Plants, Stone, California Landscapes


Summer Deciduous

ribes malvaceumRibes malvaceum

Summer deciduous can be a hard concept to bring into the garden. It makes perfect sense–plants go dormant during the dry summers and leaf out again during the temperate, wet winters–but it takes a fair bit of confidence to keep reassuring your clients that the plant is healthy when other plants in their garden and virtually all of the plants in their neighbors’ gardens are using summer as their time to shine. 

This Ribes malvaceum is full of brand new leaves several days after the winter solstice. Planted as a five gallon in June, the ribes sat there with tired, raggedy-looking leaves and dormant leaf buds all summer and fall, and as soon as the rains came, it put out these beautiful big green leaves and even a few token blooms. It might be in leaf a bit early because this is its first year and it’s getting regular irrigation, but it’s clearly not on the same schedule as a lot of the more traditional deciduous shrubs and trees; for instance, the Japanese maples in that same garden are just losing the last of their leaves. This Ribes has its most beautiful foliage at the same time as other plants have abandoned theirs.

ryan 12/26

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