Finding a Mexican redbud might take a little searching

Tracey FitzgibbonQ: We want to plant a Mexican redbud tree but no one in Albuquerque seems to have one. Do you have some info which might help us find one? We want to plant it now, this fall, having read that you think now is a better time to plant a big thing like a tree, right? – J.& A., Albuquerque

A: I’ve done some poking about on the internet and did find Mexican redbud – Cercis canadensis var. mexicana – listed on the plant supplier Monrovia’s website. Monrovia is a huge supplier of plant life to several of our nurseries and big box stores in these parts, Monrovia just doesn’t sell them to the general public. Their list of vendors for our area does include a few of our nurseries.

The Trees of Corrales website lists several Cercis canadensis (Eastern redbud), but doesn’t look like it has the variety ‘mexicana’. Trees of Corrales doesn’t sell to the general public, but its website lists local nurseries that stock their trees. It might be worth a call to see if they stock the Mexican redbud.

Plant World on El Pueblo Road does list the variety mexicana, so give them a buzz to check on their stock. If that doesn’t work, call a local nursery such as Osuna, Rehm’s, Jericho, in Albuquerque; Trees That Please in Los Lunas; Payne’s Nurseries or Agua Fria Nursery in Santa Fe; or better yet, pop in to check on availability.

Then check to see which of these nurseries works with Monrovia and ask if they’d bring one in for you along with their annual Monrovia order. You might need to pre-pay in order to be considered.

It’s going to be a lot of homework for you and I hope you can either find one locally now. Doing everything online won’t work. You’ll need to call or show up in person.

As to now being a good time to plant, it’s the best time for a big thing like a tree.

Best of luck finding your Mexican redbud. And if anyone out there has Mexican redbuds for sale, let me know and I’ll forward info to J.& A.

Q: With all this rain, certainly the temperature of the soil has cooled down. I have my spring blooming bulbs, so I can go ahead and plant them now, right? – I.D. Albuquerque

A. You betcha. Get those lovelies in the ground.

It might be that we come back to a certain amount of warmth with an Indian summer, but the soil won’t have the chance to get too warm.

I do want to be sure that you’ve done some prep to be ready. If not, get out there and give the areas where you’re going to plant your bulbs a good turning. Work the soil to make it more receptive for the bulbs.

If you want, you can spread some bone meal or bulb food over the areas as you turn the soil to give the bulbs a leg up.

Be aware that most bulbs have a true top and bottom. Please be sure that you set them in the soil top up. Look at your bulbs and see that most come to a point. Usually, that’s the top of the bulb. On their bottoms, you might find some scraggly roots, which you can snip off to tidy them up, just don’t go bonkers getting them clean-shaven.

If the bulbs are shedding their papery skin, you can take it off, but again don’t go crazy getting the bulbs too clean. That paper skin does offer a certain amount of protection.

Also, three bulbs does not make a display. More is definitely better and you want blocks of color. Yes, you can intermingle types of bulbs to get a great look, but remember the mature height of the plant when planning. Putting a bunch of 12-to-18-inch tall daffodils in front of a bunch of hyacinths will sadden you for sure. Be thoughtful and imagine your space as it will look to get the best visual you possibly can.

Happy Diggin’ In.

Tracey Fitzgibbon is a certified nurseryman. Send garden-related questions to Digging In, Albuquerque Journal, 7777 Jefferson NE, Albuquerque, NM 87109, or to features@abqjournal.com.


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