Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Bearded Irises. 5.24.17

Sans Souci in front of Indian Chief.  5.23.17

Seedling, Immortality X Sunny Disposition.  5.23.17
 Since the bearded irises are not doing well in their raised beds, I'm going to move them to the edge of the woods and let them live or die as they see fit.  In my neighborhood, there are lots of big clumps of bearded iris, doing very well.  I've stuck some rhizomes in our fence row, and they grow, spread, and bloom in the grass.  I don't know why they don't flourish in the raised beds. 

Interestingly, one of the better bloomers this year is a hybrid I made several years ago from white "Immortality" crossed with yellow "Sunny Disposition".  This came out white with yellow beard, and the petals are more substantial than either parent.  It's fragrant, too.  But the leaves are ugly.

Maybe as long as they have full sun, they can be in the most neglected part of the yard.  We'll see.

Indian Chief.  5.23.17

Milkweed Plants, year #3. 5.24.17

Milkweed Asclepias syriaca.  Year#3.  5.24.17
These are common milkweed, Asclepius syriaca, that I grew from seeds in 2015.  They have a beautiful, unique, fragrant, pink flower.  During their first year, the plants were delicate-looking, very thin fragile stems and small plants.  During their second year, they grew much sturdier stems, and bloomed during the summer.    Flower photo is same plant, July 2016.

Last fall, I dug up two of the milkweed plants, and transplanted them to a front yard flower bed.  They do not appear to have survived.  I read they are difficult to transplant, interesting for such a sturdy-looking plant.

These plants seem to be the last to start growing.  They must need a lot of warmth to break dormancy.  Almost everything else has leafed out, before the milkweeds showed any sign of life.  I thought they were dead.  The same thing happened last year.  Then I was walking around, and saw they fooled me once again. 

Asclepias syriaca.  Jul 2016.

Monday, May 22, 2017

Late blooming fruits, and developing fruits. 5.22.17

Persimmon Nikita's Gift, flower buds.  5.21.17
 The late blooming fruits are not affected by early spring rains, which gives them a better chance compared to Asian pears, plums, peaches, and cherries.  The persimmons have lots of nice flower buds.  Some of those, and some leaves, have hail damage, but I think most should pull through.  Some fruit trees, maybe most, don't bear the first year they bloom.  Yates American Persimmon has lots of little flower buds, for the first time.  So we'll see about that one. 

Grapes are an exception, usually bear grapes if they bloom, even the first year.  This is the first year they have a lot of flowers at the Battleground place.   Some are 2, 3, or 4 years from planting or cuttings.
Persimmon flower buds, Saijo.  5.22.17
Persimmon flower buds, Coffee Cake.  5.22.17

"Illinois Everbearing" Mulberry flowers.  5.22.17
 Mulberry tree is covered with flowers.  Looks very promising.

Early figs forming on "Lattarula".  5.22.17
Grape "Buffalo" flower buds.  5.22.17

Sunday, May 21, 2017

Tree Update. 5.12.17

Greenspire Linden, 5 years.  5.21.17

Above Greenspire Linden when planted on 9.8.2012
Redmond American Linden.  Planted Feb 23, 2013.  Now 5.21.17 
These are trees that I planted a few years ago.  I always wonder if I will live long enough to see nice trees, from the trees that I plant.  However, with some good fortune, and care, and careful choosing of the specimen and variety, a few years can make a dramatic difference.  I found photos from when I planted these trees, and linked to them.  They are becoming nice specimens now.

It's interesting that the tiny maple seedling has outpaced a 12 foot tall maple that we planted at about the same time.  Moving large trees, they are really set back for a few years.
Unidentified Seedling Maple.  5 years.  5.21.17

The dawn redwood is from last October.  It doesn't show up well in photos yet, so I took a photo of the foliage.
Dawn Redwood Foliage.  Planted Oct 2017, bare root.  5.21.17
Above Redmond Linden, the spring after planted, as of May 7, 2013
Above maple when transplanted, 10.7.2012, a volunteer seedling. 

Kitchen Garden. 5.21.17

Tomatoes.  5.21.17

Potatoes and Garlic.  5.21.17
Some life got in the way and I was delayed getting some of the gardening done.  Now, tomatoes are in their beds.  These are the plants I started about one month ago.  They made nice plants.  Also tomatillos and peppers.

The potatoes, onions, and garlic are doing nicely.

I gave up on potato onions, turned the soil over, and planted tomatoes in that bed.  Potato onions do not do well for me, even though I like the idea.

The first batch of sweet corn did not germinate well.  One row sort of germinated, and a couple of plants in a second row.  Might be old seeds or soil not warm enough, or birds ate them.  I planted more today, covered, and if they don't grow, I'll get new seeds.

The first batch of onions that I planted when I thought it was too early and chilly and wet, are way ahead of the later ones.

The peppers are in very-raised raised beds, 4 x 4 feet, made from used cement blocks.  These also have deer fencing.  The tomatoes are in raised beds that are protected from deer.  Animals don't seem to bother the potatoes and garlic, other than a little rabbit munching last fall.  Rabbits munched some of the onions at first, but now are leaving them alone.

Flowers blooming. 5.21.17

Iris but I forgot the name.

Red Peony

Snowball bush.  Gorgeous.  Viburnum "sterile".

One of the irises that survived in my iris bed.  "Gay Parasol".

Weigela.  I think it's "Wine and Roses" but I'm not sure.

Indian Runner Ducklings. 5.21.17

 I think they are about 3 weeks old now.  They grow very quickly.  They have lost their yellow color, and starting to fill in white and fawn color.  The hens ignore them, and vice versa.  One of the roosters asserted himself, but did not attack so I think they are OK.  First time floating, they do like the water.

Tuesday, May 09, 2017

Apple Blossoms. 5.7.17

I lost track of apple blossoms due to continuous rains.  I think the early ones may not have pollenized as well, due to rain, chill, and fewer pollinating insects.  The later ones might be better.

Completely done blooming:
Airlie (Arlie?) Red Flesh (same as Hidden Rose)
Golden Sentinel
Red Sentinel
North Pole.

At peak or a past peak:
Sutton Beauty
Queen Cox

Early to mid peak bloom:
Prairie Fire Crab (purely ornamental, no usable fruit at all)

A couple of grafts have just one or two clusters of flowers, so probably not good to judge, but are blooming now:
Newtown Pippin

Of grafts from 2015, there are some blooming this season -
Porter - one or two clusters

Grafts from 2015 that have not bloomed yet-
Granite Beauty

Grafts from 2015 that did not thrive, looked sick, so I removed:

Grafts from 2016 that are blooming - this is fast!
Arlie Red Flesh - nice dark pink flowers.  Rubinette also has dark pink flowers.

Monday, May 08, 2017

Pollinating Pawpaw flowers. 5.7.17

 I've been hand pollinating the pawpaw flowers for two days.  One of the challenges with pawpaws, is they don't self pollinate, bees are not attracted to the flowers, and most if not all require pollen from a genetically different variety.  The flowers first are receptive to pollen with a glistening stigma, then the stigma becomes non-receptive and the anthers bear pollen.  My observation is the flower is open and potentially receptive, one or two days before the pollen is shed.  The flowers do not open on the same day, instead blooming over a couple of weeks.  So if the temperature is not right, or if there is rain, all opportunity is not lost.

My trees for these varieties ("Sunflower" and "NC-1") were planted in 2012.  This is the third year they have bloomed, and this year is clearly the most prolific.  I also planted the variety "Rebecca's Gold" in 2012, it was then eaten off by a rabbit or deer, recovered, and this year is the first year that tree has bloomed.
In addition, I planted the variety "Mango" in 2015.  It bloomed in 2016 but not this year.  I planted the variety "Allegheny" in 2016.  It is not blooming.

Pawpaws do not transplant well, so they are planted when very small, and it takes more years to bear, compared to most fruit trees.

I should add that I have yet to see a ripe pawpaw in my orchard.  Will this year finally be the first?  I have noted that on the first, and sometimes second, year that many fruit tree varieties bloom, they do not set fruit.  Pawpaws are not native to the cooler maritime Pacific NW, and may have more challenges here than hot humid mid continent summers.  However, there are usually some ripe pawpaws at the Home Orchard Society fruit show, so I know that some people get them to grow and bear.

I use a paint brush to collect the anthers and pollen from flowers with ripe pollen, letting them fall into a white cup, then use a paint brush to transfer to flowers of the other tree.  Sunflower started blooming 2 days before NC-1, so this has been one-way so far.  However, Sunflower is also sometimes described as one of the rare self-receptive varieties, so I pollinated those with that tree's own pollen to see what happens.

Persimmons about to bloom. 5.8.17

New Growth with Flower Buds, Saijo Persimmon.  5.7.17

New Growth with Flower Buds, Nikita's Gift Persimmon.  5.7.17
 Persimmon trees are wise to the ways of Spring.  They wait to be among the last to bloom.  New growth has started.  Flower buds form in leaf axils of new stems.  It may be a month before they are fully open, but with nice warm weather and sunshine, possibly sooner.

I've never seen Chocolate persimmon bloom.  Since this cultivar has both male and female flowers, I'm guessing two shapes of buds represent the 2 sexes of flowers.

This will be the first time for Yates American persimmon.  Will there be fruit this fall?  If so, that will be my first taste of American persimmons.
New Growth with Flower Buds, Coffee Cake Persimmon.  5.7.17

New Growth with Flower Buds, Yates Persimmon.  5.7.17
Edit 5.31.17  I had incorrectly stated "Chocolate Persimmon."  This graft is the variety "Coffee Cake".  To make it even more confusing, "Coffee Cake" is probably more accurately called "Nishimura Wase", while "Chocolate" is probably  more accurately called "maru".  I tried to find scion for chocolate persimmon this year, but did not find any.  "Coffee Cake" needs a pollenizer for its best flavor, and neither Saijo nor Nikita's gift make male flowers, while "Chocolate" does.

Kitchen Garden. 5.8.17

It's been sunny and warm for three days. This was a good time to cultivate the kitchen garden. The potatoes and onions that I planted earlier this year are doing well. I hilled up the potatoes. With rain and winter, it was difficult to cultivate the garlic, which I planted in the fall. I weeded a couple of weeks ago, and today it just needed light cultivation. I planted out some collard greens seedlings, surrounding each with a dusting of blood meal that I found in the garage. The idea is to repel rabbits, which are prevalent in my garden. Then some organic slug bait. Slugs love cabbage family plants. Last year's collards are blooming. I intend to save seeds from those.

Collard Greens in Bloom.  5.7.18
I have mustard green seedlings to plant. 

The tomatoes are growing nicely in containers in sunroom.  Ditto for peppers.  Yesterday the soil temperature was 80 F, so I planted sweet corn, Trinity hybrid which is reported to tolerate chill, and which did well in 2015 and 2016.

More Lilac Blossoms. 5.8.17

 I  love this time of year.  Every day it seems something else blooms and demands attention.  Most of the lilacs are along the property's edge, intent is to have a blooming hedge when they fill in.

The  bottom photo is a lilac that was on the property when we bought it.  The bush was gigantic, with fallen over trunks several inches in diameter and around 15 feet tall.  I cut out the injured and dead  branches, and the shrub responded with vigorous, strong growth.  It's once again a massive lilac bush.  Deer don't touch it, unlike some of the newer types.

Sunday, May 07, 2017

Lilac Blossoms. 5.6.17

 These are the lilac bushes that I moved about 35 miles in Jan 2015, to the Battleground yard.  I think these bushes were about 10 years old, and very tall and heavy.  I took as much soil and root as I could.  I watered during the dry parts of summer.  All 10 of the bushes survived.  I think that's about all you can expect during the first year.  They are a bit scraggly but should fill in over the next couple of years.
 Meanwhile, we get to enjoy some flowers this year.  Deer usually don't go much for lilacs, but they ate some of the new succulent, lower growth, from these. 

The red/pink lilac is a modern Korean lilac, "Bloomerang™", promoted as reblooming and compact.  Nice flowers.   This is newer, about one year old.