Pied Beauty

Gerard Manley Hopkins (1844-1889)

Glory be to God for dappled things—
For skies of couple-colour as a brinded cow;
For rose-moles all in stipple upon trout that swim;
Fresh-firecoal chestnut-falls; finches' wings;
Landscape plotted and pieced—fold, fallow, and plough;
And all trades, their gear and tackle and trim.

All things counter, original, spare, strange;
Whatever is fickle, freckled (who knows how?)
With swift, slow; sweet, sour; adazzle, dim;
He fathers-forth whose beauty is past change:

Praise him.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Dwarf Barbados Cherry

This one's planted in a pot, really!
While I was out of town, my Dwarf Barbados Cherry (Malpighia glabra 'Nana') popped into flower.  This little trouper deserves extra credit, because it isn't even truly planted.  I knew I liked this Texas native shrub, but I never found a place for it in my garden.  So it sat in a white plastic pot so long that it rooted through the bottom of the pot and made itself at home.  Even the pot is now covered with creeping fig.

Barbados Cherry "tree" by the light post.
Barbados Cherry is evergreen, usually, in zone 9A and often as far north as Austin.  It doesn't get very tall -- maybe 5 feet tall -- and is easy to use in bonsai.  My daughter and I had a dollhouse-scale garden in the backyard, and Barbados Cherry makes a lovely little "tree."  It is easily pruned to any size whatsoever.  The dwarf variety is a little more cold-hardy than the regular-size shrub.  You sometimes see them available, too.  The larger Barbados Cherry is not native to the US, and gets between 10 and 12 feet tall.

Delicate pink flowers.
Barbados Cherry seems to grow well in sun or partial shade and isn't picky about soil conditions (obviously!).  It is very tolerant of drought, once established, and blooms periodically throughout the warmer months.  The blooms mature into tiny, tart "cherries," which are the source for a form of Vitamin C called acerola.  Mockingbirds love them too!

Cherries soon!

1 comment:

  1. I'm amazed by how drought tolerant these plants are. I can't remember ever seeing them wilt! They do tend to root where they touch in my garden and can spread out of bounds if left untended. They respond well to whacking back, though!