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Description and photos of trees for summer-dry gardens

23 07, 2021

The Carbon Capture Garden

2021-07-23T17:07:40-07:00Categories: Blog, carbon capture, grasses, Nora Harlow, perennials, shrubs, trees|

Carbon capture is widely viewed as a promising means of slowing global warming by reducing levels of atmospheric carbon dioxide, one of a number of gases responsible for trapping heat and warming the earth’s surface. Carbon dioxide produced by industrial processes can be captured at its source and injected underground. Atmospheric carbon dioxide is naturally taken up by plants, which transform the gas into a form that can be stabilized and stored in soil. Carbon capture is maximized by a diverse planting of deeply rooted trees, shrubs, and perennials, minimally pruned, with no pesticides and soil left undisturbed as

28 07, 2017

Peeling Bark

2021-03-16T17:50:05-07:00Categories: Blog, trees|Tags: , , |

In a not uncommon response to summer-dry heat, a number of trees and shrubs shed their bark in the middle of the summer. Summertime bark break, manzanita (Arctostaphylos) In California, this exfoliation seems to happen almost instantly in madrone (Arbutus menziesii) and many species of manzanita (Arctostaphylos) with great delight to any observer who watches these natives with any regularity. One day a walk in the dry woods, the always beautiful red mahogany bark will be split open, as the bark rolls back and the girth expands just that much more.  In manzanita the bark will curl back

19 01, 2016

Arbutus

2016-01-19T20:59:33-08:00Categories: Blog, shrubs, trees|Tags: , , , |

Arbutus unedo 'Elfin King' with fruit. With evergreen, leathery, dark green leaves, showy clusters of tiny white spring flowers, small red berries in fall, and red-brown peeling bark, Arbutus menziesii is a signature tree of western North America.  Native to coastal evergreen forests from southern British Columbia to California, the western slopes of the Sierra Nevada, and the eastern slopes of the Coast Ranges, this tree has long been considered too difficult for most cultivated landscapes.  Commonly known as Pacific madrone, A. menziesii is available in small containers mostly from specialty nurseries and at native plant sales. For

5 01, 2016

California buckeye

2016-01-05T21:41:06-08:00Categories: Blog, trees|Tags: , , |

Aesculus californica, in winter, at East Bay Regional Parks Botanic Garden, Berkeley. California buckeye (Aesculus californica) puts on a bold and fascinating seasonal show. In late winter bright apple-green new leaves burst forth at branch ends and rapidly unfold, quite suddenly claiming the stage among the darker greens of evergreen oaks, bays, and pines.  In spring to early summer showy spikelike clusters of lightly fragrant creamy white flowers are held gracefully upright above the leaves.  The large polished-brown seeds peeking through leathery, pear-shaped pods are highly decorative on silvery gray branches in fall. Aesculus californica flowers

17 02, 2015

California Native Redbud Tree

2015-02-17T03:12:59-08:00Categories: trees|Tags: , , |

I hear from long-time residents of Amador County, California, that our native redbud (Cercis occidentalis syn C. orbiculata ) is not found anywhere in that county except where planted.  To me, this is a fascinating mystery, as it is commonly reported by reliable sources as occurring in the wild in that part of the state.  Some have suggested it may be the soils, that redbud requires “ultramafic”  (basic) soils, even serpentine, that are not common in Amador County.  If you live in that part of the world, please let us know if you have seen this special plant in the

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