Western Mountains and High Plains
Guide to a Beautiful Yard
Scotts Lawns: Your Guide to a Beautiful Yard, by Nick Christians and Ashton Ritchie (Meredith Books, 2002; $19.95), is a good starter book for the layman who wants an overview of lawn care. You just have to sort through the recommendations so you develop a lawn care regiment that fits your specific needs.
Favorite or New Plant
If you have some space in a protected area, plant a Eastern redbud tree (Cercis canadensis). One of the most striking sights of early spring are the redbud trees clothed in a profusion of magenta-pink flowers. These small, somewhat spreading trees flower before the leaves appear. The redbud has the ability to produce flower buds on older wood, a feature known as cauliflory. It is not uncommon to see a mature tree with older, gnarled branches covered with small reddish purple buds each spring. The delicate foliage emerges with reddish tones, gradually becoming green and gracing the branches.
Redbuds make attractive specimens, especially when located against a background of darker green evergreens. In autumn, papery 2- to 3-inch, brown pea-like pods appear. These can be a nuisance to clean up on a patio or deck, plus the seeds will germinate in flower beds the following spring. Seedling trees grow rapidly and transplant well. Redbuds will not tolerate poorly drained sites or heavy clay soils. But if you find the proper location, this tree will make a beautiful addition to your landscape.