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Pahrump Mirror
Pahrump, Nevada
July 10, 1997     Pahrump Mirror
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July 10, 1997

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14 Thursday, July 10, 1997 Pahrump Valley Gazette ] It's hot. The scorching sun and drying winds dehy- drate plants. Leaves wither and tear, flowering subsides as the plant focuses its energy on survival. But wait, look at that bush with the exotic yellow flowers ac- cented by the bright red stamens. The bushes are all over the valley, bloom- ing happily in yards, gar- dens and even empty lots. What is this flowering plant that laughs in the sun and dances in the wind? It's a Bird of Paradise (Poinciana gilliesii). The tropical bird-like look of the brilliant stamen ex- plains the plant's common name. Like birds, the delicate flowers appear to fly with the wind. Hum- mingbirds, attracted by the red stamen, are often seen fluttering near the flower. The plant's fragile ap- pearance masks a tough survivor. The strong, slen- der trunk hosts a multitude of branches adorned by finely cut, medium green leaflets well adapted to the wind. Once the root sys- tem is well established, the Bird of Paradise can sur- vive desert conditions. However, it requires peri- odic slow, deep watering to produce and maintain its delightful flowers. Asleep during the win- ter, the Bird of Paradise awakens in early spring and begins to set buds soon after the leaves appear. The flowers are among many that bloom in the spring. This exotic beauty moves to center stage as rising temperatures discourage the less hardy. Displayed on branches six to eight feet tall, the striking flowers are easy to view while driving or walking. The plant grows to full viewing height within a season or two if it receives sufficient water. Adapted to a wide va- riety of soils, the Bird of Paradise will bloom where it is planted. It basks in full sun and remains graceful in the reflected sun of southern and western exposures. Light shade won't daunt this summer star, but she will be unhappy in full shade. Native to South America and Mexico, the resilient plant moved north to the Southwestern deserts where it adapted so well many people believe it to be indigenous. It takes a rest during our cold winters. This is a good time to trim it for shape or to cut it back if you want a bushier plant. Other than trimming and removing the brown seed pods to encourage continuous bloom, the plant requires little maintenance. The Bird of Paradise is better left on the plant. The joy is in the seeing, not the smelling, of this flower. The poisonous seed pods, with a distinctly unpleasant odor, are not friendly to the olfactory senses Mine make up for the odor (only on the pods and at close proximity) by providing a visual delight along the west side of my driveway. They provide light shade for the flower beds between each plant. The moist beds provide a perfect home for fallen seeds. In-Depth Factual Coverage of the issues that affect you and your family In Nye County. I try to pot starts for my friends when I remove infant plants from the beds. The Bird of Paradise re- seeds so readily, you should have no problem obtaining some from a friend of neighbor with a plant. You can also pur- chase container plants from local nurseries. This is the plant for people who want a fuss free landscape or who travel frequently. If the plant is neglected, it will survive. Flowers will be fewer and smaller or non- existent and the plant may go dormant. However, it will revive when watering is resumed. The Bird of Paradise "Country Fun Corral Fun for the Entire Famil Open 7 Days A Week Go.Harts- Miniature Golf- Arcade" Serving all of Pahrump, ye, Es r F_. Death makes an excellent specimen plant and is a good choice to fill a bare spot in your landscape. It works well in mass plantings and in combination with other desert plants. The Red Bird of Paradise (Poinciana pulcherrima) is the flashiest member of the Leguminosae family. Like its sister plant, the Bird of Paradise, this one is exotic. It wears even more brilliant colors in an orange- red hue accented with yellow. It has more lush, medium green foliage and often a protective growth of prickly branches. Native to Mexico and the West Indies, this plant is not as vigorous as its big sister. In our climate, the Red Bird of Paradise is shrublike usually reaching a maxi- mum of three to four feet. It makes a rich color statemer. , in a mass planting. It's an eye-catching specimen plant and livens up a rock garden or desert planting. Not winter hardy, try one before you decide on mass planting. To date, I haven't been able to nurse a Red Bird of Paradise through a winter. However, the color is such a joy to me, it's worth the investment to treat it as an annual. In the southern end of the valley, gardeners have had more success. One gardener on Calvada Blvd. has a gorgeous plant that returns every year. Her plant has the protection of a brick wall, and she cuts it back and covers it with a container when it goes dormant. Both of these birds flourish in the sun, enriching the drabbest landscape. To color your summer bright, give a Bird of Paradise a home. BIRD OF PARADISE-the common exotic. Tnis Weekend HIGHLANDERS KAROKE by The Chicago Boyz "rue & Thur 7p.m. - 1 1p.m. ul$OU DJ's on Monday Creative & Wednesdays' Fifties 7p.m. - Until -? Fri - Sat-Sun After Band Until - ? J1 c: %t h n J1 C % l- il J % S P 3 13 1, J J