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palo verde tree bougainvillea backyard landscape

Do you have parts of your landscape that you would like to change? 

Perhaps you have areas you like, but there are plants you are tired of or are struggling with.

I want to show you what I did in my backyard, where I blended both old and new elements.

First, a little history:

I was fairly happy with with the areas bordering the walls of the backyard. They are filled with colorful shrubs such as Bougainvillea, Coral Fountain, and Yellow Bells.

However, the center of my backyard space was dominated by a large lawn, which we had removed last year.

The decision to replace the grass was made with a focus on plants that I love and would blend well with the existing plants.

The focal point is a new flagstone seating area with Adirondack chairs arranged around a portable firepit. Around this area, boulders add height and texture. Angelita Daisy, Artichoke Agave, Blackfoot Daisy, and Pink Muhly grasses surround the seating area, which adds year-round color and texture.

In another area, a gentle mound stands planted with a ‘Bubba’ Desert Willow tree. Purple Trailing Lantana grows around the tree and will soon cover the entire mound in a mass of purple blooms.

At this point, the new plants are still rather small. However, plants grow quickly in the desert climate and, in another year, will soon reach their mature size.

The result? A landscape where the new and old will blend seamlessly together.

I must admit that I am delighted with how it turned out. It took me a long time to decide what to do with this area – it is so much easier to design someone else’s yard than your own.

I look forward to seeing it evolve and promise to share it with you 🙂

I don’t have a favorite tree….I actually have quite a few favorites.  But, if I had to pick one that I like most of all, it would be the ‘Desert Museum’ Palo Verde (Parkinsonia x ‘Desert Museum’).

This Palo Verde is natural hybrid, resulting from 3 other Palo Verde tree species – Mexican Palo Verde (Parkinsonia mexicans), Blue Palo Verde (Parkinsonia florida) and Little Leaf Palo Verde (Parkinsonia microphylla) trees.

I have grown this tree in commercial settings as well as in my own landscape with great results.

They grow quickly, are thornless, and flower over a longer period of time then other Palo Verde species.

‘Desert Museum’ Palo Verdes do great in full sun and areas with reflected heat such as a parking lot or in a west-facing exposure.

I love how beautiful flowers in spring, when they bloom.  I also think they are pretty when they blanket the ground.

If you are somewhat of a neat and tidy gardener, then you may not enjoy the flowering season as much as I do.

Don’t waste your money on a large-size tree.  Because they grow fairly quickly, a 15-gallon is a good size to start out with.  Once planted in the ground, a 15-gallon will grow more quickly then a larger-size container.  The reason is that smaller trees are younger and handle transplant stress better.  So save yourself money and go with the smaller tree.

Want to learn more about this fabulous tree?

Check out my latest plant profile on Houzz.com

 

 

 

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This is my favorite time of year in the garden.  You may be saying, of course it is….it is spring after all.  Isn’t that everybody’s favorite time?  Well, there is another reason.  This time of year I cannot go outside without coming back inside with a yellow flower or two in my hair.

Desert Museum Palo Verde (Parkinsonia hybrid ‘Desert Museum’)

All three of my Palo Verde trees are blooming.  Each one is covered in yellow blossoms.  Actually some of the branches are hanging quite low due to the weight of the flowers.  My Palo Verde tree above, is about 4 years old and will eventually grow to be about 30 ft. tall and wide.

 ‘Desert Museum’ Palo Verde flowers

Palo Verde trees are the iconic trees of the desert southwest.  The word “Palo Verde” is Spanish for “Green Stick”, which aptly describes their green trunks.

In times of extreme drought, they drop their leaves to avoid losing excess moisture and they will continue to photosynthesize through their green trunks.  What a great survival mechanism, don’t you think?

There are quite a few different types of Palo Verde trees.  My favorite is a hybrid that was found growing in the Tucson desert near the Sonoran Desert Musuem.  Appropriately, it is called ‘Desert Museum’ Palo Verde.  

It grow very quickly, is thornless, produces yellow flowers somewhat larger then their cousins and is quite low-maintenance.

Blue Palo Verde (Parkinsonia floridium)

Blue Palo Verde trees are also quite beautiful and an asset in the landscape.  Their bark has more of a gray-green color and is a slower growing Palo Verde.

Palo Verde trees flower in the spring and mine sometimes flower a little in the fall, although that is not always dependable.

 Palo Brea (Parkinsona praecox)

Another type of Palo Verde is the Palo Brea tree.  Their trunk is bluish green in color.  They do have thorns and must be pruned often to keep their branches from growing downwards.  But, they are absolutely lovely in the landscape.

Foothills Palo Verde (Parkinsonia microphylla)

Last, but not least, are the Foothills Palo Verde, which grow very slowly, but have beautiful branch architecture.  This is the type of Palo Verde that you will find growing out in the desert most often. 

Lately, every time I come back inside from the garden, I find a flower or two that has fallen into my hair. 

Did I mention that I love this time of year?

The weather has warmed into the low 70’s this week and the flowers are beginning to burst out of their buds….

 Pink Beauty (Eremophily laanii)  The first few blooms are beginning to appear on this Australian native. Grows up to 6 ft. high and blooms spring through fall.

Desert Senna (Senna artemisiodes sturtii)

Another of my Australian favorites and are drought tolerant and extremely easy to grow.

Grows up to 6 ft. high and flowers in the spring. 

Firecracker Penstemon (Penstemon eatonii)

This Southwest Desert native has reached full bloom, causing hummingbirds to eagerly drink of it’s nectar.

Grows up to 2 ft. high, when flowering.  Blooms winter through spring (removing spent flowers, will cause more blooms to form and prolong the flowering period).

‘Desert Museum’ Palo Verde (Parkinsonia hybrid ‘Desert Museum’)

It’s early, but the first few blooms on my Palo Verde tree are starting to appear.

This beautiful tree grows approximately 30 ft. high and wide.  In late spring, the tree will be a mass of beautiful yellow flowers.

Bower Vine (Pandorea jasminoides)

This blossom is ready to open and join it’s neighbors and reveal its magenta heart.

Grows on a trellis for support and blooms fall through spring in the desert. 

Purple Lilac Vine (Hardenbergia violaceae)

My second favorite Australian native, is in full bloom and is buzzing with bees.

Grows on a trellis or as a groundcover.  Blooms in February. 

Violas and Alyssum

My annuals have bloomed non-stop all winter and show no signs of quitting any time soon.

Valentine (Eremophila maculata ‘Valentine’)

My favorite Australian native who is aptly named for the time of year when it reaches full bloom.

Grows approximately 3 ft. high and wide.  Blooms December through April.

This is my monthly contribution to Garden Blogger’s Bloom Day, which occurs on the 15th of each month.  Please visit Carol of May Dreams Gardens to see what is blooming in other gardens around the world.