Saturday, April 23, 2016
Garden Foliage in April: Some Spring Colour
But the whole thing looks a good deal different in a garden where many plants do not change much from month to month: a falling-off of bloom or even foliage in summer and, if anything, a burst of new growth in winter. A very few plants die back for the cool season to emerge again in spring. Many make the most of the cooler weather by putting forth their best by February at the latest.
The result was a very anxious gardener hovering over three most-definitely deciduous plants: structural plants at that, which I am depending on to eventually provide height year-round and much-needed shade during summer. The plants in question are two crape myrtles (Lagerstroemia indica "Rhapsody in Pink" and "Dynamite") and one desert willow (Chilopsis linearis "Lucretia Hamilton"). I checked daily at least for the better part of February and some of March. Looking at those dry branches, wondering where -- or indeed, whether -- new buds would break on the stems. I am not familiar with the habits of these plants so I looked for any little signs of sap rising, pushing out the tiny leaves. I worried that I had been careless during our relatively dry winter, not providing moisture often enough to sustain the youngsters!
But at last, they all three poked out a few tips, then came into full leaf. The Chilopsis was the last to show any signs of life; and, with the rest of the garden in full spring bloom, I really did have my doubts until a drive around town showed me that many mature desert willows still had no green either. So, for the record, it seems that Chilopsis tends to break dormancy only in mid-spring.
I have no pictures of the Chilopsis. Although looking healthy, it is still only about 10 inches high, with one main tuft of its long leaves sprouting round the tiny stem.
But the Lagerstroemias are larger and, making up for winter's bare branches, are worth looking at right now for their burgundy-coloured new growth.
Thanks to Christina of My Hesperides Garden for encouraging us to look at what foliage contributes to the garden each month!