Southwestern Deserts

January, 2006
Regional Report

Shows & Events

Citrus Gleaning
Don't let excess citrus on your trees go to waste. Harvest it and donate to a food bank to feed the hungry. Another option is to organize friends and neighbors or join a "gleaning group" this month or next when citrus trees are loaded with fruit. Volunteers pick fruit from trees "donated" by owners who don't have the time or ability to harvest the fruit themselves. Check with local food banks in your area to see if they sponsor such activities. For info on getting involved in this worthwhile activity in the Phoenix area, visit: http://www.firstfoodbank.org/events/citrus

Favorite or New Plant

Cascalote
Blooming with yellow flower spikes right now, the cascalote tree (Caesalpinia cacalaco) adds dramatic color to the landscape from winter to spring. It shares the same genus as the Mexican and red bird of paradise shrubs that display equally impressive flower clusters, but in the heat of summer. The shrubs are fairly common, but this good-looking tree is underused in desert landscapes. It displays an attractive vase shape, is evergreen, uses little water, and is hardy to 20 degrees F. It does have medium-sized thorns, but they are not as wicked as those of some other desert trees.

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