I’ve never had a fruit tree bloom quite like this before! Doesn’t it know that apples and pumpkins get to be the star now? It has just really started to cool down here in southern California. I can almost guarantee that this bloom will fizzle before it bears fruit, but it’s an interesting site in the garden.
The potted pink mandevilla next to the outdoor fireplace it definitely more sure of itself and I’m happy to report that it’s creeping along the mantel quite nicely, situating itself in the cracks of the stones.
I decided that with my lackluster fruit tree growth this year, I would adopt a technique that I used for the Spice Zee Nectaplum when I planted it this spring and it did fab. When I planted it, I also planted a two foot long plastic pipe found in the hardware center plumbing section. I use it to give water directly to the roots deep in this hard, dry soil. So, I picked up 6 more and carefully dug holes around my already planted fruit trees and positioned them down in the ground. I also drilled about 4-5 holes in the lower half of the pipe to give water all around.
“I promise I won’t buy any more fruit trees.” I said 2 weeks ago after my husband planted this for me. After which I heard, “Don’t make promises you can’t keep.” And he was right. I couldn’t argue his point.
After taking out a lack luster vine from this spot, I knew what addition I wanted to try in it’s place. I’d read a post from Hanbury House about her new Spice Zee NectaPlum that she’d gone so far as to sacrifice a Red Baron Peach to make room for after a neighbor gave her some amazingly sweet fruit from her tree. She described it as “the best tasting stone fruit I ever tried”. It’s a white-fleshed, nectarine-peach-plum hybrid.
In a sea of green leaves while I overlooked the fruit tree section of my local Green Thumb nursery, I could see the Spice Zee NectaPlum all the way in the back. The dark purple leaves are extremely unique and turn green after they mature.
In a way it’s an ornamental and a fruit tree all packaged in one.
This season I’m also growing a unique tomato with a strawberry type shape, aptly named German Orange Strawberry.
It’s shape also resembles the ripening Red Baron peaches that it sits next to:
The 18″ high fencing we’d been using to keep our 4 chickens in their designated 300 square foot area had been falling short for quite some time. The Silkies had figured out how to squeeze through and Henrietta could just give a little hop and just roam free all through the yard, which is not a good thing. I decided I’d had enough of chasing chickens around the yard when I came home from the store, so I did a little research and found this blog post from Sunny Simple Life and knew it was just what I had in mind. Something nice looking, blends well with the garden and is functional.
Before (morning dirt bath under the Double Delight Nectarine):
I purchased it at Lowe’s and it took about 2 hours to install with metal posts that hammer into the ground. The fencing slides onto the posts and then links together to the panel next to it. In order to still have access into their space, we left one panel un-linked, sawed off the metal post at the bottom of the panel to prevent drag and then turned around the next panel and continued along.
I love the leaf design. Now I know the chickens aren’t causing mischief in the rest of the yard, which makes me an even happier chicken owner.
I took my normal walk around the backyard taking photos, as is my M.O., and realized only after looking at them on my computer this morning that each photo represented a first in my garden. This is the first time I’ve seen my Eva’s Pride peach tree produce fruit:
And the first time I’ve seen the Double Delight nectarine I bought in January leaf out and bloom:
And seen the flower up-close:
And the first time I’ve seen the Thompson Red Seedless grape do this:
Last year it had just started to produce fruit clusters but before they had a chance to fully form something happened and they either fell off or were eaten by something.
And the first time I’ve seen my favorite specimen (Red Baron peach) blooming against the backdrop of my favorite backyard retreat after being completed last summer:
Southern California finally had some much anticipated rain and the heavy showers uncovered some welcomed residents: my first ever cherries.
There’s probably about 20 cherries that were successfully pollinated with hopefully more to come.
I’m unsure if this is typical, but Royal Lee has out-bloomed Minnie Royal by a long shot, but as long as one produces, I suppose that’s the key. Going outside this morning to see these cherries filled me with a calm, inspired satisfaction. I asked for just one cherry and I got many more.
Beauty has woken from it’s slumber and the flowers around the backyard are bountiful.
Golden nasturtiums. They’re edible and are beautiful as a garnish on salads.
Royal Lee Cherry blooming away.
Today I tried my hand at being a pinch hitter pollenator. While there are some bees around the garden, I hadn’t seen much activity on this cherry tree. Being that this one cross pollenates with Minnie Royal, and that one bloomed later with only 4 blooms so far, I decided to increase my odds of ending up with a real, live cherry in May. I took the smallest paintbrush I could find and gently brushed the pollen from the flowers of one tree and brushed what I collected onto the stigma (the longest part of the center of the flower) of the other tree, and vice a versa.
Here’s what I believe to be the beginnings of a grape cluster!
Somehow the chickens seem to know when I need a new picture of them doing something endearing because yesterday they were posing like pro’s. These birds of a feather really do love to flock together. Last week every one of my white Silkies were broody and our sweet Ameraucana Henrietta didn’t leave the coop, not even for a minute, to venture by her lonesome out in the grass which she loves so much. Now that they’re back to their pecking, egg laying-gang status, they don’t leave each other’s sides.
The Minnie Royal Cherry tree has begun to bloom! It’s pollinator sister, Royal Lee, is not quite blooming yet, but I’m hoping they’ll cross blooming schedules at some point to possibly produce some of my first cherries this spring.
She’s a small thing but she’s got star power. Especially since she’s a full month ahead of any other fruit tree in my backyard. She’s getting all of my gazes as I do the dishes, glances as I putter in the garden and stares as I sit under the pergola.
Up close and personal.
Every year it never fails to impress me when the fruit trees bloom. I imagine the energy and fortitude that must go into producing such a sudden burst of beauty. To me, fruit trees are the best trees. Flowers and fruit. What could be better?
I planted a dozen Sequoia strawberry plants about a week ago. It’s a June bearing variety that does well in California and is one of the earliest Spring crops where safe from frost. June bearers generally produce a single large crop in spring to early summer and are prolific producers for 3 to 4 weeks. Plus, they are root knot nematode resistant, which works well with my RKN soil.
Eva’s Pride peach is already about to bloom!
We’ve had little rain this winter and unseasonably warm weather during the day, which has encouraged this already early bloomer to be on the verge of something that I’ve never had before in the garden. A blooming fruit tree is January. That feels like a garden miracle!
Another view of Eva’s Pride. I’ve never tasted this peach, as this is my first Spring with her after rescuing her from a small pot from a previous place of employment, but I’ve read that it has a “zing.” Can’t wait!
Even my grapevine seems to be early this year. But I’m not complaining!
Royal Lee Cherry budding in groups. My two cherries seem to be the only fruit trees in my backyard orchard to bud in groups, which makes sense since cherries form in clusters!
Even though cherries aren’t supposed to fruit until at least year three, and I’m just my second Spring, I’m still crossing my fingers for maybe just a few cherries, or even one lone straggler. Yes, that would be just fine with me!
I’ve been making daily phone calls to my favorite local nursery in anticipation of the arrival of their annual amazing, prolific and Southern California chosen bare root fruit trees. I had to pull out a meek palm in the backyard that always had bug problems, which happened to be behind a picturesque bench, screaming for a fruit tree to grace it’s sweet shadows over it from the summer sun.
I went yesterday with the purpose to buy a Double Delight Nectarine. This will be my second Double Delight since unfortunately the first was planted in what I now know to be one of the barren wastelands in the front yard. When it did practically nothing for almost two years, I attempted to transplant it, which didn’t turn out so well. When I arrived at Green Thumb Nursery yesterday they were still setting up all of the trees in temporary soil, which was probably a good thing for my wallet and my husband because I only got to see the apple, cherry, almond and nectarine trees. Had all the varieties been poised for sale, who knows what damage I could have done. I do have a Snow Queen nectarine planted January 2013, but she has white flesh, so I had to get a yellow flesh nectarine. I mean come on, it’s obvious, right? When digging the hole we punctured a sprinkler line, but I now have my Double Delight in the ground. I like having a second chance, which the garden allows so many of. And boy is she pretty.
(Photos to come in Spring when it’s not just a stick in the ground.)