Autumn is my very favorite time of the year. I love the warm days and the cool nights. I love harvest and am busy squirreling away fruits, vegetables and nuts to be used in the depths of winter. But my favorite thing about fall is the color. The bright, cheerful and stunning colors of the trees make me feel joyful and content. Which brings me to the Flaming Pear tree.
If you go to your local nursery you will not find a Flaming Pear tree. Forty years ago we purchased that same-named tree at Hubbard’s Nursery in Chico. It was absolutely beautiful. In the early spring it sported white blossoms, in the summer there was a profusion of dark green leaves and in the fall the brilliance of color would knock your socks off. Since the Flaming Pear tree was outside my kitchen window, all was well. All was well, that is, until a significant wind on the hottest day of the summer toppled our beautiful tree.
Being the brutally practical guy that he is, my husband got the chain saw and the tractor and cut up the Flaming Pear tree for the next year’s firewood, vowing never again to plant a tree with such a propensity to topple. He immediately replaced it with a second rose garden. So much for my Flaming Pear tree!
Thirty years later, we relocated to our present home, and since I was still mourning the loss of my Flaming Pear tree, we decided to give it another try. We looked all over for the Flaming Pear tree but to no avail. What we did discover was the Ornamental Pear tree (Pyrus) which is native to Asia. Ornamental Pear trees can be deciduous or evergreen. These trees are not fussy and require only moderate watering. Our choice was a deciduous tree because of its beautiful fall foliage.
Since we had the experience of losing one ornamental pear, we took steps to mitigate the chance of that happening again. Pear trees tend to grow vigorously and to be pyramidal in shape with the branches curving vertically and growing up. This puts the weight of the branches and the leaves close together causing a problem during periods of high wind. To prevent this from happening we have pruned to the outside branches. This not only spreads the weight but it also spreads the shade. Shade is at a premium in our landscape so every little bit helps.
The Ornamental Pear tree is one of the first trees to bloom in the late winter or early spring and is one of the last to lose its leaves in the late fall. In fact, our tree is just now beginning to show a little color. If you love fall color, check out the Ornamental Pear tree, but forget about finding a Flaming Pear tree – there just aren’t any. However, if you hate raking leaves forget the whole thing. Deciduous trees aren’t for you.
The next meeting of the Red Bluff Garden Club will be Nov. 26 at 1 p.m. at the UMC Fellowship Hall on David Street in Red Bluff where we will be learning about “Caring for Orchards”. And don’t forget the Scholarship Christmas Boutique and Greens Sale which will take place Dec. 4, 5, and 6 from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. at the Union Hall on Baker Road.
The Red Bluff Garden Club is affiliated with the Cascade District Garden Club; California Garden Clubs, Inc; Pacific Region Garden Clubs and Natural Garden Clubs Inc.