I know my esteemed GW California forum members will be able to ID this tree for me. Tried using several online tree ID search sites to no avail. Here are 3 photos:
Red Bauhinia (Bauhinia galpinii)
Thanks, Gyr! I knew someone would come to my rescue on this tree. It is so lovely. I'll have to read up on it.
More often considered a scandent shrub or climbing woody vine than a free-standing tree. It loves hot summer climates that don't freeze in winter, and originates in subtropical Eastern Cape, South Africa. Somewhat drought tolerant, but it does come from summer rainfall/winter dry season habitat. Seldom seen here in the SF Bay Area, where too cool summers by the bay, too cold winters away from the bay mean it either freezes in winter or never blooms here in Berkeley. Seems to be a problem with many Bauhinia species here in northern California, but a few shrubby types from Mexico can be found blooming at the UC Berkeley Botanic Garden; not as showy as this one. The tropical B. kockiana from Malaysia is my personal favorite vining species, B. forficata is an elegant white flowering tree from Brazil, but also a reluctant bloomer here in Berkeley.
Thanks, bahia, I wondered when I would get the full scoop from you :-) This Bauhinia seems to love it here. It is growing up against another tree, which I am assuming is what probably gave it so much support, and allowed it to be much more upright than its normal growth habit. It has caused it to cascade over a fence, so it is particularly spectacular. I want to plant it in front of a chain link fence I have that I'd love to cover up a bit. So, hopefully it will do okay in partial shade.
This is a beautiful plant and it does grow very well in our climate. They appreciate a bit of shade from the hottest time of day; they would grow fine in bright shade. I grew one that ended up in quite shady conditions after a pine tree matured. It still did fine, but produce fewer flowers.
The most difficult thing about this plant is finding them at nurseries! More than twelve years have passed since I purchased mine, and I have not seen them offered since. Recently though, while searching growerÃ¯Â¿Â½s lists online, I saw them on a list for a nursery in northern San Diego County. If true, I will yank something out to make room for one or two more in my garden. I honestly cannot figure out why they are not common in our area.
I always find it amazing that people in San Diego County don't seem to know of the wholesale nursery San Marcos Growers out of Santa Barbara. They've had the Bauhinia galpinii available for years, and do supply nurseries in your area. They also have a great web site with descriptive growing comments and photos, worth browsing. I would hazard a guess that this Bauhinia is also being grown by Buena Creek Nursey and Rancho Soledad Nursery.
I know all about San Marcos Growers, Bahia. Most of us who are part of the SD Hort Society are very familiar with this wholesale nursery, as well as their web site. I use their extensive plant DB all the time. The problem is, I didn't know the name of the plant to look it up :-) And, I can always go to Green Thumb in San Marcos (no relationship, purely coincidental) and they can order anything from San Marcos Growers, as it's one of their vendors. And, I think you probably mean Buena Creek Gardens, not Buena Creek Nursery? Two different nurseries, both in Vista, CA. Buena Creek Gardens is right down the street from me. It has declined some since the original owners retired and sold it, but the new owners are trying.
I am also familiar with San Marcos Growers. Their online plant info counts as a reference book in my library. ;^) Their availability list only marks 15 gal., but it is certainly possible a request for a few 5 gal. could be honored. Frankly, I have not had the time during the past few years to even check into it. My comment about the lack of availability was leaning more towards this plant not showing up in the retail stock of HD, Lowes, Green Thumb, Armstrong, etc. in my area.
Gyr, not sure if you're in the N. San Diego county area, but Briggs Tree Nursery in Vista does have them in 15 gal. containers. I tried to find them today, but ran out of time (you're on your own there, and it was 90 degrees and I had groceries in the car, so I had to give up). One of the things about San Marcos Growers is their prices are not the lowest, so in this tougher market, some retail establishments have opted not to order as much from them, sadly. This is the case with Buena Creek Gardens for sure. But, Green Thumb will always do a special order for you, so you should be able to get them through Green Thumb.
Thanks, Patty S. I live in South Orange County. Because I already have one, I'll just hold out for a 5 gal. I need time to turn some more of our cement into planting beds first anyway. The Plant Depot handles my special orders, so I added it to my next list and will see what they can do. It is nice to know that there is a replacement source in case my red bauhinia unexpectedly quits, though.
Patty S., sometimes I have a bit of extra time while in the Vista area to use scouting nurseries. Do you have an opinion if I should favor visiting Buena Creek Gardens or Buena Creek Nursery first, given the chance?
Well, Buena Creek Gardens on Buena Creek Rd. is interesting enough to visit, but their stock has declined significantly. The nursery's new owners are trying very hard, but I think the maintenance of that nursery must be astronomical. So much of it's appeal has to do with the gardens planted throughout the nursery. So, if you have time to visit, always good. If you're looking for good plant deals, there is a very small little "Nursery Outlet" just west of Buena Creek Gardens that is actually the outlet for Altman Plants. They sell their 1 gal plants for 4 for $5.00. Great way to get a large number of bedding plants. Their supply is limited of course, but you'll be driving right by, so if you need some fillers, that's a great little place. Briggs Tree Farm at 1111 Poinsettia. They have two yards almost across the street from each other, the small retail yard on the west side of the street, which is open from Mon - Fri: 7:00am - 4:30pm, and they extremely large, drivable wholesale yard on the east side of the stree, open to the public, hours are Mon - Sat: 7:00am - 3:30pm. Huge, huge yard, you have to drive it, it is so big. Prices are excellent. http://www.briggstree.com/ Another great couple of close by options are Green Thumb in San Marcos. Expensive, but a gorgeous nursery with a lot of great diversity, Calif. natives, lots of succulents, lots of pottery, fountains, supplies, pond stuff, etc. And of course Armstrong Nursery in Carlsbad, right next to the Carlsbad Flower Fields. Once of the smaller Armstrong's, but still quite nice. And lastly, Evergeen Nursery in Oceanside on Oceanside Blvd. Again, another wholesale nursery open to the public, have to drive to get to everything, but very well organized, large quantities, large amounts of groundcovers, even classes, which is unusual for a mostly wholesale nursery. Buena Creek Nursery looks to be a smaller nursery but in fact is actually quite large as they have a separate storage/growing lot. Both lots are sort of in an older housing area, so you'll think you're not in the right place, but you area. Their prices are exceptionally good. They are located at 1280 Sunset Drive Vista, CA 92081. Helps if you speak a little Spanish at times, there.
Wonderful information, Patty S. Thank you so much! I printed out a copy to keep in my car for future reference. Eventually I would like to explore them all. Of the ones on your list, I have only been to Evergreen. Although we do have branches of Armstrong & Green Thumb here, I have found that the individual nurseries can vary quite a bit from each other.
Absolutely. They all have their pluses and minuses for sure, but we are extremely fortunate in this area to have so many great, great nurseries within a very short driving distance. One of my very most favorite nurseries of all is a bit further south, but if you find yourself in the N. county area, south of Vista, do be sure to drop by Walter Andersen Nursery in Poway, 12755 Danielson Court Poway, CA 92064. This is their newer of their two locations, with their original nursery being located in San Diego, but their store in Poway is large, and the folks are very knowledgeable there. They always carry a very large selection of bare root trees in January done the "old fashioned way", heeled into moist sawdust to keep the cost down for their customers, instead of immediately potting up and then charging significantly more. Love that. It reminds me a bit of Rogers Gardens up in Orange County, but not quite as hooty tooty :-) I'm originally from Orange County (Huntington Beach).
hooty tooty ha-ha, I like that. It has been decades since I visited Walter Anderson, well before the Poway store. My husband and I lived in the backcountry of San Diego County for many years, before moving to OC 17 years ago.