The Aesculus californica – California Buckeyes – that grow along one of the bike paths I walk on are blooming their hearts out right now. Trouble is, they’ll be done in another few weeks and by August, they’ll go dormant. Dormant as in, loose all their leaves. In August. (Just want to be sure you got that part.)
People who like this California native are generally quite passionate about Buckeyes. Speaking for myself, while I’m happy to admire its brief period of glory during my morning walk, I’ll probably never suggest it to a client. The idea of a specimen tree that runs out of steam that early in the season just doesn’t do it for me. And unless it’s carefully pruned, to me it looks a little like a big balloon head with a bad case of acne.
Here’s a money shot of the flowers, just to prove I’m not intentionally winning you over to my view point with unflattering photos.
One exception: I did fall in love with a mature specimen in the side yard of an Orinda client, and developed a dramatic lighting plan to show off its beautiful gnarled form. But the planning department nixed it, over concern that the evening light would conflict with the city’s bucolic nature (proud home of the three million dollar hillside mansion, but whatever). What can I say? Sometimes planners are poopyheads.
So is this one of those right plant, right place trees? Or just a straight thumbs up or thumbs down?
Talk amongst yourselves.