Aspen are not native here like they are around Aspen in Colorado. Common cottonwood is. While bare, it almost resembles aspen, and really seems to be a species from a climate with colder winters. Actually, all of my Six this week seem to be from colder climates. All but #1 and #2 are native however.

1. Forsythia X intermedia, forsythia looks like it belongs in a colder climate where it can bloom as the snow melts. Only a few inhabit our landscapes, and they are blooming late.

2. Leucojum aestivum, summer snowflake blooms whenever it wants to here. I had been wanting some for here when a few mysteriously appeared near a ditch of the main road.

3. Corylus californica, beaked hazelnut is native, but also looks like it should bloom like this as the snow melts in a colder climate. The nuts are rare and tiny, but richly flavored.

4. Populus deltoides, cottonwood grew as a small colony from roots of a tree that got cut down. This colony got thinned. This stump is under water that reflects a remaining tree.

5. This is that reflected tree, which is the only one of seven remaining trees that is out in the water. Its colony grew before the formerly drained pond filled more than a year ago. Platanus racemosa, California sycamore is reflected to the lower left and the upper right and, I believe, Salix lasiandra, red willow or shining willow is reflected to the upper left.

6. These are the other six cottonwood trees. The seventh is beyond the right edge of this picture, where more twigs of California sycamore are visible. Myrica californica, Pacific wax myrtle is in most of the background to the left, with a lodge building farther behind. Such elegantly straight trunks of common cottonwood seem to resemble those of aspen.

This is the link for Six on Saturday, for anyone else who would like to participate:


14 thoughts on “Six on Saturday: Aspen

    1. Those cottonwoods are rad! I had been wanting to thin and groom them like this for a long time, but now that I did, they will not be with us for much longer. We can not leave them there. They grow too big too fast, and will crowd the adjacent sycamores. We may cut them down next winter. If we wait too long, we will need to hire a tree service to do it.


  1. Tony, your water shots are just outstanding. I love the reflections and texture. Your first 3 photos look just like what we have going on here. No difference in climate and coasts. Isn’t that amazing? I agree with you about the snow, but our Forsythia are certainly enjoying the sun and mild temperatures. I have several little shrubs coming on from casual cuttings, too, and need to figure out where to plant them. A lovely post. e

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    1. Thank you. Everyone likes the drainage pond. I am not proficient with landscape design, and do not appreciate the pond as an ornamental feature, but it is gratifying that others do. The climate here is not normally so similar to the climate there. Winter has been unusually cold and wet this year.

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  2. P. deltoides has an amazing range. I used to see those in Georgia, I like the grey trunks, though they are considered trash trees there. Interesting I have never seen that Pacific Myrtle, is that where Bayberry candles come from?

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    1. Cottonwood is a trashy tree here also. I really like how these are groomed now, but they will likely be cut down next winter, before they get too big for us to cut them down. Otherwise, they will crowd the adjacent sycamores. They grow too big too fast. Pacific wax myrtle is the same genus as the bayberry, but a different species.

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  3. I found this post to be really interesting! It’s fascinating to learn about the different plant species that are native to certain climates and how they adapt to survive in those environments. I had no idea that aspen trees weren’t native to certain areas, like where the author is located. I also find it curious that all but two of the Six mentioned seem to be from colder climates. I wonder if there is a reason for this, or if it’s just a coincidence? Additionally, I’m curious about the beaked hazelnut – what makes its nuts so rare and tiny? Are they still used for anything despite their small size?

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    1. Well, only four species are represented here, so two of four is only half, and the half that are native also live in colder climates.. Since this is a mild climate most exotic species are from climates with cooler winters. Species that are native to climates with cooler winters happen to be less compatible with the landscape style at work. For example, Canna grow like weeds here, but because they look odd within redwood forests, only a few inhabit the landscapes here. Beaked hazelnut is not as prolific with nut production as Eastern hazelnut, and of the nuts that they produce, squirrels take almost all. I can not explain why they are initially less profuse with nut production than eastern hazelnuts though. Relatively smaller fruits and nuts are common in desert and chaparral climates though. They survive harshly arid weather better.


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