Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Tamarix Ramosissima

Look at the ethereal beauty of this tamarix shrub!  How could you NOT be captivated by it's many alluring qualities.  My first memory of this mild climate looking shrub is of it growing in one of my grandparents' many perennial beds on their small farm.  Picture a two story, old, pink farmhouse with a double front porch and white wrought iron railings :)  Now, picture a five foot two, dark-haired Italian woman and a six foot one, strong as an ox German man.  They raised pigs and then cows and when they could afford it, they got dressed up and drove the farm truck to the nearest big city to enjoy a night at the local opera house listening to beautiful music.  They were full of passion, and gardening was one of those passions.  I am very fortunate to have these memories in my life!

This shrub is very versatile and beautiful if given the correct setting and attention.  This is not a shrub for the faint of heart :)  You can let the tamarix grow to it's natural 8-10 foot height while the branches grow thick but unfortunately the branches start to split after so many years and then you are forced to have an out of balance look.  It keeps the more graceful appearance and blooming capability when you keep it pruned for renewal growth because it blooms on new growth.  The leaves are a grey-green and have sort of an evergreen look, but I assure you, the tiny leaves turn a beautiful gold/red in the fall and drop to the ground like any deciduous shrub.  The spacing of this shrub is actually determined by the gardener but a good rule of thumb is to allow for at least 8-10 feet for it's graceful arching quality.  As you can see, it flowers abundantly with tiny rose-pink florets en masse.  It requires full sun for the best bloom but will do relatively well in partial shade.  Once established, it is quite drought tolerant because of it's long tap root and is hardy from zone 2a-8b.  I have seen where it is listed on the North Dakota Invasive Plant List but, honestly, I don't think it applies to all regions.  Like with anything in life there is good and bad and you can make your own choices :)  Me?.....I bought the shrub this fall for planting so we will see if it is as bad a foe as North Dakota  My grandparents certainly don't think of this shrub as an enemy ;)  Plant from the heart folks!

Happy Gardening!

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