Saturday, June 16, 2007
Desert Museum Palo Verde
The four Desert Museum Palo Verdes (Parkinsonia x 'Desert Museum’) I have in my garden have started another round of blooms, just three weeks after the last round. This hybrid is normally a heavy bloomer, known for its large, spectacular flowers starting in early spring and lasting until early summer. With supplemental water, they will have flowers off and on until fall as my trees do. Although these intermittent flowers are very light, with just a few on every branch, they add some needed color throughout summer.
I like these trees for several reasons. They are litter-free other than the masses of flowers dropped during the heavy bloom period in spring, followed by a short period of seedpod drop. Cleanup is easy because the dried flowers have a tendency to clump up naturally into piles, and the pods drop quickly and completely so there’s no ongoing cleanup. They are without thorns, and are usually multi-trunked with attractive, sculptural shapes. I’ve planted quite a few cacti and succulents under them because the trees produce just the right amount of dappled shade to act as nurse trees for sun sensitive varieties.
Developed at the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum in Tucson about 20 years ago, the Desert Museum Palo Verde is a cross between three species of Palo Verdes. It has the best qualities of all three—sort of a super-Palo Verde without thorns, which is the main reason this hybrid has become one of the most popular landscape trees in Arizona in a relatively short time.