Monday, April 13, 2015

Early Spring... then back to cold... then Spring Again...

The weather can't make up its mind!  We had such an early Spring in February, but it didn't last.  We got more cold weather, although no hard frosts or freezes.  In fact, I don't think we had a single night with a hard frost all winter.  Not a good thing.  For one, my Goldendoodle needs a hard frost to help his allergies.  He wasn't able to get off his antihistamines all winter, and now it's spring again.  Secondly, while we don't have a flea problem, it never got cold enough to control the fleas.  So, nearly everybody and his brother has terrible flea problems.  Good for business, bad for pets.

I finally got the Plumcot moved.  I should say "we" got it moved.  There is no way I could have done it without my son.  Thanks son!  He moved the cinder blocks from each end of the large bed (now the raspberry bed) to build a raised planter for the tree, then moved all the soil from those areas to plant the tree!  Hard work.  And all he asks in return is a Dutch Bros. "Double Chocolate Mocha - blended, no whip."  Thanks son!  The tree has some teeny-tiny plumcots, I am not sure they will hold though, the tree is young, and we disturbed it moving it around. 

Plumcot "Luther" - March 2015 (yes, the grass is in dire need of mowing!)

The peas are a bust (so far).  I shouldn't be surprised.  They were an afterthought, the weather was weird, and I was cheap and instead of my usual (and reliable) Territorial Seeds Cascadia, I bought some 25 cent packs at the Dollar Tree!  I'll be shocked if they produce...  The "bed" is temporary, built from the scraps of the 4 x4 that never did well, and the soil from the blue plastic bins (that started to crack and make a mess).  My goal is to get some cedar boards and make a substantial one for cucumbers later on. 

The boysenberries and Bluecrop blueberries are ready to bloom.  Legacy blueberry is ahead of the others.   A few strawberries have put out blossoms too.  The raspberries (Meeker) are taking over the 4 x 8 bed, even coming up in the cinder block holes and surrounding soil!

Legacy Blueberry


Meeker Raspberries

Raspberries Escaping their Bed
Naturally, I got some new herbs...  pineapple sage (unfortunately an annual here) and English thyme.  I have more in mind, but they will have to be ordered online.  I haven't had a chance to plant them yet, which may be a good thing, since the nights are still very cool. 

Garden Sage, Rosemary, Lemon Thyme, Chives - all three years old
The front yard irises actually look like I hoped they would!

The day lilies are coming back for the season...

...and the mixed bed is growing like crazy.  I think the soil may be too rich.  There is a tremendous amount of foliage growth, more than normal.  I hope the rockroses bloom.  That bright green plant on the left is Golden Oregano. 

I planted a new rockrose by the sidewalk.  It is a Helianthemum, the others are all Cistus.  I am not sure why both genus are called "rockrose."  Or why there are even two, the leaves and flowers look the same to me! 

"Henfield Brilliant" Rockrose

Sunday, March 8, 2015

More Spring Blossoms

Not much has gotten done in the garden lately.  I hurt my back a little over a week ago (have no idea what I did, it just started hurting) and haven't been able to walk much, let alone tackle my garden
to-do list.

I had big plans for last Tuesday, a day off, starting with a trip to the Grange Co-op for 100% steer manure (did you know most "manure" bought at the big box hardware stores is labeled "manure blend" and you don't know how much real manure you're getting?), sand, grass seed, annuals, perhaps a pollinator for the plumcot, and maybe even a Compact Stella cherry for the front yard.  Then, I was going to dig up and relocate a vinca near the sidewalk and replace it with a helianthemum, "Henfield Brilliant."  Underneath the scientific name helianthemums are another kind of rockrose.

I was going to, with a lot of help from my son, relocate "Luther," the plumcot.  Or, I should say,
re-relocate.  We had a rain not long after planting the tree, and the water was just sitting there around the trunk, so I knew it would have to be in a raised bed, like the peach tree, raspberries, strawberries, blueberries... just about anything I grow!  So, we dug it out, temporarily putting it in a part of the raised bed where I grow tomatoes.  We planned to move some cinder blocks and soil and replant it a few days later. Now, it's been a week.  It should be fine, but I really want to get it to it's permanent place.

But, instead I ended up spending much of Tuesday in pain and in the E.R.  Nearly a week later I am still in pain, and my own doctor won't see me until Wednesday!  I have spent many pleasurable hours going through my favorite gardening books though!

I am missing some gorgeous spring blossoms, so sent my son out to photograph them.  If the photos look better than in previous posts it's because they were taken with his camera!  Mine is shot, and he rarely uses his, which is much better than mine was to begin with.

He got some nice shots of Frosty, the Frost peach, in bloom.  Yes, it's still sick with canker, but I'll let it live as long as it can.

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Spring! Spring?

Skip to February.

Seems like spring already.

Daffodils and dwarf iris in bloom...

If I'd known what the dwarf iris looked like I'd have planted them in clumps...
Feb. 19
Asparagus up...

Flowering quince in full bloom...

Blueberry bushes budding...

Legacy Blueberry
Feb. 2015
All about a month early.  The weather has been warm, 60s.  All winter's been warm.  There were a few days with some frost, and two where the dog's outdoor water (they are house dogs mostly) was frozen a bit, but nothing like it should have been.  Poor itchy Edward the Goldendoodle.  He needs a hard frost to help his seasonal allergies and allow him to stop taking his antihistamines. Didn't happen, and probably won't now.  I hope it doesn't mean an extra early, extra hot summer.

I planted a new fruit tree today!  Right in a hole in the ground, no raised beds or fuss.  I have no success with fussing over fruit trees (Dale the Braeburn had his borers, last year's Frosty the Frost peach has some sort of canker), so doing the opposite!  It's a Plumcot, Flavor Supreme variety.  A Plumcot  is part plum and part apricot.  It was "invented" by Luther Burbank more than 100 years ago.  Naturally, it's name is Luther!

Now, I have previously mentioned, more than once (okay, probably more than thrice) that the yard is full of rocks.  But, this is ridiculous!  All that grassy expanse, and when I ask my son to dig a hole "here" he hits rocks!  Not small rocks, like normal, natural rocks.  No, big rocks, like the kind we have in the walk-ways or tucked under the deck.  My son insists the previous owners (we call them "Sainted Eleanor," due to the endless praise extolled upon her by the neighbors, and "Eleanor's husband") must have buried them!  Bury rocks?  A foot deep?  Randomly around the yard?  I hope not!

I planted peas.  It had rained quite a bit last month (not cold, but wet), so I didn't get out to prepare proper pea beds.  I didn't even have proper peas.  The Grange Co-op didn't have Territorial Seed Cascadia, and as I was running late, I just bought some Sugar Snap pea seeds from the Dollar Tree for 25 cents a pack!  Won't it be a surprise if they produce well!  I planted them in the recycled gate bed, and where I used to have a couple of blue tubs, against the fence where the trellis is.  I threw out all the plastic containers I was using.  They didn't do well, and were falling apart.  I also dismantled the 4 x 4 cedar bed I bought at The Home Depot.  It was too shallow and nothing ever grew well in it. The pieces are temporarily by the fence trellis, with peas.

There are going to be lots of raspberry plants!  The original ten babies are spreading!  Above ground they look dormant and stringy, but below ground they have been spreading and have now started to put up runners.  Lots of them!  Fine by me, the more the "berrier!"

So, things are looking up in the garden.  I won't be planting nearly so many vegetables this spring as I have in the past.  Only the ones I really love, and only as many as I can reasonably eat!