Useful Plants for Landscaping

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Plants that are useful in the garden
  Landscaped Plants Used on the FarmDwarf Barbados Cherry (Malphigia glabra)   This is an outstanding small evergreen shrub for central and south Texas. Leaves are a glossydark green with an abundance of multi-colored pink flowers from late Spring through the Fall.Flowers are followed by attractive bright red berries that are prized by songbirds. Barbados cherrygrows to a maximum height of 3-4' and is easily hedged for a more formal look. It is drought andcold tolerant and will keep its leaves on down to the mid 20's. In unusually cold winters, the plantmay freeze to the ground but quickly recovers its srcinal size.Dwarf Barbados Cherry is deer-resistant.   Pineapple guava (Feijoa sellowiana, synonym Acca sellowiana)  Anevergreen shrubor smalltree, 1-7 m in height, srcinating from the highlands of southern Brazil, parts of Colombia,Uruguayand northern Argentina. It has been spotted inGeorgiaand both flowering and fruiting in Lafayette, Louisiana and in Charleston, South Carolina, andNorthern California. It is widely cultivated as a garden plant and fruiting tree inNew Zealand.   Thefruitmatures inautumnand is green, ellipsoid-shaped and the size of a chicken egg. It has a sweet, aromatic flavor. The flesh is juicy and is divided into a clear jelly-like seed pulp and afirmer, slightly gritty opaque flesh nearer the skin. Ripe fruit is very prone to bruising; maintainingthe fruit in good condition for any length of time is not easy. This, along with the short period of optimum ripeness, probably explains why Feijoas, although delicious, are not widely exported,and where grown commercially are often only sold close to the source of the crop. Feijoas can becool-stored for approximately a month and still have a few days of shelf life at optimum eatingmaturity..   Somegraftedcultivars are self fertile. Most are not, and require apollenizer . Seedlings may or  may not be of usable quality, and may or may not be self fertile.   Bird Pepper (Chile piquin)    A favorite for spicing up Mexican dishes, this diminutive pepper is also an irresistable treat for local songbirds and our flock of chickens and guineas. In the wild, the plant is found on ledgesalong rivers, in thickets, and along arroyos of the Edward's Plateau and south Texas. MadroneNursery's chile piquins srcinated with a start from a hardy plant that has been cultivated by afriend's family for over 80 years. These have excellent freeze-tolerance and provide a bounty of very tasty peppers for cooking and sharing.Chile piquin is deer-resistant.   Butternut This tree produces a delicious, buttery nut that truly lives up to its name. Don't let the rough shellfool you! They are native to the midwest, eastern and southern US but will do well throughoutmost of the country. They are the hardiest member of the walnut family. Zone 3-9.   Loquat (Eriobotrya japonica)  It is anevergreenlargeshrubor smalltree, with a rounded crown, short trunk and woolly new twigs. The tree can grow to 5-10 m tall, but is often smaller, about 3-4 m.Theleavesare alternate, simple, 10-25 cm long, dark green, tough and leathery in texture, with aserrated margin, and densely velvety-hairy below with thick yellow-brown pubescence; the youngleaves are also densely pubescent above, but this soon rubs off.Loquats are unusual among fruit trees in that theflowersappear in the autumn or early winter,and the fruits are ripe in late winter or early spring. In Northern California, loquats bear fruit inMay, while in Southern California, loquats bear fruit in April. The flowers are 2 cm diameter, white,with five petals, and produced in stiff paniclesof three to ten flowers.Loquat fruits, growing in clusters, are oval, rounded or pear-shaped, 3-5 cm long, with a smoothor downy, yellow or orange, sometimes red-blushed skin. The succulent, tangy flesh is white,yellow or orange and sweet to subacid or acid, depending on thecultivar .The Loquat is easy to grow and is often also grown as anornamental tree; it was commonlygrown inCaliforniaby the 1870s. It also thrives in thehumid south-east Texas (Houston) climate, as well as all over Israel. Goumi (Elaeagnus multiflora)   is a species of  Elaeagnus , native toChina,KoreaandJapan. It is adeciduousor semi-evergreen shrubor smalltreegrowing to 2-8 m tall, with a trunk up to 30 cm diameter with dark brownbark. The shoots are densely covered in minute red-brown scales.Theleavesare ovate to elliptic, 3-10 cm long and 2-5 cm broad, green above, and silvery toorange-brown below with dense small scales.Theflowersare solitary or in pairs in the leaf axils, fragrant, with a four-lobed pale yellowish-white1.5 cm long corolla; flowering is in mid spring.Thefruitis round to ovaldrupe1 cm long, silvery-scaled orange, ripening red dotted with silver or  brown, pendulous on a 2-3 cm peduncle. When ripe in mid to late summer, the fruit is juicy andedible, with an acidic taste. Medlar ( Mespilus )   The Medlar is a fascinating fruit. Botanically somewhere between a pear and a hawthorn, itblossoms in solitary fashion in May at the end of the shoots of the same year's growth. The springflowers are large, white fading in pink as they age. The unique dark green brown fruit lookssomewhat like a small crabapple which forms without stem at the end of the shoot and becomesthe half of a sphere with the petals arranged around the edge of the flattish top.The decorative fruit is picked after a hard frost. The flesh is then still hard, green and austere andmust be kept on a dry cool shelf until the pulp softens and mellows when it turns a light brown.This process is known as bletting . The pulp has then a distinctive pleasantly acidulous flavor.It makes a beautiful small tree that fruits early, a 3-year-old tree producing a good crop. It hascurious branches forming sharp-angled elbows. The leaves are large luxuriantly green and downyand turn beautifully red in the fall. Easy to grow, hardy, not particular as to soil or culture, it can begrown for its eye-catching ornamental value alone.   Mexican Plum (Prunus mexicana)   The Mexican Plum is a showy addition to your landscape, rewarding you with a prolific display of sweet-scented flowers in early Spring followed by edible fruit that makes a delicious jam or  jelly.This small tree is ideal in urban settings and does well in sunny locations or part shade. Inlarger plantings, it is an attractive understory tree and provides habitat for small birds such aswrens and finches.Here at the nursery we have also noted numerous Polyphemus moth cocoons in our trees andspeculate that the densely interlocking branches help guard these large insects from predators asthey are emerging.Mexican Plum should be protected from deer when small.   Turk's Cap (Malvaviscus drummondii)   This hardy perennial thrives in mixed to dense shade, attracting hummingbirds and butterflieswho can't resist the generous display of bright scarlet flowers. We have seen Gulf Frittelarysipping on the flowers, then flitting over to nearby Passiflora vines to lay their eggs. This is a good plant choice if you are looking for masses of color over an extended season. The plant colonizes largeareas by sending out root sprouts and can become invasive when conditions are favorable. Theunripe fruit of the plant is edible, much like okra. Ripe fruit is readily eaten by wildlife.   Several cultivars are available - one nice selection also has varigated leaves. The plant freezes in winter but returns each year from thick, yellow roots. Turk's cap is deer resistant.   Texas Redbud (Cercis canadensis var. texensis)   This attractive small tree is a harbinger of a Hill Country Spring, with electric pink flowers coveringits bare branches, followed by shiny dark-green leaves. Fall color is a clear, sulphur yellow. Texasredbud is very drought tolerant and is often found on solid rock outcroppings. It generally livesabout 35 years, and at maturity, becomes multi-trunked. Traveller  , our patented cultivar, is aweeping form of the tree.   Texas redbud needs protection from deer, as they will browse new growth.   Native Pecan (Carya illinoiensis)   Usually found as a large tree in/or about waterways or floodplains , this widespread tree produces the edible nut of commerce. Pecan trees are fast growing and yields a beautiful wood for cabinetry and furnitureuse. The wild form produces a smaller nut that is often considered tastier than commercialvarieties. The tree yields an abundant crop every 2-3 years.Pecans make excellent shade trees but are not a good choice for small city or surburban yards. If planted near driveways, sticky residue emitted from summer through fall can coat car finishes andwindows. In addition, their leaves and husks need to be raked and disposed of as they will retardthe growth of plants growing beneath them.    Container-grown pecans can be planted at any time of the year but care should be taken to makesure that the persistant tap root is not being strangled by roots circling the pot. Carefully orient thetap root to the bottom of the dug hole for best results.   Native pecans have bitter leaves, making them unattractive to browsing deer.  
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