As the summer season progresses, colours drift from the ground (annuals) to the eye level, flowering shrubs and further to the skyline with beautiful blooming trees. Many trees exhibit nature’s floral elegance. The magic of the trio — Jacaranda (blue), Gulmohar (red), Amaltas (yellow) — adds to the beauty of the months of April and May. Jacaranda is the first to flower, followed by Gulmohar and Amaltas. The lovely colour scheme of blue-red-yellow is a treat to the eyes. Many a time, as this year too, summer comes early. The erratic weather can result in advance flowering. If there’s planned horticultural plantation for city roads, nature’s beauty can be seen at its best.
Jacaranda mimosifolia, locally known as ‘Neeli Gulmohar’, is a medium-sized, deciduous tree with finely cut foliage and showy tubular, bell-shaped mauve-blue flowers. It can be planted along roadsides as an avenue tree, in clusters in public gardens and as standalone in a home garden. The tree does not form a very dense canopy. This allows diffused light to pass through it, thus making it possible for grass to grow under it. Prune the tree to form one central leader (main trunk) for strength, stability and maintain its shape.
The dance of Gulmohar
Delonix regia, popularly known as ‘Gulmohar’, is a large deciduous fast-growing tree. Its beauty has inspired poets, writers and artists. The orange-red flowers of the tree remain in bloom from the end of April till August. Thereafter, the seed pods are formed. These are green and flaccid. Subsequently, these turn dark brown and woody and remain hanging on trees for a long time. The leaves then turn yellow. The shedding of leaves takes place in November and the tree remains bare till the end of March. This period is followed by flowering. The tree needs abundant irrigation during bloom. Its shallow root system often leads to uprooting during heavy storms.
The Amaltas avenue
Cassia fistula or ‘Amaltas’ is a fast-growing deciduous medium-sized perennial tree with spreading branches. Its fragrant yellow flowers start blooming from mid-May, giving a pleasant soothing summer feel. Amaltas makes for an excellent avenue tree, especially for beautification. The continuous fall of flowers creates a romantic effect as a yellow carpet is formed underneath the tree. It is planted in groups of three or five in big gardens. Its hybrid variety Cassia alipurens has cream-coloured flowers. In Sanskrit, it is called ‘Aragvadha’, meaning “disease killer” and is said to have many medicinal benefits.
Often Lagerstroemia flos-reginae (L. flos-reginae), also called Queen’s Flower, is planted in combination with Amaltas. Its dark green leaves and contrasting mauve flowers mellow down the brightness of golden-yellow flowers of Amaltas. Synchronised flowering of the two makes for a good combination during May-June. Since Amaltas is a mid-sized tree with a good spread, it should be planted in the background and L. flos-reginae being relatively small in size and compact in growth can be planted in the foreground. These combo trees can even be placed standalone. Often one Amaltas in the background is planted with two to three L. flos-reginae in the front. Alternatively, these can be planted in rows with Amaltas at a distance of 20-25 feet and L. flos-reginae at an interval of 15-20 feet. Since the colours are in contrast, the total tree mass should be able to balance each other.
Blow the silver trumpet
Tecoma argentea is a medium-sized evergreen tree with light grey bark, crooked trunk, corky bark and well-structured branches with glossy silver green leaves. The dense funnel-shaped yellow flowers become strikingly beautiful when in bloom and are arranged in terminal panicles when the tree is in a completely leafless state during April-May. These trees can be planted in groups in gardens and can be considered for plantation along an avenue. These are also nice specimen trees for a home garden. Prune the tree for its good appearance and remove dead, diseased wood as and when required.
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