Patio Peach Tree

I have a patio peach tree that is designed to stay small and can be grown in a container. My patio peach has many peaches on it this year. However, it is not doing too well. The leaves have lost some color and hang more limp than they should on a peach tree. In comparison to the peach I rescued from Walmart, the leaves and vibrance are not matched. I decided that maybe something is wrong with the container.

Two nights ago, I removed my patio peach from its container and flipped it over to inspect the drainage hole. Although there are holes, it does not appear that the water has been adequately draining. To remedy the situation I pulled out my drill and made larger holes at the bottom. I also removed the soil front the container and replaced it will potting soil from all my old plant hanging baskets. Next I used a hand rake to poke holes all around the root ball of the patio peach. Some areas were very hard and compact. I hope that it will recover with the improvements.

The leaves were not falling off yet and it has lost very minimum amount fruit. Most of the peaches are still hanging on and seem to be receiving enough water since none of them have shriveled up. I am also going to take some time tonight to give the tree some Peter’s plant food. I will use this post to track its progress.

Here is an update on my peach tree. This is about ten days later. I know , I know, I am not sure whether to laugh, cry or just sigh. I am hoping that once the ripe fruit is gone along with the damaged leaves, the tree will grow new leaves. The stems are still green and it is still taking in water. Since the peaches are not withered the tree is still sending water to them. I am planning on setting the tree out in direct sunlight as well.

My Chitalpa

I finally purchased a Chitalpa. I nearly bought a very expensive one. I am so glad I wander through the Lowe’s nursery on a regular basis. I found a tall multi-trunked Chitalpa tree for only $68.00. The trunks are quite thick and it is about 6 feet tall. This particular Chitalpa also has larger leaves than most I have seen. I hope they stay large as the tree matures. Behind the Chitalpa near the rock wall I have a small peach tree I rescued from the Wal-mart gardening center for only $3.00 about two years ago. It has nearly been dug out by one of my dogs, however it is doing great. It has some large sized peaches. I will have to make a blog post about it as well. Once I planted the Chitalpa tree in the left side of my backyard yard, I felt a sense of completion, as far has plants go. Now I only have to wait for these trees and plants to mature. As for the rest of the yard well . . . .  I will discuss it my natural pool posts.

Chitalpa May 2015 


My Mimosa

I have a Mimosa tree that I purchased last year. I bought it because I love how the Mimosa flower smells. It has more of a perfume aroma than a flower scent. From research about them they are supposed to grow pretty fast. They have compound leaves which close in the evening. The flowers look like pink puff balls. My mimosa had an injury due to the winds, it did not die however some of the branches did not leaf out this spring. I am not sure if I should go ahead and cut those branches off or not. Here is a picture. If you have any advice it is welcome.

In fall of 2014 I decided to go ahead and copice my mimosa. Now we are in March 2015 and I would like to share with you the results. As you can see it worked out great my mimosa is coming back it already has about the same amount of growth that it had when I first cut it all off. I am confident that over the course of the 2015 growing season my Mimosa will probably be bigger than if I had not copied my tree. I did not copice it down to the ground. Only below the scar from wind damage. 



Paulownia Growth Diary: Royal Empress Tress or Princess Tree

I have finally purchased a Paulownia tree from Since I ordered in the springtime I had to wait about two weeks for my federal express shipment. I actually received two Paulownias. One already had bark development and one was a seedling with many leaves.

The tree I purchased was actually the one that already had bark. It had no leaves but I could tell it did some growing during its journey. There were some very new white root tips and I could see that the leaves were trying to bud as well. It had long roots but not too many of them. Overall it appeared to be the “stick,” that many people have described online after ordering their Princess trees.

I have looked at countless websites and information regarding the Paulownia. In some parts of the United States they are invasive due to an ample water supply with mild winters. El Paso on the other hand does not have a lot of rain although we have mild winters I believe that although the Paulownia does not need a lot of water, it probably needs more than the El Paso climate will supply out in the desert. As a result I decided to give the Paulownia a try. I was purposely looking for a tree to replace the Mesquite I lost in the February 2011 freeze. I wanted something to grow quickly for my children to enjoy. I also wanted flowers so I could enjoy it. I thought it would be a lot of fun for them to watch. So far it has been very entertaining for them. They love to run outside and see how it is doing.

I will be keeping a photo diary online for the tree. I have seen a few photo diaries online but they have only a few pictures and no one has really posted a chronological picture diary of when you first get the tree and its immediate growth.

May 3, 2012   ” The Paulownia arrived. . . .”

 1.1 Planted Paulownia May 3, 2012

May 8, 2012 . . . .


May 15, 2012


UPDATE: June 21, 2012

Well, I have a new garden obsession or rather my obsession in ponds has blossomed into . . . . natural pools!!! So what that means is that the Paulownia tree needs to be moved. I have placed it into a pot while I figure out where I am going to put it. For now it lives in my sunroom with its sibling that is also still potted. I am thinking of planting them in the front of my house. I have a patch of earth that seems to kill everything, well the two fragile trees I have already placed there died. I read that Paulownia can handle contaminated soil. So I guess we shall see if it is true. I also lost an Italian cypress this winter. It was always much smaller than the others lining my front yard.  I may place the second Paulownia there. I know that it won’t make much geometric sense since it will be a different tree in a row of Italian cypress but I am not exactly the most square gardener either. I like things wild and crazy.

Here are the two babies waiting for their new positions in the garden.

Paulownia June 23, 2012 

Trees in Containers II: Weeping Cherry Tree

Last year in the summer I started an experiment in which I placed two weeping cherry trees into their own containers for my courtyard area. Only one survived the winter. I know that the El Paso winters have gotten a bit colder and I should have been more careful about the temperature of the container plants.

Having plants grow in containers makes them more susceptible to the cold because the soil in the container reaches about the same temperature as the air. Plus wind can bring the temperature and moisture down further. Needless to say the tree that survived the winter was placed close to my front door and shielded from the wind. The tree which died was at the corner of my house and received a lot of wind whipping around the corner.

This winter I will probably move the tree into my home as the colder winter months approach. I have since replaced the weeping cherry which died with a knockout rose bush I purchased at Home Depot.

Here is a picture of my Weeping Cherry which survived. . . .

Trees in Containers

Lately I have become obsessed with planting trees in container and keeping them in container. This is a way I fill in my garden with more vertical interest and I really like the way large pots look dispersed about a garden. Another advantage is that the roots are contained. I have some places where roots can possibly become a problem but by having the trees in container I avoid that hassle. My courtyard is an area where I need to plant trees in containers for space and foundation reasons and limitations.

I did a lot of researching online before potting my own trees. I have found out that rooftop gardens have a lot of potted trees and they are kept that way. I found some images of impressive roof top gardens with some impressive sized trees in what looked like small pots. I also observed this when I went to a new nursery here in El Paso. The large trees hade small pots by comparison. The owner told me he starts them in the ground then plants the trees into pots. Little by little the trees are transplanted into larger pots.   Some trees grow out of their container but you can take steps to keep them in the container you have choosen. You can remove the container every so often and clip the roots back. You can also clip back the crown. I currently have a patio peach tree, which obviously is a container plant. I am also experimenting with two pink flowering Cherry Willows and a Bradford Pear. The Bradford Pear was supposed to go into the ground. However I love the way it looks in my courtyard amongst the two cherry willows. So I will pick another tree for where I was going to plant this one. I need to pick a container for the Bradford Pear. The two cherry willows are in pots because I want them in my courtyard but I cannot plant them into the ground due to my house.  I have also seen an illustration of a cherry willow being added to a rooftop garden. It was a huge tree with a small root ball so I am pretty confident this will work out just fine. Once the trees get larger I hope the effect will be breathtaking. Another venture I will be trying out is keeping palms in pots. Palms do not like me too much and although you can see them all over El Paso, this really is not the climate for them as our winters are too cold and our air is too dry. Yet people plant them anyway. I am thinking of trying a Chinese fan palm in a pot, I like the way they look with the many leaves and I can move it inside if needed in the winter months.

As far as pots go, I have some gorgeous pots made of plastic but look like cermanic. They can be found in a variety of colors and sizes. I have choosen the largest pots in red.

El Paso’s Cold Snap of February 2011

This year, 2011, in early February El Paso experienced a cold snap which drove out temperatures down into the single digits and below zero at night.  As a result many plants in the area severely suffered. Palm trees lost all of their leaves; many Mexican elders and Palo Verde are only coming back up from the roots. I have seen quite a few Mesquite die including my own, although some have simply been incredibly slow to resprout. Some palms have grown leaves again while others are being removed by home owners. I also lost two pyracantha vines completely and the other two are coming back up from the root. I had a beautiful four year old star jasmine growing around one of the posts of my patio, I thought it had completely died but it did eventually start coming back from the roots, as did one I had just planted the previous summer. Nearly every oleander in the area froze down to the roots so they are all coming up from the ground as well. It was a lot of botanical devastation. I am sure local nurseries, gardeners and outdoor contractors are experiencing a boost in business. There is a new plant nursery close to my home which has large trees for sale. They are costly but their sizes are impressive and you can quickly achieve a mature look in your garden. Since my son is so heartbroken over the loss of the mesquite he spent hours climbing in, I am seriously thinking about buying a larger tree so he can start climbing again sooner than later. It was a place of comfort for him. For me it will be well worth the money spent and the tree I have my eye on is a marvelous specimen.

Tree Spacing

When I go to Lowes nearly every tree has a tag (unless it fell off) that tells me how far I should space the tree. I suppose this is valuable information so you know how much room your tree needs in order to establish a good root system. I have many questions though about this spacing.

Before buying a tree I also go online to do some research I end up finding out that not everyone has the same idea of how much spacing a particular tree needs, nor the size it can eventually get. Living in the desert southwest I know that many trees will not reach their extreme maximum as they would in a milder climate, however the tree tag can give me some sort of idea of what to expect.

My first question about tree spacing is, why do we have to follow all these rules when trees in nature just grow without following restrictions?

This is an important question for me. I want a lush backyard. I want areas where trees are close together but further apart in others. I want my garden to have a natural and only slightly constructed feel simultaneously. Plus I would like a variety of trees to look at so I can see different sized foliage in a variety of colors. Tree spacing sort of cramps my ideas up.

Another question I have is whether or not trees need to have all that space for a root system? I came to this question because of container gardening. Many people throughout the ages have grown fantastic tree specimens in containers. (I am also experimenting with trees in containers to help add more trees into the yard.) If you can grow a good size tree in a container then why do they have to have so much room in the ground? Nature doesn’t seem to need it either judging by how closely spaced trees can be.

So my final question is, what will happen if I push things a little? We will find out. I am planting what I want where I want, and although there is a little nagging voice of fear in my mind, I will ignore it for now and see how things fall into place.