September 2015 Tree Following: The Next Generation

Summer retains its strangle, I mean, hold, on Central Texas, but there are promises of cooler and wetter weather in the forecast.  Today is the 7th of the month and time to join with British blogger Lucy at Loose and Leafy and her informative Tree Following meme, which is all about trees from many spaces and places.

My Retama, Parkinsonia aculeata,  remains beautiful and cooling after the harsh Texas July and August.

A tough native tree, Retama chuckles at day-in/day-out 100-plus degree temperatures and months (almost three) with no rain.

Beautiful flowers are  blooming, though mostly at the top of the tree as is normative for my particular specimen because it’s not planted in full sun.

These flowers have been pollinated and that’s obvious because of the orange “honey” petal–the one that turns from yellow to orange after a visit from a bee, butterfly, moth, or hummingbird.

With near constant breezes, I’ve found it difficult to capture clear shots of the cheery Retama blooms, but yesterday morning was quiet and calm and the flowers posed well when I said “smile!” and snapped some photos.

The foliage remains lush, but dainty and delicate in late summer.

This tree endures and thrives.

What is new this month, is the discovery of a Retama offspring.

This tiny guy is about 15 feet away from the tree and has suffered a bit of sunburn. I rarely spot seedlings from my tree, though plenty of seeds are produced throughout the long blooming season.  My hope is that birds carry them off to distant gardens to spread the Retama joy.  I’ve offered the seedling to some fellow gardeners and it is now promised to a neighbor. I hope it grows as well for her as its parent has for me. There was a second seedling, a couple of inches taller and located nearer to the tree, but I wasn’t able to find it when I began the photography for this post.  I doubt it succumbed to the heat and dry of the latter half of summer, after all, that’s when Retama struts its stuff best, but maybe the dog stepped on it and broke it.

That’s right, whenever something goes wrong with a plant, blame it on the dog.

I’m toward the end of my Year Of The Retama–in November I’ll choose  a new tree to learn and write about.

For now, though, here ’tis.

Green, gorgeous, tough and Texan.

19 thoughts on “September 2015 Tree Following: The Next Generation

  1. Has it nearly been a year already? I’m going to miss these regular visits with your Retama.

    We don’t currently have a dog (yours has the sweetest, “who, me?!?” expression!) and our cats remain indoors, so I’ve learned to blame everything on root aphids and/or ants nesting in the roots. All invisible to the naked eye and hard to dispute in real time!

    How happy your seedling found a good home. When plants repopulate themselves in various ways I am always happiest if I can find an acceptable spot for them to flourish in their own right as opposed to popping them onto the compost heap. Especially a lovely native tree.

    Looking at your great close-up shots of the blossoms (fascinating about that honey petal!) I note the petals are quite crinkly. I was observing senna flowers have a similar appearance and now I’m wondering if there is some advantage to that growth form for our heat-be-d*amned bloomers this time of year. Better purchase for heat stressed pollinators in our often gusty late summer/early fall weather?


    • Interesting point about the blossoms. Yes, they are crinkly and I think a bit thinner than the sennas (which are blooming–yay!). I’ve never read anything specific about their drought tolerant qualities, only the bark and foliage, which do respond during severe drought.

      My dog is so great! He’s probably not the culprit, but the does lumber (and he’s almost 15, it is a lumber) through the garden, so he’s been known to break a branch here and there. He’s a love though.


    • I knew Retama was pretty, tough and that pollinators liked it and that was it! I like garden blogging memes for this reason: the goal of sharing information and learning about what others grow is appealing. I would probably never learned as much about the Retama without that monthly nudge to post and I certainly wouldn’t have learned about other trees from far away. I hope you do participate again!


    • It’s not a native there, but it would probably naturalize because it’s good (or bad, depending upon who you talk to) at that. Ask around at your local nurseries–they should know and if it’s not invasive, give it a whirl in the garden.


  2. Your dog is filled with life and joy. An absolute delight. Love how hte flowers and pollinators communicate to each other. I did not know that about the retama flower. Very very cool.


  3. A very unique tree, not something we would see around here. (But perhaps not so unique in your area.) I don’t think I know of any tree that blooms in fall in Chicago – and the flowers look like Narcissus from a distance.


    • Nope, the Retama would definitely get goose bumps during your Chicago winters. Hmm, I hadn’t thought that they look like Narcissus, but maybe it’s the crinkling and the yellow that suggests that?

      Liked by 1 person

  4. It continues to be a very beautiful tree. I couldn’t survive temperatures like that! How interesting about the petal changing colour. I’ve not come across that before. Do you know if the same things happens with any other plants?


    • The retama never seems tired of the heat, though I can’t say the same for myself. I’ve never heard of that sort of color change either. I read about it, but there was no explanation as to why. Obviously, some sort of chemical change or change to signal to pollinators to get a move on to something else, but I’m not sure what exactly it is. I guess I need to do some further reading.


  5. Wow–amazing to see the rich green canopy considering how hot and dry it is there! I hope your dog has plenty of cool concrete to chill on. btw, the link to this post on Lucy’s page didn’t work, got here by way of your blog. I think it’s just a minor error in the address


    • Ah, thanks for the heads-up on the link. My old boy stays in most of the time. He still loves his walks (morning and evening), but likes the tile and wood floors to snooze on. That tree is really lush, isn’t it? In very droughty situations, it’ll lose it’s leaves and the green bark on the trunk and limbs continue chlorophyll production– a great adaptation, I think.


  6. Pingback: A Seasonal Look: Retama (Parkinsonia aculeata) | My Gardener Says…

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