Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Happy ending to palo verde saga

A few weeks ago I described my quest to find a palo verde tree for our front yard. That post ended with me ordering two ‘Desert Museum’ palo verdes from the Sacramento branch of Village Nurseries which were supposed to be ready for pickup on Monday, September 23. So what happened after that?

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While Village Nurseries primarily caters to landscape professionals, they do sell to the public and even have small garden center with a selection of popular plants

It took a few extra days but eventually my trees arrived. I picked them up on Sunday, September 30, the day after I got back from the 2013 Succulent Extravaganza in Castroville. They were in 15-gallon cans and a good 7 ft tall. It took a bit of jostling but they fit comfortably in our van. An old rug and towel and a few Amazon boxes helped secure them.

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Here they are at home. Looking very healthy!

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The leaves are tiny, which gives palo verdes a light and airy look

I didn’t have time during the week to plant them but on Saturday, October 5, they finally went in the ground. I made sure to plant them on a slight mound to ensure better drainage during the winter. In our climate that’s always a good idea with desert plants.

One tree went outside the front yard fence, a few feet from where the large emerald bamboo (Bambusa textilis ‘Mutabilis’) had been. It looks a bit lost there right now but it will fill in nicely in the next couple years. And once I’ve replanted the area where the bamboo had been, this section won’t seem so bare.

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Palo verde peeking over the front yard fence

The second tree went in the driveway succulent bed that separates our property from our neighbor’s.

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I took this opportunity to completely redo this bed. I removed most of what was there and put in some new favorites, including six agaves, a red bird of paradise, and two Dioon edule. Check this post for all the details.

It took a lot of time and effort to source these palo verdes, but it was all worth it. I love these trees, and they will be a major distinguishing feature of our front yard landscaping for years to come. My hope is that as water rates in Davis continue their inexorable rise (they’re supposed to triple in the next few years), more and more people will switch to xeric plants, and more desert natives like palo verdes will become available in local nurseries.

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22 comments:

  1. It will look great in a year or two. Much better than that plum.

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    1. I agree! I hated that plum with a passion. It was the messiest tree ever.

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  2. Look great, and five stars for patience and research! :)

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  3. I am so happy for you! Palo verde are such a magical tree and two have two, you're lucky! Here's hoping they take off now they're in the ground.

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    1. I will baby it until it's established. I've noticed quite a few yellow leaves after yet another wind storm. I probably let it dry out a bit too much.

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  4. A happy ending then and they both look good already in their new homes, and it'll just get better in time. You can always fill in the space with annuals until they fill their surroundings themselves.

    And loving the idea of two Dioon edule on the ground!

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    1. I'm glad I finally found a spot for these Dioon edule. I have another one in a 1-gallon pot but I don't want to crowd this space. I may have planted too much there as it is.

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  5. Looking forward to inspecting first hand sometime.

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  6. It is already looking good but will be spectacular in few years. I will have to figure out where I can put one. Can''t wait to see your progress photo

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    1. Palo verdes make good courtyard or patio trees. You want to be able to walk right up to them to admire their bark and tiny leaves. I'll gladly pick one up for you at Village Nurseries if you can't find one locally.

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  7. Those trees are going to be awesome in your yard! And they are really big starters! Can't wait to see them grow.

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  8. Hi, I'm in Davis, too, and thinking of planting a Palo Verde. Although I don't know how I'll get it home from Village Nurseries in my little Prius. How did your new ones survive the cold this winter?

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    1. Nice to hear from you! My palo verdes didn't seem to be fazed by the winter, at least not by the cold snap we had in December. However, the lack of rain made them lose their leaves (normal behavior) because I didn't water them at all beyond the first few weeks. But now they're leaving out and will hopefully make flowers soon.

      Village Nurseries may deliver to Davis so don't hesitate to ask them. I've been dealing with Jeanne Neshem and she's been great. Give her a call at 916-366-3966.

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    2. That's great news. I did call Village and they said they can have PVs here in 5 days, but require a $250 order to deliver. Thanks!

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  9. Finally , someone has found a source, yay! Thanks for sharing all this info. That tree is gonna look great against the bamboo in the coming years. The agaves, should fill out that bed too.

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  10. Would you be able to send me some of your seeds? I am in Pittspurg, CA

    Thanks

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    1. Luke, unfortunately, 'Desert Museum' is a sterile hybrid and doesn't set seeds. They're propapated by grafting. I'm sorry!

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  11. Hi Gerhard,
    I live in Manteca and we are in the process of going lawn-2-garden. I came across P.V.s a few weeks ago and feel it would be a perfect fit for our small(ish) front yard and a good replacement for our flowering pear. I have only begun searching for them, and was frustrated with Lowes and Monrovia, as they proved to be dead ends and would not let me order a tree. I'd love to see how much your trees have grown and how much they've branched out. I found your site visiting the UC Davis all-stars site, and I remember your site when we first visited UC Davis last year to pick up some CA natives. (a couple little sages and bush germander. Thanks so much! -Melody

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    1. Melody, it was great to hear from you! I'm glad the information in my post was useful. Like you, I hit a few walls (frustrating!) in my search for palo verdes. But Village Nursery came through, like they have on other projects.

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    2. Hi Gerhard, I can't believe my luck in finding your two posts about the PV Museums! It has been three years since you planted yours. How are they holding up? Would you be willing to share some pictures of their current state?

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