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Friday, June 23, 2017

Adding Color to Your Landscape

Blooming shrubs and trees are an amazing addition to home landscapes. Your yard is a living, changing environment and blooming plants refresh and brighten the area as the seasons change.

Adding color to your landscape adds drama, interest, and excites the senses and emotions. Color combinations can evoke tranquility or  excitement, or bring to mind your favorite painting or a scene from your favorite vacation. And because you can choose plants to bloom at varying times of year, you can alter your landscape scenery many times throughout the year, simply by your initial choice of plant material.

Concentrate your color choices on colors you love and love seeing in combination. And don’t forget that the foliage is a color too. The Palo  Verde is a tree that has lots of character with a green trunk and yellow flowers. Around that tree, you could combine colors by using blooming shrubs like the Ruellia that blooms purple or ‘Dallas Red’ Lantana. Another choice is Chaparral Sage that is spectacularly purple or Spanish Lavender that also blooms purple with silvery green foliage that would contrast strikingly with the bright green trunk of the Palo Brea tree. Good  design also uses a blend of textures, size, scale and color to make an attractive flow to the landscape.

Microclimates and Blooming
Be sure to pay attention to practical considerations as well, not forgetting that the plants will have to live in the area they’re being planted in. I often refer to this as choosing the right plant for the existing microclimate. In the example of the Palo Brea, the microclimate is likely one of partial sun because the tree will need to be planted in full sun but has a open canopy that filters the sun so the under-story or mid-story plants (plants that live under the canopy of the tree) will actually have lower light.

Trees and Shrubs That Bloom
Many homeowners want to know what plants bloom when and what microclimates they are suited for to help them choose material for their planter beds. We have developed a guide to do just this. The Blooming Shrubs and Trees Guide can be accessed on the web site at  www.gardenpro.net. This guide will assist in choosing the right plant for the actual microclimate so it will bloom in the correct time of the year. If a plant does not have enough light, it will affect the blooming. This is a partial list of plants that bloom in April and throughout summer and that  also do well in our arid climate. Be aware that some of these plants may also bloom at another time of year as well. For example, a rose bush will  bloom in spring and fall.

Some shrubs that bloom in April and throughout summer include: Arizona Yellow Bells, Ruellia, Salvia, Cape Honeysuckle, Lantana, Red Yucca, Lavender, Sage, Hibiscus, shrub variety Bougainvillea, Sapphire Showers, Lavender Star Flower, Oleander, Orange Jubilee, Bird of Paradise,  Turk’s Cap, Pomegranate and Roses.

Some trees that bloom in April and throughout summer include: Acacias, Palo Blanco, Orchid Tree, Palo Verde, Desert Willow, Jacaranda, Feather Bush, Texas Ebony, Mesquites, Yellow Oleander, Pink Trumpet Tree and Chaste Tree.

Not Too Late for Veggie Garden
As we enter into May, note that it’s not too late to plant a veggie garden. Even if you don’t have a lot of space, you can still grow crops in easy-to-assemble planter boxes or other containers. Vegetables such as tomatoes, peppers, beans, corn, cucumbers, melons, herbs and okra all do well in containers.

So, dine on the food you’ve grown amidst the beauty of your blooming shrubs and trees. Choose colors & flavors you love and enjoy your outdoor living.

Gary K. Petterson is president and horticulturist of Gardener’s World located at 3401 E. Baseline Road in the South Mountain District. Contact Gardener’s World at 602-437-0700.

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