Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Happiness. Robert Green Ingersoll

Happiness is the only good. 

The time to be happy is now. 

The place to be happy is here. 

The way to be happy is to make others so. 

-Robert Green Ingersoll

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Plums. Progress Report.

Hollywood Plum. Fruit set is the best I've ever seen for this tree. Promising.Shiro Plum. Ditto.

Irises. Progress Report.

Last summer I rescued these miniature irises from neglected location. I was certain there were blue ones and yellow ones. Turns out they are all identical to "Cherry Garden". I expect to move them to a better location, raised bed, once it's built. The good part - they were scraggly and sick appearing. The TLC last summer, with cleaning them up, replanting, giving dilute balanced fertilizer with each watering through the summer, resulted in full recovery and probably the most flowers they've ever had. That is counter to accepted wisdom for irises. I think that approach also revived the tall beardeds, which will bloom in a few weeks.


I wanted a viburnum for a long time, but no place to put it. Planted this one last summer at the Battleground Place. Almost blooming. Some nostalgia there.

Doggie ecstasy

Charlie's getting pretty old for a dog. He's 12. Not too old to roll around in the grass and make pleasure noises.

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Beekeeping. Progress Report.

Opening the hive to check on progress, especially to ensure combs hang from one top bar each.Including 2 under construction, there are 11 bars with comb. I'm amazed.Some contain brood, some have nectar, and some have pollen. Some are capped. I didn't realize there was sufficient pollen and nectar. There is a very large, old maple tree nearby, in bloom. I imagine that could produce significant nutrition.

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Front yard

Strawberry Raised Bed

Last year I bought bundles of strawberry plants, and did not have enough room for them. So the went into containers of various sizes. With the Battleground place, there is more room. So today I dug them up and replanted them into a new raised bed. The bed is a topsoil:compost mix, 50:50 according to the place that prepares it. I did not mix myself. That is too much heavy work for now. A few wilted but most had generous roots and took the move without a complaint. The smaller ones were in smaller containers that dried out too fast. Probably less fertile medium. Now they should perk up and catch up with the others.

More Heritage Iris

Second order came today from Old House Gardens. Website oldhousegardens.comEleanor Roosevelt. Introduced in 1933. From the Heritage Iris Preservation Society web site, quoting an earlier Cooley's Iris catalog: "From the Cooley's Gardens catalog for 1937: "Deep flourite purple self, with very rich falls". Flourite purple. Cool! This is described in 1937 as the " leading fall-blooming iris in commerce today, because it increases very fast, is most reliable in flowering habit...one of the most beautiful irises in the garden... " Mme. Chereau. 1844. This description, quoted from the Heritage Iris Preservation Society site, hips-roots.com, is great: "From the Cornell Extension Bulletin 112 (1925): "Color effect a lavender-white plicata. S. White bordered hortense violet, beautifully ruffled. F. white, with deeper hortense violet, slightly purplish tinged plications." Who would have thought, "hortense violet"? Mrs. Horace Darwin. 1888. Horace Darwin was a son of Charles Darwin. I guess in those days, some flowers were named for women without actually using the woman's name. In this case, from wikipedia, Mrs. Horace Darwin was " Emma Cecilia "Ida" Farrer (1854–1946), daughter of Thomas Farrer, 1st Baron Farrer in January 1880, later Lady Ida Darwin". Then again, she got a flower named after her. . Shannopin. 1940. All photos are via the Old House Gardens website, linked above. These went into the iris raised bed. There were other plants occupying the spots where I wanted to place these. Some simple transplanting was done.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Home Orchard. Progress Report.

Charlotte peach. There is some leaf curl. Not too bad. I hope this year the 3 peach trees adapt and grow. Last year they didn't have much chance. Oregon curl free has barely grown. But does seem to be curl free. Indian blood peach had such a drastic root loss with transplanting, I'm surprised it's alive. It has a little leaf curl, not much.Little columnar apples. Blooming like crazy Less than 2 feet tall.Gage plum. One branch had flowers. Last year it was nearly destroyed by deer. Surprised it survived. I also have 2 seedling trees from fruit from this tree.Graft on asian pear. WIll it take? Too early to say.Mulberry. Moved it here from Vancouver last summer. Mulberries are reported as late to leaf out. Starting too. Glad it survived.The little orchard. Although there are other fruit trees and vines on the property. I hope they settle in and grow nicely this year.Asian pear. Blooming nicely. Last year it had one pear. I planted a pollinating variety about 10 feet away, but few flowers and earlier. Hard to say what will happen as far as getting any asian pears. Next year or in 2 years the grafts should also bloom, if they take. That might help.

Raised beds. Progress report.

Iris raised bed. Growing nicely.Potatoes. Barrel, technically not a raised bed, but close enough.Onions, shallots, garlic, chinese chives. Very pleased.Various vegetables, bok choy, chinese cabbage, lettuce, beets, swiss chard, minimal snow pea growth, and odds and ends.

What's blooming?

Amanogawa cherry. This was bought as a close-out overwintered outdoors at the nursery. Turned out nice.  Pain, neuropathy, and fatigue are keeping me from doing much but I can take photos. I think the bees are flying past a neighbor's feral sweet cherry, much larger and many more flowers, for the Amanogawa.Asian pear.Bleeding heart.Cherry garden iris. This was also a close-out last summer. Diminutive. The first to bloom for me.Little columnar apple tree.Montmorency cherry. I moved this from Vancouver to Battleground last summer. Nice.Scilla.

Spring Photo 2014

Each year we have a photo with the dogs in front of the blooming cherry tree. Ten years ago I thought the tree was on its last legs. Better now than ever.


Monday, April 15, 2013

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Beekeeping. Progress Report.

Today was 2 days after installation of the bee colony. Time to check. The main issue is removal of the queen cage. If she's in it, it's time to release her into the colony. As it turned out, the candy plug was gone. I did not poke through the colony to find her. Too much disruption in that. The way they are clustered together, I'm thinking the queen is at the center of the cluster. Hard to see due to lighting. Significant comb already made. Where do they get the energy and food to do that? I do have sugar syrup in the hive. In the morning, it was chilly and they were almost all in the hive. In the afternoon, it was warmer. I thought I saw a few foraging some dandelions. Not many. It's still chilly for foraging.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Front Yard

Tulips and sweet cherry.More tulips and another sweet cherry.Erythronium.

Monday, April 08, 2013

Beekeeping. Progress notes.

Here we are.  Bees are installed in their hive.  It wasn't difficult.  Afterwards, I sat in a chair an watched them buzzing around for 30 minutes.  I still tire easily.

Hard to see them.  By far the majority are inside the hive.  I sat the box under the hive so remaining bees could find their way to it.  After some exploring, they quickly learned where is the entrance.

The bee box contains about 3 pounds of bees.  That's thousands of them.  Plus the queen.  I was diligent about installing the queen per instructions.

Sunday, April 07, 2013

Walking around the place.

Red leaf ornamental plum. I thought I posted on this, when planted - August? - but could not find the post. I think this is "Crimson Point", a columnar plum. The flowers are as nice without petals, as with petals.Tamara rose. Cutting-grown, moved last summer. I thought it died. Growing nicely. Tamara is very thorny. Maybe that will deter deer.Iris pallida albo variegata. Rescued from the Vancouver place, was overgrown there. Coming back nicely. Beautiful foliage.Pieris, rescued from the Vancouver place last fall. It was declining badly. The red new growth is as nice as any flower. Recovering nicely.Pollinizer graft on Asian pear tree. Looks viable and growing. No way to know until it grows actively. Sometimes there can be enough moisture to support a small amount of growth even if a graft hasn't taken.Rhubarb at the Battleground place.Laburnum flower buds. This is going to be impressive.