Monday, July 1, 2013

The Bark Beckons

The gardens at Wildwood Farm invite visitors to enter with a glimpse of a winding path or a showy display of foliage.  These elements pique people's interest and draw attention inwards.  The evergreens and large trees are generally architectural features that anchor various parts of the garden.

Sometimes, other features catch our attention.  The bark on a madrone tree [CA native] is one of those.  The rich brown bark peals away to reveal a fresh green layer this time of year.  This contrast evolves over many weeks as the tree grows into summer.  A native dogwood behind this madrone has a collage of white, grey, and brown colors on it trunk.  Not quite as showy, but it's a fixture on the tree. 

Hybrids of the native dogwood have the same bark and showier flowers.  Cousins of the madrone have more red tones in the bark and are a bit more reserved when they exfoliate.  The roots are smaller and respond better during transplanting so they are more prevalent in the trade.

Note: Any perceived connection between studying shade trees and the West Coast Heat Wave is purely coincidental.

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