Monday, November 7, 2011

Please Meet a Few of My Friends...

An Austrian pine in a local park.

Fall is the time of year to start designing next year's gardens. To help you with your designs I would like to introduce you to a few of my friends:

Big tooth maple is one of the best trees for Utah homes. It is short so it does not overpower the house, has awesome fall color, and if you wait long enough it can be tapped for maple syrup. It will be a long wait though, this is one slow growing tree!

Bur oak is one of the grandest trees imported to my area. It has few breakages, does not let the pests bother it, and provides abundant food for those who have the patience to collect it and leach the tannins out of the acorns. Its downfalls are that it is big for the average quarter acre lot and the acorns make dangerous ammunition for the kids.

European beeches come in different styles, colors, and shapes. Leaves can be green, deep bronze, or touched with pink around the edges. In form it can be oval, columnar, or weeping. The nuts are edible, but small and hard to get at. The bark is a smoothish gray that makes you want to reach out and touch it. The lower branches should not be removed since they protect the trunk from winter sun scorch.

Gingko is a mixed up tree. It is never sure what shape it wants to be and is regularly accused of changing its gender. Its leaves are to die for though, they have veins in them that run in such a way as to give the tree the name maiden hair tree. These leaves turn gold in the autumn and pave the ground in such a way as to prove the world has magic. 

The one downside to this tree is that the male tree that you bought might decide to prove its femininity somewhere around its twentieth year. The fruit stinks worse than just about anything I know.

Honey locust is a landscape workhorse. Despite its heavy use I still love it because the feathery leaflets let sun shine down on plants growing under it. It has wonderful fall color that is a cinch to clean up in planting areas because the leaflets are so small you just leave them in place. 

Honey locust faults include shallow roots, a tendency to sucker, and vicious thorns on some of the younger branches and all of the older varieties. Of course the best varieties have marvelous corkscrew seed pods that have sweet, honey tasting pulp inside. Good for man and beast!

Crab apples exist in enough varieties to satisfy any taste. And many of them have tasty crabs. Enough said!

Eastern red bud is a friend from the other side of the country. It is small enough for many of today's small lots. The green pods are supposed to be good for people food and the older seeds can be used for the animals. The best thing about the red bud is the hot pink flowers in the spring. 

As I organize my photos, I will be introducing you to more of my friends....

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