Let us learn to see the ((sub)urban) forest for the trees...
Thanks to People for Trees and San Diego Gas & Electric - and, of course, our tax dollars hard at work - this week we are the proud recipients of 5 free shade trees for our home landscape. We have judiciously chosen, according to the free shade trees program's guidelines, planting locations around the main house and cafe for maximum possitive reinforcement. The idea of the program is that one of years, the trees will become large enough to give shade to our home and thereby lessen our reliance on air conditioning and the electricity drain that comes with it.
So over the weekend we dug our 5 holes for 5 trees and are in the process of sticking'em in the ground so they can grow to their full glory in our backyard. Here are some snapshots of the trees we received:
Lagerstroemia indica - Crape Myrtle, multitrunk, pink
This multitrunk specimen was clearly a busy little tree in the nursery. It arrived in a 15 gallon landscape tub like all the others, but this on had branches and leaves starting from the base and flaring out 4-5 feet in all directions; delicate pink flowers all over it. The crape myrtle is a deciduous flowering tree with striking smooth bark in its more mature stages. It's planted widely as a street tree throughout El Cajon in both its multi and single trunk forms. We'll have to prune the extremely low horizontal branches upon planting since we want it to be a shade tree, not a shade bush, near our outdoor kitchen's seating area.
Lagerstroemia indica - Crape Myrtle, single trunk, lavender
This lavender specimen is on a single trunk with its first branches at about the 5 foot mark. It should serve as a nice screen between our bedroom window and out neighbor's patio.
Prunus cerasifera - Purple Leaf Plum
This spring flowering and summer leafing deciduous tree has distinctly dark purple leaves. Since there's nothing like these purple leaves on any other tree, it's very noticeable when driving around town; though this tree is often pruned incorrectly or not at all, making them sometimes look wiry and odd. Hopefully we won't make those same mistakes. This tree will anchor the southeast corner of the cafe, at one end of our eventual lawn.
Agonis flexuosa - Weeping Peppermint
"He must have a truly romantic nature, for he weeps when there is nothing at all to weep about." Or so wrote Oscar Wilde. Truly there is nothing to weep about for this tree either, for we shall love it most tenderly and speak to every so often. We felt our landscape needed another tree of weeping habit. When we moved here, we inherited a huge California Pepper (Schinus molle) directly behind the cafe, up near our citrus orchard. We weren't sure what to think of it at first, except that we did appreciate its lacelike weeping quality. Granted, sometimes it weeps a bit too low for our tastes and we have to shorten its 'do, but we wanted another weeper, something a little closer to our main outdoor living spaces. So we've chosen to plop him between the patio basketball hoop and one of the cafe windows to provide much needed afternoon shade to the west facing cafe.
All right, take a breath, I'm almost done...
Brachychiton acerifolius - Australian Flame
Our favorite tree of all, if you've been to our home, no doubt you've seen the year-old (time in the ground) Australian Flame in our front turnaround. In just a year, it has more than doubled in height. This little one's spot is between the other west facing cafe window and the kids' playground. It should fit right in because of its towering upright habit and large shiny evergreen leaves. Plus, the one in the frontyard got practically no water from us and is really a maintenance-free tree since it just kind of self-prunes the leaves and branches it doesn't need, and always goes up, up, up!
So come on over and meet these new additions to the landscape in person.