry landscape. It is one of the first plants that we planted in our desert garden. Not knowing how it would grow, we were pleasantly surprised. By the end of the summer, it had grown to about five feet in diameter and it flowered most of the summer. The vegetation was lush with magenta flowers that opened when the temperature cooled down in the afternoons and remained opened all night until the late morning when the temperature become hot. It is a hardy plant that survived the cold winter and grew with out water the following years. What seeds that were missed by the mice, germinated the following spring. We had numerous plants the following year.

I had asked some arborists that were pruning trees in the neighborhood if I could have the shredded limbs and branches. They brought a couple of loads over and dumped them in just off the street. I spread them out on the driveway and walkways. I did not get to one pile until the next summer. It had been dumped on a Desert 4 O’clock. The plant grew up through the shredded tree limbs and branches and bloomed of the rest of the summer.

One year the mice ate all the Desert 4 O’clock seeds that I planted. I found out that they do not need to be stratified. When planted in the warm spring, they will germinate in a couple of weeks.

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Drought Tolerant Gardens in the Great Basin

Water has become a big issue in the Great Basin. The population is increasing and water resources not keeping up. Therefore, the quantity of available water has to be divided by the number of people using the water. As the population increases, the quantity of water per person gets smaller.

There are a number of things that can help conserve water. Many are being done now. Stop all of the leaks, line canals and ditches, use moisture sensitive devices that prevent sprinklers coming on if it is raining. The use of gray water and runoff from buildings and parking lots, etc. is gaining attention.

The use of native and drought tolerant plants in the landscape is a partial solution to having nice gardens using less water.