Saturday, October 9, 2010
This excellent small multi-stemmed tree is often overlooked when people think of patio-sized flowering trees. 10'-20' (3 - 6 M) in height at maturity, it's big enough to provide summmer shade, but won't overwhelm a small space. If you want to reach the fruit easily, keep it pruned to about 10'. The foliage is dense enough for good screening from spring into fall; here it drops its foliage in late fall with some leaf color (gold and copper).
Pomegranate 'Wonderful' blooms in spring with beautiful orange-red flowers, but unlike most spring-flowering trees, it also provides a striking autumn color show with its red, globe-shaped fruits. After the leaves drop in late autumn, any remaining fruit will make the tree appear as if it has been decorated for Christmas. Rain rots the fruit, which cracks as it becomes over-ripe, so once the rainy season begins, it's time to strip the tree of any remainders.
The easiest way to take advantage of the antioxidant-rich fruit is to cut the globes in half and squeeze the juice out with a citrus press. Mix it with orange juice if you don't like it straight up. Pomegranates will keep for several months if refrigerated, so you can stretch out your anti-oxidant doses.
Pomegranates are native to from Iran into Afghanistan, but have naturalized around the Mediterranean region and thrive in much of California. If you were perhaps thinking of a Crape myrtle but don't want quite so much litter and are worried about mildew, this is a good alternative. And you get fruit, too.