Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Kitchen Garden.


Now picking a couple of zucchinis a week.  We've eaten 4 nice zucchinis.  At the moment, all of the flowers are male.  The yellow ones are more tender.

Blueberries are in full season.

Mulberries are near the end.

Shiro plums are in full season.

We are getting a few figs a week.

Starting to get more Sungold tomatoes.

It's nice.

Bee forage. Jul 31.

Melissa in bloom.  Lemon Balm.
Melissa just started blooming.  Not many bees on it yet.  Mostly bumblebees.  Bumblebees seem to be less picky.

Same for this small patch of peppermint.  Its away from the hive so they may not have found it.

Spearmint is not yet blooming.

Honeybees continue to concentrate heavily on Caryopteris and oregano.  They also frequent Lavender flowers.

And actively forage dandelions, in heavy bloom, and thistle, at its peak. 

Bumblebees occasionally feed on the buddleia hybrids.  Not heavily. I had better hopes for them.

They seem unaware of wild carrot, blooming heavily.
Mentha in bloom.  Peppermint.

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Fresh fruit today.

Fresh fruit today

Plum "Shiro", Lattarula figs, wild blackberries

Lattarula and Petite negri / Aubique petite figs

Tomato "Black Prince"

Good time for fresh fruits.  Shiro is so juicy it takes a towel to eat it.  First large tomato of the year, Black Prince.  I had a few Sungold and a couple Super Sweet 1000 yesterday.  So good....  Now I know why I do this.

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Honeybees on oregano

Honeybees foraging oregano
Interesting to look at the pollen-filled "saddlebags".  Those represent a lot of pollen collecting by the hard working honeybee.

Lots of honeybees on the oregano flowers.

Viewing the enthusiasm honeybees show for oregano, I should plant a lot more of it next year in the bee garden.  It's a bit too big for the iris / culinary herb beds.

Friday, July 26, 2013

Iris Bed #3. Moving established clumps.

Iris Clumps about to be planted.

Iris "American Classic" in new location.
 These are bearded Irises, moved from Vancouver to Battleground.  They needed more room. I'm phasing out some of the plantings at Vancouver, for lower maintenance there.  At the Battleground place they will have a lot more sunshine, and more room.  These clumps were 2 to 3 years old.

I moved "American Classic", "Kissed by the Sun", and the heritage variety, "Accent".

Of these, the "American Classic" and "Accent"  are very vigorous.  :Kissed by the Sun" is not.  That one might or might not have a blooming rhizome next year.  The others look like they will have 4 to 7 blooming rhizomes.

I dug these up.  Tried to get all of the roots with minimal disturbance.  Placed into plastic bags, transported, and planted them with as minimal disturbance as I could.  Trimmed off leaves with leaf spot infections, and watered them in.

Hot day, mid 80s.  Since they had minimal disturbance, I think they will be impressive next year.

Irises re-planted.  "Accent", "American Classic", & "Kissed by the Sun".
This bed is gradually becoming Iris Bed #3.  It will be mostly modern varieties.  There are a few heritage varieties in
this bed as well.

Iris Tags.  Purchased May 2012

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Fruit from the garden

Lattarula figs, Shiro plums, Blackberries


NoID Plum
Fresh fruit from the garden.  Lattarula figs, Shiro plums, wild Himalayan Blackberries.

Mulberry has a few remaining berries.

Unknown plum variety at the Battleground place.  Still very firm.  Next year maybe there will be more bees and more flowers on nearby pollinating varieties.

Crimson Pointe plums
 I've been waiting for the 4 plums on the "Crimson Pointe" ornamental plum to ripen.  Last week they were rock hard.  Today there were none on the tree.  I found 2 on the ground, rinsed them off, and ate them.  They were absolutely delicious - tasted like red wine.  Mildly sweet, mildly sour.  Perfect balance.  I just planted this tree last year.  It's not listed as an edible plum.  That's possibly because they fall off when ripe.  But those plums were so good.

Culled Fig Tree Starts. Fig Mosaic Virus

Culled due to FMV
These fig starts are about to be culled.  They have much less vigor, compared to the others I started.

From what I read, FMV is ubiquitous.  Fig Mosaic Virus.  So I shouldn't need to worry about transmitting virus from one to another.

However, I also read there are multiple viruses that cause Fig Mosaic Disease.  What happens with infection by multiple viruses?
Fig Mosaic Disease

Since these are growing so poorly, I will discard them.  Most are Violette de Bordeaux.  One or two are Black Marseilles.

Disappointed, but this is responsible garden epidemiology.

I have Petite negri (possible Aubique pettite) which is very productive, despite evidence for FMD.  Young King Fig (Desert King) shows FMD, but grows out of it and is very vigorous.  But these starts have had their chance, and I don't want to, possibly, add new infections to my collection.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Bee forage now. Late July.

Oregano flowers
I should keep better track of what is blooming, what has foraging bees, and what doesn't.

Oregano just started blooming.  I don't have a lot of oregano, but they are covered with honeybees.

Lavender is blooming.  Lots of honeybees and bumble bees.

Caryopteris continues blooming.  Honeybees and bumble bees.

Shallots just stopped blooming and have set seeds.  They bloomed about 2 or 3 weeks.  They were covered by honeybees.

Chinese chives are almost finished blooming.  I don't have a lot.  They should be more prolific next year.  Bees foraged the chive flowers frequently.

White clover and dandelions - occasional bees.

Catnip - starting to bloom.  Occasional honeybees and occasional small pollinating bees.  As these continue to bloom, bees are more active on the catnip blossoms.

Buddleia - rare bumble bee visitors.  In full bloom now, although "Miss Molly" and "Miss Ruby" are dwindling a bit.  "Blueberry Cobbler" just started.

Sweet alyssum, thyme, marigolds - I have not seen bees visiting these.  They are in full bloom.

About to bloom:  Lemon Balm, Peppermint, Spearmint.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Sun Screen for Black Plant Containers

Reflective, insulating sleeves
This was a bubble-pack type material with reflective mylar surface.  I originally bought it to cover the copper beehive roof.  Without the cover, the roof was to hot to touch.  With the cover, it was cool to the touch, under the insulating material.

The black containers dry out too fast.  Sometimes I can't keep up, especially on hot days.  So I made sleeves for the containers.  They are held in place with reflective duct tape.  With the reflective, insulating sleeves in place, I can water less frequently.

It's possible the warm soil helped the trees grow faster.  It's OK if they slow down now.  They will need to harden off for winter.  New, rank growth might not harden off as well, so it's time to slow down.

Tigridia 2nd year. Ginkgo seedlings.

Tigridia and Ginkgo biloba
I read that Tigridia won't survive a wet winter, so I treated these as annuals last year.  They were planted in a barrel among ginkgo trees Ning was growing - seedlings I started several years back.

Ning moved the ginkgos to Battleground, and planted in his perennial garden.  Intent is to keep them pruned as small trees.  Interesting, the tigridia came back, blooming among the ginkgos.

Transplanting Borage

Borage in container
 I read that Borage can't be transplanted, so needs to be grown from seed in situ.  This plant was at the local farmer's market in a small container.  Looked droopy.  I planted in a larger container, gave some TLC (code name for Miracle-Gro 1/4 teaspoon per gallon, with each watering) and had it on the deck.  It filled in and now is covered with flower buds.

Since it survived that transplanting, I think it will survive being planted in the iris bed.  I was gentle with flipping it out if the pot.  Tried not to disturb roots.

I read this is a great bee plant.  There are others nearby, almost in bloom.  This was a challenge I wanted to try.
Borage planted in Iris bed.

Smith Fig Tree Graduation. Now into the real world of in-ground FigTrees.

Smith Fig.  View of roots.
Too many trees on the deck.  With 2 Smith Fig trees, about equal size, I decided to plant one at the Battleground place.  Original plan was overwinter and wait until Spring.  However, by planting one in-ground now, I have a chance to see if it will survive winters here.  If not, I can keep the other in container and overwinter in garage.  Or not - might be too much trouble.

If it has a chance to harden off, I think it will survive the winter.  No "TLC" plant food now.  Just water to keep it alive and let roots grow into surrounding soil.

Root close-up

It is not root-bound.  Some winding roots.  This is one of the few cases of my planting without slicing into the root ball, or teasing them apart.  Fig roots are aggressive, so will have no problem growing outward.  Some references recommend intentionally confining the roots, to restrict growth.  I don't want to reduce feeding roots during Summer planting.  I did the same procedure with Carini fig.  It wilted a little.  Not much.
Smith Fig.  Now in the ground.
Fig Grove #1
I mixed a little homemade compost into the fill soil.  Not much.  I poured 2 gallons of water into the hole to soak in.  Then placed tree into hole, filled in with mildly amended original soil, watered in, and mulched with straw.

Smith is an old heritage family variety in Louisiana.  Some wriers state Smith is the best of all figs.  Some of that could be variety, soil, climate....  Will it do well here? Survive winter here?  This is an experiment.  Buff or yellow skin, red inside.

The little fig grove.  From close to distant (front to back), Carini, Petite negri (possibly re-identified as Aubique petite - via Figs4fun website), Smith, Sal's.  Behind Sal's, not visible, is truncheon cutting, now growing, Lattarula.  I may add one final tree but the spot is not perfect due to shade via a growing cherry tree on neighboring property, south of the fig grove.

This is a nice spot.  Mild grade, down-slope to west and south.  South of house, so warmer in winter.

Edit 7/25/13:  Planted LSU Tiger fig tree in the location where I had the Lattarula truncheon starts.  My goal was to dig up the Lattarula starts and give them TLC for faster growth.  However, they do not appear to have roots.  I can do much better with fresh starts, can think about that next year.  Meanwhile, the row is completed, with 3 new fig tree starts, and the 2 existing small trees started previous years.  LSU Tiger is usually just called  "Tiger".  Since Panache is also sometimes called "Tiger" - incorrectly -  it's less confusing to add the "LSU".  Which also designates the origin for this variety.

Monday, July 22, 2013

Buddleia planted last week.

Buddleia X Blueberry Cobbler
This was a TLC plant on the deck.  It grew rapidly and came into bloom before it's in-ground siblings.

Just one problem.  This was sold ad "Peach Cobbler"  From the photos on line, it's really "Blueberry Cobbler" - not nearly as much to my liking.

Still maybe it will provide some nectar.  It was wilting rapidly in the container.

I planted it in the ground last weekend.  In-ground, the roods should spread further, the moisture is not as confined, and the roots are in relatively cooler ground, so it won't be as much effort to water until established.  Once established, it should almost never need watering.

Gave it some compost and mulch.  

So far I've seen bumblebees and butterflies on the buddleias, but not honeybees.

Iris Bed. New additions from Schreiner's.

New Iris Order from Schreiner's
 Iris order from Schreiner's came today.  As in previous years, the rhizomes are very big, firm, clean.  The leaves are green.  The packaging breathes, so they don't start rotting in shipment.  I don't think anyone does as good a job packaging and shipping iris rhizomes.

They sent a bonus rhizome - variety "Red Dirt Road".  Looks like a beautiful variety.  I added it to what will be iris bed #3.

New Irises, Planted.
The new rhizomes are planted.  I removed a large variegated, scented geranium.  Last weekend I moved out two large lemon balm plants.  They went to the orchard, fruit tree surrounds.  Much too big for the iris bed.  The chives may have to go soon too.  Or I can arrange differently.  Oregano also grows too large for this arrangement.

This bed is getting close to capacity.  I might change the arrangement of herbs next year, so they don't crowd the irises.  The big leafy plant is swiss chard.  It will come out soon.  Tasty in stir fry.

The white material is crushed eggshell.  Pacific NW soils are reported to be calcium deficient, so I save eggshells, dry them, crush in a large mortar and pestle, and sprinkle them liberally over the soil.  They will gradually mix into the soil and won't be visible, in a few weeks.

The miniature marigolds grew nicely and are blooming.  They have a nice marigold leaf smell.  Makes me wonder why buy marigold plants, when they do so well from seeds.

Carini Fig Update

This Carini fig tree is knee height now.  It wilted a bit after transplant but perked up with watering.  

This is the "backup" Carini fig tree.  It will stay in th garage over winter.  Next year if the in-ground tree survives winter, this tree may be a gift.

This one has been given to a gentleman in Washougal.  One less to take care of.  I'm a  bit overwhelmed by keeping them watered now.

The Carini figs are from Frank in New Jersey. A family variety, having been passed down generations.  Originally from Carini, a town in the Palermo region of Sicily.  Has not been tried in Pacific NW before.  All grew of the cuttings grew nicely, no evidence at all of FMV.  All have some small figs.  Maybe there will be a taste of these in a month. or two.

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Clerodendrum bungei

Clerodendrum bungei.
For the moment, it's a deck plant.  Listed as highly deer resistant.  Due to scent of leaves and flowers.  Very fragrant flowers.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Butterflies love Buddleia

 Buddleia X "Blueberry Cobbler"

Buddleia X "Blueberry Cobbler"

Buddleia sterile hybrid "Blueberry Cobbler" just beginning to bloom.  The flowers are uch larger compared to "Miss Molly" and "Miss Ruby" with the difference that those 2 varieties were bough in bud this Spring, while the Blueberry Cobbler was bought during the winter, with the blossoms on new growth.  I've seen a few bumblebees on these Buddleia but no honeybees, yet.

First fig. More mulberries.

First fig of the year.  Lattarula.
 For some reason I've been sick the past couple of days.  Something to cheer me up - the first ripe fig of the season.  Like last year, Lattarula was first.  Big, heavy, sweet.
Lattarula. Juicy and sweet.
 Someone feels the need to be in the picture.  Always nearby.  This fig was eaten within a minute.
More mulberries.  "Illinois Everbearing".

 Yesterday, from the Battleground place.  Every few days, a handful of mulberries.  Flavor as appealing as figs.  Very tasty.

The first fig last year was July 28th.  Se we are about 10 days ahead.  Sweet.

Saturday, July 13, 2013

Hazelnut trees. Nine months later.

Hazelnut volunteer
 These are the Hazezlnut trees I moved last fall.  The 2 named varieties, larger trees, didn't grow much.  Ennis has a fair number of ripening hazelnuts.  Butler has one or two   The volunteer hazelnut tree grew like gangbusters, sturdy and fast.  It's over 6 foot tall.
Ripening Hazelnuts

Hazelnuts.  Butler and Ennis.

Carini Fig. Planted in-ground.

Carini fig
This is one of the Carini fig trees.   I started them from cuttings this winter.  I planted it in-ground today.  Most of the cuttings will remain in containers until Fall or Spring.  This start is knee-high.  I planted in the native soil, mulched with an ince of home made compost, then mulched with home made grass straw.    Watered deeply.

Since this grew nicely, but the growth looks like it will harden off before Winter, I think it's OK to plant it in ground.   This location is South of the house.  Full sun. There is room for a row of about 6 fig trees.  So far the row has a Sal's, Petite negri, and 2 other starts.  I plan to move those starts out, and replace with a Smith, Atreano, and Champagne.  Plan subject to change as seasons pass.

Novel Fig Morpholigies. Hardy Chicago.

 The Hardy Chicago has a number of oddly shaped figs this year.  Here are a few I found.  Probably no effect on taste, so I'll leave them on the tree to ripen.