- Friday, September 06, 2013
MY FAVORITE TREE
BY Gyorgyi Szebenyi
is Desert Willow (Botanical Name: Chilopsis linearis, pronounced: kil-OP-sis lin-ee-AR-iss).
Desert willow is among my beloveds plants, because it is our wedding anniversary tree. But my reasons for enthusiasm are not only personal. Desert Willow is a tough tree that thrives in Dallas and is strikingly handsome. It is a plant native to the American Southwest and Mexico and thus loves the sun. It is drought tolerant, but can handle downpours with good drainage (add expanded shale to your soil). If watered, it will grow faster and bloom more abundantly, but it will do fine even if you left it alone for long periods of time. Most labels for Desert Willow say that it grows up to fifteen feet, sometimes they even call it a shrub, but the one Paul and I planted for our tenth wedding anniversary twelve years ago is now more than twenty feet tall, and we did not fuss over it. We do prune the lower branches at least once a year, may be that helps to give it more than average height. I love it being tall, because it creates another level of interest in the garden without halting growth below.
The sun shines through its open structure canopy, graceful, swaying branches, and between its fine long leaves. Underneath our tree, I grow roses that have full sun requirements. So you see, this tree will not create a shady spot for sipping your margaritas, but if you want an inspiring tree to marvel at while you are relaxing under your elm or oak tree and look up towards the sky, this is definitely an excellent choice. The flowers are delicate, elegant, subtly multicolored, and they are plentiful from May through November. I am quite attached to the pink variety we have in our garden, but the white, and the darker hot pink-purplish Buba, a newer and very popular cultivar, are also spectacular.
Finally, there is one more piece of good news I want to share about this tree: even though I have not yet tried, I read that willows were easy to propagate from either wood cuttings or seed. So if anyone of you would like to try to grow a tree just like ours, let me know. You are most welcome to cuttings and seeds.