Saturday, November 29, 2014

Apple scion, heritage varieties. 11.29.14

Apple Varieties.  Image Source:

Apple Varieties.  Image Source:
I discovered a company that sells apple scion wood, heritage varieties. in Maine.  I didn't count, looks like more than 50 varieties.  They are sold as 8 inch scion, shipped in March, order deadline is Feb 20th. 

I went through the varieties, and read the evaluations in Apples of North America, by Tom Burford.  That book reviews 192 "Exceptional varieties" of historic apples.

I know I can graft apples.  Of the apple grafts I made last year, 6 of 6 apple.  All grew vigorously.

First priority is disease resistance.  Especially fireblight, endemic around here.  No use growing a variety that will give years of frustration.  For example, Golden Delicious.  On the other hand, Liberty has never been affected, and bears well every year.

Second, I went for descriptions of exceptional or unusual flavor., or other exceptional traits.

Top choices, for now.

Granite  Beauty.  approx 1815.  Early bearing, moderately resistant to the major diseases.  Spiciness compared to "coriander or cardamom."

Keepsake.  1978.  A cross of NM 447 and Northern Spy.  Resistant to fireblight and cedar apple rust. Flavor described as "sweet, spicy, and strongly aromatic." states "Unattractive, irregularly shaped... Fine grained, hard, very crisp, juicy light yellow flesh. Strongly aromatic flavor. Very hardy...  Keeps in storage through April."

Priscilla.  1961.  Developed by the Purdue, Rutgers, Illinois consortium which specialized in disease resistant apples.  A seedling of 601-2 and Starking Delicious.  Described as "crisp and aromatic." states, "very resistant to fireblight."

Redfield 1938.  Wolf River X Niedzwetzskayana Red Crab,  NY program in Geneva.   Resistant to the major apple diseases.  Described as "red flesh, dry, very tart."  Leaves are red/bronze color, and flowers are large, deep pink. states "Medium to large...Dark red with dark red flesh. Juice is red. Not for fresh eating".

I may choose one or two more:

Porter.  around 1800.  Moderate resistance to the major apple diseases.  Taste "fine grain, crisp, tender juicy, subacid". states developed in 1840, "Pure yellow skin with crimson blush, tender, sweet... juicy..."

McIntosh seems passe, but is a standard.  1796, white flesh sometimes with red tinge.  "Fine grain, crisp, tender, subacid to sweet".  Moderate resistance to the major apple diseases.  The idea of growing an apple that has been around since 1796 is amazing.

Six seems like a lot.  They would be grafted onto one or two trees.

This is all speculation at the moment. 

Overwintering a chili pepper. 11.29.14

Red Portugal Chili Pepper.  11.29.14
This is a chili pepper plant I started from seed late December 2013.  I kept it on the front deck.  Others of the same variety, at the same time, went into a raised bed.  They bore well, but the container plant bore better.

As an experiment, I moved it into the sunroom for the winter.  It's been there for about one month.  Most of the chilis are ripe and can be used now, fresh chilis in November.

It looks a bit puny.  Some hobbyists grow their peppers into big shrubs, and keep them year round.  They may get peppers earlier, and later, than in-ground plants.

Peppers are normally grown as annuals, but I think they are tropical shrubs, that happen to bear in their first season.  So if they can be kept alive through the winter, they will be larger and more productive.

The negatives, this one at least looks kind of sad, except for the bright colorful fruits.  They are also aphid magnets.  No aphids on this one yet, possibly due to the fact it never went into the ground.

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Schlumbergera. 11.27.14

Schlumbergera.  11.27.14
This is my oldest Shlumbergera.  Started from cuttings, about 2003 I'm guessing.  Nice salmon color.  Just beginning to bloom.

No special care.  Outside East side of house in shade for the summer.  Water when I think of it  Bring back inside in October.

Progress Report and Review. Linden Trees. 11.26.14

Image source:

When we bought the 2 acres in Battleground, there were few trees.  One of the first things I wanted to do was get some started.  We took possession Summer 2013, July.  Not a good time to plant trees.  I did anyway.  During fall and winter, 2013, I planted 4 Tilia cordata "Greenspire", and 1 Tilia america "Redmond."  The Greenspire trees were close-out end of summer at Home Depot.  Redmond was mail order from an Oregon nursery, bought and planted in Dec 2012.

I had some reasons to choose lindens.    There is some nostalgia.  There were lindens on my street, in my boyhood neighborhood.  My street was named for them.  Linden flowers are used in herbal teas (tisanes), and are fragrant.  Linden flowers are considered prime nectar sources for honeybees.  Given the trees are 3-dimensional, and can grow to very large size, they have potential for far more nectar than 2-dimensional use of land for perennials or annuals.  Lindens grow in a wide range of climates, so they have a chance for a long future, even with climate change.   Planting any tree is an act of defiance against the selfish destruction of environment in modern times.  But I also want the trees to have a chance to contribute in other ways, and be adaptable to potential evolution of local climate.

Ancient linden from
 From University of Florida Extension, '`Greenspire' ...grows 50-75 ft tall, spread 40-50 ft, ...normally seen 40-50 feet tall with a 35-40-foot-spread...faster growth rate than the species...dense pyramidal to oval crown which casts deep shade...prolific blooms...small fragrant flowers appearing in late June and into July. Many bees are attracted to the flowers..."

Redmond American linden has similar growth characteristics, but with wider spread and much larger leaves.  Redmond is also considered an excellent nectar and pollen source for honeybees.  For American lindens, " When flowering, the trees are full of bees, hence the name Bee-tree; this species is favored by bees over others and produces a strongly flavored honey."

Linden flowers from
I had bought the Greenspire trees on deep discount, end of season.   This is almost a worst-case scenario.  At end of season, the roots are wound around the pot, increasing risk for self-girdled, self-killed trees.  Cutting off the winding roots, which I did, leaves the top out of proportion to the roots but is necessary for good future root spread and to prevent girdling.    In summer and fall, it's hot and dry, risking killing the trees shortly after planting them.  I did water frequently, and mulched generously.

All 5 trees settled in without a hitch.  Last year growth was so-so, enough to know they were establishing, but not super-fast.  None bloomed the first year.  The second year, they all grew much faster, putting on about 2 to 3 feet of growth.  I did give them organic nitrogen boosts in winter and spring, which may be why.  I watered frequently the first summer, but only a few times in summer 2014.  That is important - I read Greenspire and Redmond do not tolerate drought well.  They did fine.  The second year, none of the Greenspire trees had flowers.  The Redomond linden had several flowers.  Not dramatic, but I got to see some bloom on my own tree.
On the issue of nitrogen supplementation, there's this:  "Basswood is classified as a nitrogen-demanding species because it grows poorly on sites deficient in nitrogen. With increasing nitrogen supplies, basswood growth increases markedly, approaching a maximum radial increment when 560 to 670 kg/ha (500 to 600 lb/acre) of nitrogen are added. Basswood leaves have high contents of nitrogen, calcium, magnesium, and potassium at the time of leaf fall and they contribute most of these nutrients to the forest floor."  In my case, the added nitrogen was "pee cycling", with 2 liters, diluted to 2 gallons, and watered into the soil once in late fall and again in the spring.  From the same site, it is noted that basswood trees (Tilia americana) rate of growth is faster than other northern hardwood tree species.  That is important for me.  I want to see my trees grow.

Based on the first 2 years' experience with Greenspire and Redmond lindens, they settled in very well, had no summer or winter damage, and have made great starts.  Last winter, they tolerated the coldest winter conditions in local memory, without any damage at all.  If they continue to grow as well, I hope they will provide a little honeybee forage next year, and in the long run, will be my heritage as majestic trees for a future generation.

I haven't tried them yet, but basswood / linden leaves are edible for humans and animals, and reported as "tasty" "Edible raw or cooked you can make a salad using the leaves as the main ingredient like lettuce. Cooked they lose flavor and shrink in size considerably....  the flowers are edible raw or cooked a tea can be made from them. Two tablespoons per cup."  The author notes that the leaves have a mild flavor, slightly sweet, and tender.  He eats them at a small size.  The author also notes that the cambium is tasty as well, with a cucmber flavor.  Which reminds me, I need to check on the trunks to make sure they all have protective hardware cloth sleeves.  I wonder why deer didn't eat the leaves. 

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Apple Propagation. Some Experiments. 11.24.15

Apple graft removed from trunk of rootstock. 11.25.14

Apple sucker removed from trunk of rootstock.  11.25.14
 In March, I grafted a NOID apple from my yard, onto sprouts that had emanated from a culled Golden Delicious apple tree.  I don't know the rootstock - the tree was in the semidwarf range.  In 7 years, it gave no apples, and it had recurrent blight problems.  So I cut it down. 

This Spring, I saw sprouts that had grown up from the old rootstock.  I chose 2, and grafted a NOID columnar apple onto them.  The were 6 inches apart.  I thought, if only one grew, that was OK.  If both grew, I could cut off the smaller one.

Today, I dug out the smaller one.  These sprouts turned out to be attacked to the trunk, not more distant roots.  It was difficult to remove the grafted sprout with any intact roots.

It will be interesting to see if, in removing this one, I killed the other one.  It was more distal, so the taller one may have lost its main roots.  I did not dig further to find out.  It seems fairly attached to something in the soil.

There was also a small sprout.  I was not gentle, did not mean to keep it.  It looks viable, so I'll give it a try.

I have seen apples and peaches with this few roots survive and grow.  They are almost like a big cutting, but with a few roots already growing.  The most difficult part with cuttings is getting through the stage of initiating roots.  Once the first roots grow, they serve as the start for many roots.
Apple experiments, potted up.  11.25.14
These are now potted up.  I'll try not to expose them to too severe of a freeze.  They may take a while to grow.  If the rootstock heals and grows, I can use it for future grafting.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

More Winter Protection for Little Fig Trees. 11.16.14

Protection for small fig trees.  11.16.14

Rodenticidal Creature.  11.16.14
Very easy.  I upended some unused garbage cans over the little fig trees.  Held in place using concrete blocks.  That will give a little added protection from cold and wind and solar dessication.

The plastic sheets between the trees are there to kill grass.  They will remain in place until late winter / early Spring.  Then I can plant borage, phacelia, hyssop, or wildflowers, for bee forage.  Borage forage works especially well. 

Then, I can mow up and down the sides of the fig row, instead of around each tree.  Much easier.

The little cat appeared out of nowhere.  I think he / she lives under the deck.  Our cat disappeared a month ago, and now a new kitten has appeared.  I don't believe in reincarnation - but here we are. 

With so many mice and voles and baby rabbits, the little cat should have plenty of prey.  I've been giving her left over food from kitty cat.  She avoids me, but is letting me closer each visit.

I know cats are considered bad for wildlife, but there are so many little invasive mammals, I think it's OK to have her.  In the countryside, redators are needed to keep rodent populations in check.

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Horseradish. 11.16.14

Horseradish.  11.16.14
There are 4 plants I know of that are said to be better after a freeze.  One is American persimmon.  The others are Brussels Sprouts, Jerusalem Artichokes, and Horseradish.

I dug up one of the Jerusalem Artichokes - barely any to bother with.  I don't know why.  Might be the nitrogen boost I gave them.  I don't have any Brussels Sprouts or American Persimmon.

I planted the horseradish 3 years ago next to one of the little Cherry trees, to discourage moles.  Unless the mole likes piquant meals.  Now it's too close, and horseradish is difficult to get rid of once it starts.  Which is OK, I'll leave it there.

Here is what I dug out.  Nice and spicy hot.  Now to figure out how to make some horseradish sauce.

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Frosted Fig Trees. 11.13.14

Frosted Fig Trees.  L=Hardy Chicago.  R=Petite Aubique.  11.13.14

Frosted King Fig.  11.13.14
Last night there was a hard frost at 28° F.    The fig trees in Vancouver still had leaves which have not turned yellow or fallen.  I don't know the effect on the tree.  Some trees, if not dormant when they frees, can die.

Interesting to look at the difference.  Hardy Chicago, no damage.  Petite Aubique, leaves are frost killed.

It isn't the end of the world if there is freeze kill.  Just interested in the differences, and whether there is.

In the (South) back yard, King had some freeze killed leaves, while Lattarula, a few feet away, did not.

The one - year - old starts, Carini and Dominick, already went dormant and I placed them in the garage a few days ago.

Same with Smith, which has been dormant for a few weeks.

Carini is Sicilian.  Dominick is an Italian variety, otherwise not known what part of Italy.  Both were maintained by Italian Immigrants and their children/grandchildren for many decades.  Cuttings were via their proud families or friends in N. Jersey.

Hardy Chicago is also Sicilian.  Via New York, then Chicago. 

King is a California hybrid.  I suppose Petite Aubique is French, although it was mis-named and who knows.

Smith is a Louisiana fig, kept by family, reportedly introduced by the Becnel Nursery near New Orleans.   A Louisiana fig blogger reports that Smith was sold by the Becnel Nursery in Bell Chase, LA, and was a Croatian variety, while others thought it Italian.    Smith is not  on the LSU Ag Center fig pamphlet , or in an article in the Times-Picayune from last year, - apparently not widely grown.  According to Durio Nursery in Opelousas, LA, " Smith - A superior, old fig cultivar that has been in the Becnel family for over 100 years.  It is a big, flattened, yellow fig with brown shading.  The color of the flesh is a deep red and it has a drop of honey at the eye.  The quality of this exceptionally sweet fig is outstanding...considered "the best fig" by those who know and grow it in the parishes close to the mouth of the Mississippi river."  Coming from an area that is so much warmer than here - I still remember boot camp at Ft. Polk, LA, standing outside in formation in short sleeves, in January - Smith is unproven, probably untested here.  So I have one in the ground, and the other in container.
Frosted Lattarula Fig.  11.13.14
 I've kept fig trees in garage for the winter, many times.  It's an attached, but otherwise unheated garage.

Lattarula is more difficult to figure out the provenance.  It is the same fig, grown by Thomas Jefferson at Marseilles, as "White Marseilles".    It's also called "Blanche", "Italian Honey Fig", and "Lemon Fig".    This tree is well known for this area (as is King), so I imagine the frost won't bother it this year either.  It's been through worse.

Fig Starts in Garage.  Dominick, Carini.  11.13.14

2 year old Smith Fig in Garage.  12.11.14

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Some Images from Vintage 11.11.14

Botanical - Flower - Daffodils - Advertisement 1913
Vintage images of Daffodils.  source:

Browsing, online source of vintage, public domain images that are free to use.

I enjoy these old images.  They involve much more effort, artistry, skills of observation, talent, than any photo.

These images relate to recent plantings.  They demonstrate the continuity of gardening through the ages.

Botanical - Flower - Fritillaria - Italian (1)
Fritillaria rubrum "Crown Imperial"  source

Fig Row. Final Fall Cleanup. 11.12.14

Fig Row.  11.11.14
Today I took a little time to clean up the row of fig starts.  Most have wire screens.  There has been no rain for  days, so grass was mowable. 

All mowed grass went into mulch.

Plastic covered areas will be used for bee forage next year.  Killing the grass with plastic cover for the winter.  Late winter I can plant the bee plants.  Most likely annual herbs such as I grew this year in other locations.

The end result will be a row.  Then I dont have to mow circles around the trees.  Much easier and faster, low maintenance.

They have all hardened off.  Not as soft as last year.  Most are about knee high to waist high.  Most are multiple trunk.

If there is super-cold predicted, I'll protect better.  Otherwise, the main protection is screening for herbivores.

Containerized fig trees are in shed now.  No need to panic when there is a hard freeze.  That method worked last year down to 8° F.

Prediction for tonight is 27° F.  I also moved containerized figs at home, into the garage.

Sunday, November 09, 2014

Orchard Cleanup. 11.9.14

Orchard Cleanup.  11.9.14
Not much to clean up.  I'm changing approach to soil surface.  Previously, I planted various herbs around each tree.  Now I wonder of the more aggressive of those - peppermint, spearmint, lemon balm - competed with the tree growth.  The soil is very soft and moist today.  So for the first row - Saijo persimmon and the 3 paw paws, I pulled out the herbs and covered with collected maple leaves.  That's the end of the leaves, so something else will have to serve the rest.

Previous mulches have done a good job.  Soil was very soft and crumbly - not soggy clay.

Reading some permaculture, I wonder if this is what some hobbyists call the start of a "food forest".

Propagation Progress Report. Trees and Shrubs. 11.9.14

Forsythia Cutting at about 10 months.  11.9.14

Ginkgo biloba seedlings at about 2 years.  11.9 .14

Laburnum Cutting at about 2 years.  11.9.14
Today I dug up some of the starts I had around the yard  Some were in a vegetable bed that I want to re-orient to vegetables next spring.  Some were in a hedge row and had been chewed by herbivores (Laburnums).  The gingkos needed to come out of the iris raised bed before the roots extended past the chicken wire bottom.

I planted one forsythia start where I dug out the laburnums.  The other is shown here.  I repotted with intent to give more TLC next year for faster growth.

Similar for the ginkgo seedlings.  These have good root systems.

One laburnum was especially chewed up.  So much for them being toxic and repelling herbivores.  The other had more roots than expected for size.

Not bad for not trying all that hard.  Especially the forsythias - all I did with those was stick dormant prunings into the ground, late winter.

Laburnum Cutting at about 2 years.  11.9.14

Repotted Plant Starts.  11.9.14

Saturday, November 08, 2014

Raintree Order. 11.8.14

I placed the following order.  Raintree usually delivers in Feb, around here.

4 variety semidwarf apple.  Replaces my graft that died.  Given the deer, I wanted something bigger than the minidwarfs.  Less trouble even though taller.  This one is Akane, Chehalis, Honeycrisp, Beni Shogun.  All with some disease resistance.  Big enough for me to graft more down the road.   

Pixi Cot miniature apricot.  For container since in ground ones always die in late freeze.

Arbiquina Olive.  For container.  We saw lots of containerized olives in the Mediterranian last month.  I can bring it inside for hard freeze weather.

Early to order. Gives me something to look forward to.

Fall Chores. Leaf Harvest. Mulch. Perennial Border. Tree Progress Report. 11.8.14

Tree Row.  11.8.14

Tree Row.  11.8.14
 Leaves are collected from the big maple.  It took some effort.  It's our tree, but near the neighbor yard.  If I don't get them, they collect and burn.   I don't want to argue.  So I collected when I could.  This was a lot of leaves, none the less. 

Instead of a large leaf pile for compost, I piled them around trees and shrubs for mulch.  Seedlings of weeds were beginning to grow in the grass clipping mulch I applied early summer, now wet.  The leaves will kill those weeds and add more nutrients to soil.  The worms will like them.  Once I mow, it will look neat.

Tree row - most look good, becoming established nicely.  Linden, laburnum, Crimson maple, Mountain Ash, all excellent growth.
Front Perennial Border, West  11.8.18

Front Perennial Border, East.  11.8.18
The only tree in this row that didn't make it was Kousa Dogwood.  My fault for not being aggressive about root pruning when I planted it.  Now replaced by Japanese maple, a volunteer from Vancouver yard, has a lot or promise and surprisingly large in its 3rd year.  Will need some formative pruning winter, no problem.  That one has nice green stems and reddish fall leaf color, weeping branches.  Nice.

Front border, the big western end is done.  Added cedar chips on top of the pine needles.  The pine needles were too sparse, would have allowed weed seedlings.  I hope this is low maintenance for a long time. 

The eastern end hasn't been started.  I have to pace myself.  Want to today but it's 1:00 and a ton of homework to do. 

I love the fog in the fall mornings.  Peaceful, soothing, mellow.

Fall in the Orchard. 11.8.14

North Side of Orchard.  11.8.14

Wild Plum Seedling.  2 years old.  11.7.14

Buddleia Windbreak West of Orchard.  11.8.14

Fig Row, South of House.  11.8.14
 Some views of mini orchard spread around the yard.  This is end of the 3rd summer here at Battleground, so many of the trees have had 2 full years to acclimate and grow.

Pawpaws were planted the first summer.  Never having grown them, and read about difficult to get started and slow to grow, I'm pleased they have done this well.  The smallest is Rebecca's Gold, about one foot tall.  NC-1 is the largest, about 4 foot tall.  Sunflower, about 3 foot tall.  I'm also pleased about the persimmonsNikita's Gift was so tiny I wondered if it would grow.  Now, sturdy and looking promising for future years, although  only about 4 foot tall.  Saijo is about 8 foot.  I did give  them - and the paw paws, organic nitrogen this Spring.

Peaches - Oregon Curl Free about 9 foot tall.  Charlotte about 8 foot tall.  Indian Free about 3 foot tall.  Q-1-8 in it's first year, grew rapidly, 5 foot tall.  The only one of the 3 older trees to have bad leaf curl was Charlotte.  That was also the only one to have peaches - only 2 - this is only the 2nd year old for these.

 Wild Plums, the largest seedling is about 8 foot tall.  This is 3rd year from seed, the first being in container.   There are 3, only one in a prime location for sun and with protection.  Deer eat up to about 4 feet, but the top looks very good.

Other plums, Stanley didn't bear but is very large now, mature looking tree.  Has spurs with promise for flowers.  Satsuma died.  Replaced with cutting-grown Hollywood, 1 foot tall 1st year from cutting.  Toka was best tasting, 3 plums. 7 foot tall.  Methley, no plums, growth now 5 foot tall.  NOIDs already on property, the smallest / deer mangled fully recovered and above the usual deer browsing height; the largest had only about 4 plums.  Now both with multiple bud grafts of other varieties. 

Cherries, lots of deer browsing.  Very discouraging.  The sweet cherries and tart cherries need better protection.  Sweet cherries did establish well, now about 5 foot tall.  Central leads are good, branches browsed to within the narrow cages I installed on these.   Montmorency did very well when I got the deer fence in, 8 foot tall and lush.   I can buy more fencing if I use the truck to commute this week.  North Star and Almaden Duke unprotected browsed nearly to death, we'll see what happens next year.  Both have some bud grafts that are looking tenuous, we'll see.

Apples, this is first year for most.  Wondering if minidwarfs are a good idea.  The dwarfs - JonaRed - shipped from Starks, excellent growth, and multi-graft disease resistant, Rubinette, Pristine, and Queen Cox, shipped from Raintree, almost as good.  The columnar apples, planted at about 18 inches tall their first year, now about 3 foot tall, Golden Sentinel had one apple - very good, Scarlet Sentinel had none.  They are in cages.
Illinois Everbearing Mulberry and NOID Forsythia. 11.8.14

Figs, South of house, recovered from frost kill.  Sal's was not frost killed, now 4 foot.  Tiger, Carini, Smith all grew multi-trunks to 2 or 3 foot.  Petite Aubique, 18 inches, but sturdy.  I'm in process of installing gnaw-screens as leaves fall.  When colder, plan to add inverted trash can protectors for the young ones, and chicken wire or bird net to deter deer and rabbits, for Sal's.  Plan next year- replace the NOID with Lattarula from container, in Spring.  Maybe add one more to row, Dominick.   If any die back again maybe replace with Dominic instead of adding one more.

Buddleia hedge grew to 8 foot tall, for those in 2nd year - Blueberry and Peach Cobbler varieties.  They weren't all that attractive, but the windbreak will be useful.  That side is source of wind.  Honeycomb, in 2st year, grew about the same as the others did last year.  Anticipate pruning all back, so they can grow bushier and not over-tall.

Illinois Everbearing Mulberry, not in the 5 X 5 grid but nearby.   Now 8 foot tall.  Had some nice mulberries this year.  No dear browsing.  Most branches probably too tall.  It may be hard to install bird netting next year due to height, but I should try. 

Tuesday, November 04, 2014

Plant labels. 11..4.14

 Something to do when ill or otherwise laid up, and still having to do with gardening.  These are among the few types of labels I've used that last a long time.  They have little wires to attach to trees or plant stems.  Once the label is in place, it helps me keep track.  My memory of garden plants is good, but labels help a lot.

GInkgo biloba Tree. Started from seed approx 1996. 11.4.14

This is my favorite time of leaf color change for ginkgo.  When there is green and yellow in each leaf.  The yellow coloration starts at the outer margin, and works its way proximally to the stem.

My dad gave me the seed for this tree in about 1996 or 1997.  I started it in a flower pot when I lived in Chicago, and brought it to Vancouver WA in 2000. 

This is my favorite of all trees.

Sunday, November 02, 2014

Puttering, a little. Tree protection. Bearded Iris Seeds. 11/2/14

No photos today.  Mostly homework, and fatigue.  Today the fatigue is rather bad.

I did cut more 1/4" hardware cloth sleeves to protect trees.  As long as I do a few at a time, I can get most protected before the coldest weather sets in.  Many already have sleeves from previous years.  The largest Greenspire linden needed more room, I added a larger sleeve for that tree.  Most of the figs and fruit trees are protected.

I also moved some fencing loops to shrubs that the deer like.  No effort.  I used those to support plastic tunnels last winter.  Coincidence, they are good size and shape to protect some shrubs.
Image of German Water Vole.  via

I've come to regard protection from animals as an inseparable dimension in gardening, equal to mulch, fertilizer, water, pruning.  In town, sometimes not such an issue.  In the country, it is.

Rain is near continuous now.  I like that.  It ranges from mist, to drizzle, to pouring, with some breaks in between.  Even in rain and overcast, sunroom is suprisingly bright.

Finally planted some bearded iris seeds.  Only a few seeds, from Pallida dalmatica.  No way to know if it was self pollinated or cross pollinated.  I would bet self.  If they grow, we may find out in a few years.

The image is not one of our local voles.  I image they look similar.  This one is a German water vole.   Despite their compelling cuteness, voles are not wanted.  They can kill a 10 year old tree by girdling the bark, in one night. 

That's about all. 

Saturday, November 01, 2014

Puttering. Leaves, bulbs, moving perennials. 11.1.14

No pics this time.

I raked leaves from big maple.  It's about half done dropping leaves.  I used them for mulch for a dozen trees and shrubs. Good timing.  The grass clipping mulch had many small seedlings sprouted.  Now those are buried under leaves.

I did a 3-way move in front bed.  Buddleia Blue Chip should only be about 3 feet tall, but I did not account for 3 foot spread.  I moved that to a different bed with more room.  Next to it was a small Stella D'Oro daylily.  There are several yellow daylilies in the front bed.  I moved it to the location where I had a brick red Chicago Apache daylily, moved Chicago Apache to the location where the Buddleia was, and planted Spring bulbs in the spot where the Stella D'Oro daylily was.  It's nice to plant things that I was growing elsewhere.  Kind of like a gift from friend or relative, but it was from me.  I like the Chicago Apache, the flowers are big and showy, but it was in a spot where it was difficult to see.  It will show up better in front of the sunroom.  The bright yellow of the Stella D'Oro will show up better there. 

Finally, I planted more bulbs.  Sale at Fred Meyer and Lowes. 

Daffodil / Narcissus King Alfred 8 bulbs planted as one cluster
Daffodil / Narcissus Jetfire 18 bulbs planted as 2 clusters
Daffodil / Narcissus Ice Follies 18 bulbs, planted as 2 clusters
Allium Purple Sensation 6 bulbs, planted as 1 cluster. 

Total = 50 bulbs, so fall 2014 total is 214.  It's not as difficult as it sounds.  Digging with a shovel for planting clusters, instead of individual bulb digger or trowel for each bulb, is much easier.  Plus this was extended over more than a month, and largely as breaks from homework.

In the Spring, if I am able, I want to move a couple dozen clumps of Hyacinthoides and maybe a dozen clumps of Narcissus, from Vancouver house to Battleground.   Both are not liked by deer, rabbits, or voles.   Moving the clumps when they are about 3 to 6 inches tall, digging deep and taking the clumps intact, they move nicely and bloom the same Spring like nothing changed.  Plus they look established like they were there a long time.