• Last spring my garden is alive after along winter sleep. Plenty of work to be done. Planted many vegetable seedlings grown in the greenhouse. Lettuce, carrot (sowed direct into the ground), collard, kale, Swiss chard, corn, pumpkin, potato, beet, summer squash, tomato and leek. The garden is doing great. Just yesterday I harvested several zuccinni. Right away I made zuccinni chocolate cake. It is always a joy to be able to harvest from your own garden and cook with the vegetable that you grow yourself. Gardening is an excellent exercise for body and mind. Regardless how big or small your garden is.
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Spring is almost here

The sound of tree frogs croaking in the distant meant spring is almost here.  Time to think of gardening.

As usual every morning I would visit the greenhouse to look if the seedlings need watering.  While busy looking around, I notice a tree frog not far from the peat moss container.  It unusual to see one so close.  I let the frog out into the garden.

Tree frogs are only about an inch long.  Which makes them hard to see even where they are plentiful.  Ponds and wetlands where they can be heard croaking on wet nights especially if temperature is above 40F.  Although they are excellent climbers they are rarely found in trees.

The frogs can be found at night with flashlight by quietly following the sound to the source, although they will quit calling when searches get close.  During the day they can often be found under boards or other corner in or near wetlands.  Just about any wetland habitat with shallow standing water that does not dry up before June is good place to hear and find these frogs.

 
                                       Photo courtesy Chris Carney stock.xchng

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Photo Gallery of a Cherry-Plum Tree

When we discovered two small trees behind our workshop, pondering what variety are they.  Looking closely we thought it must be wild trees, as there so many growing on our property.  We, then, decided to let it grow and see what will develop  from these two trees.    Several years later, the trees have grown tall and bushy.  In the spring they produced magnificent white blossoms where bees enjoy visiting.  When the blossoms fade away tiny green fruit start to appear.   Gradually the fruit take its shape similar to cherry in size,  appearance characteristic of a plum as well as the taste.

I discovered after a thorough research it is a cherry-plum or in Latin Prunus Cerasifera,  also known Myrobalan Plum.   A deciduous tree belongs to the rose family (Rosaceae) will grow from 15 to 25 feet,   also great for screening.  Blossom start in February or early March depending where you live and last for three weeks.  Cherry-plum  tree prefer full sun or partial shade  such as ours.  The fruit is good for making jam or jelly as well as eating fresh.  Fruit mature in late summer.   The seeds dispersed by wild life, hence, a few of cherry-plum saplings growing around the property.  I dug them out, potted, share with friends.

Enjoy these photos of the cherry-plum trees growing in my property.

Happy gardening ……..

Unripe cherry-plum

Butterfly Garden

Butterfly with its dainty wings fluttering in the air.  Hopping from flower to flower feasting on sweet nectar.  Swallowtails, monarchs enjoying their leisure time in the  garden.  It is indeed a joy to see these beautiful creature in the garden. To keep them visiting often,  install a fountain, small pond or bird bath this would benefit the butterfly to linger a little longer.   Butterflies visit both fragrant and scentles flowers including white.  They seem to prefer small flowers or florets that are arranged flat, round or elongated clusters.  Appreciated, too, is a shelter afforded by tall hedge, sturdy wall, or a butterfly house.

Also,  growing these flowers in your garden will surely attract these gentle creature.

Daylily (Hemerocallis), prefer sun or partial shade.  Need fertile and well-drained soil.   Watch for trips which brown and disfigure the buds control them with soap spray.

Delightful lilac (Syringa), I love the sweet scent of this flower and butterfly seem to enjoy it too.    Lilac need full sun, good fertile soil and drainage.  Prune immediately after bloom by removing oldest stem.

lavender (Lavandula angustifolia). prefer fertile soil, well-drained, blooms in the summer.  Aromatic gray foliage.  Prune immediately after bloom to keep plants compact and neat.

Pansy (viola) prefer light shade, moist soil, plant no more than 6′ apart.  These flower looks pretty in hanging basket.

Snapdragon (Antirrhinum), prefer sun, sandy, humus rich soil, pinch plants when they are 3-4 inches tall for more bloom.

Sedum, “autumn joy”, flower in late summer or early fall.  Grows in full sun and in well-drained soil.  Wet soils especially in winter will cause rot at the crown, pest free, but watch out for deer, they will nibble on the tender crown.  Division is necessary to maintain good flowering.

Black-Eyed Susan (Rudbeckia Hirta), start seeds indoor or by young plants.  Grow in full sum or partial shade in average soil, well-drained or dry soil.  Plants usually survive winter, depending where you live.  Self-sow freely.  Long blooming and trouble-free.

Cosmos,  annual,  (cosmos bifintus and cosmos sulphureus), sow seeds indoors for early bloom, sow outdoors when soil warm or buy young plants.  Grow in full sun.  Don’t over fertilize soil, you will get more foliage than flower.  Tall variety need support.  Remove faded flowers for further blooming.  Put cut flowers in deep water to prevent wilting.

Marigold,  annual, sow seeds indoors 6 week in advance or directly sow outdoors after weather warms.  Plant in full sun in average soil.  Remove faded blooms for more flowering.  Good cut flowers.

Zinnia, (zinnia elegant hybrid), sow seeds indoors 4-6 week, or sow outdoors after last spring frost.  Grows best in warm weather in full sun, and in well fertilized soil.  Keep faded bloom picked for more flowering.  In cool, humid weather can be subject to powdery molds.

Butterfly House

 

Colorful Butterflies

Happy Gardening !

June Garden Calendar

First week spray for codling moth and scab in apple and pear trees.  Continue use of pheromone traps for insect pest detection.

If you have had problem with apple maggot insect, try coating three or four red balls with Tanglefoot (a sticky product like glue) and hanging them on the tree

Plant insectary plants to attract beneficial insects to your garden.

Learn to identify beneficial insects such as ground beetles, rove beetles, ladybugs and their larvae, lacewings and their larvae, minute pirate bugs, syrphid or flower flies, spiders and wasps.

Apply fertilizer to lawn.

When mowing never cut more than one-third of the grass-blade length.  If the grass is three inches long mow off one inch.

Control adult root weevils in rhododendrons, azaleas, primroses and other ornamentals.  Use beneficial nematodes if soil temperature is above 55F.

Remove seed pods after blooms have dropped from rhododendrons, and azaleas after blooming.

Prune lilacs, forsythia, rhododendrons, and azaleas after blooming.  Control garden weeds by pulling , hoeing, or mulching.

Sow the seeds of green beans, sweet corn and squash (summer and winter) directly into the vegetable garden,

Plant starts of tomatoes, peppers and eggplants.

Sow seeds of Zinnia,cosmos, sunflowers directly into the garden.

Plant cucumber around the middle of the month.  Cool temperature cause bitterness.

Continue to bait for slugs and snails especially around new plants.

Cut rhubab.  Cease harvesting when stalks begin to get spindly.  Trim off seed stalks.

Harvest ripe vegetables.  Thin future squash and pumpkin crops by cutting off blossoms.

Use netting to protect blueberry plants from robins and other birds who like the berries.

Trim watersprouts or suckers from the trunks of fruit trees.

To attract hummingbirds to the flower garden plant crocosmia, nasturtium, Salvia and penstemon.

Happy gardening !

January Garden Hints

Pacific Northwest with its temperate weather gardening can begin early.  Except of course on higher elevation.

  • Check with local retail garden or nursery stores for seed and seed catalogs and begin planing this year’s vegetable garden.
  • Have soil test performed on garden plot.
  • Where soil is well-drained and workable, plant peas and sweet peas.  Green Arrow shelling pea is my favorite.  Sugar Snap. 
  • Too early to start seeds for vegetable transplants.
  • Spray cherry trees for bacterial canker;  use copper fungicide with a spreader.
  • Mid-January second spray of peach trees with approved fungicides to combat peach leaf curl.
  • Plant deciduous fruit and shade trees.
  • Dormant sprays of lime sulfur or copper fungicide on roses for general disease control.
  • Watch for field mice damage on lower trunks of trees and shrubs.  Control with approved baits, weed control and traps.
  • Moss appearing in lawn means too much shade, poor drainage, low fertility, soil compaction or thin strand of grass.
  • Gather branches of quince, forsythia, flowering cherries and bring inside to force early bloom.
  • Monitor house plants for correct watering, feeding;  guard against insect infestations, clean dust from leaves.

Happy gardening…..

Winter Wonders

The Orchard looking west.

Strolling through the snow-covered garden with camera in hand ready to capture the beauty mother nature has created. 

 Looking around the garden,  discarded snow-covered logs stacked like a sentinel under a bare maple tree.  Frozen branches beckoning to be admired.  Tree moss swaying precariously on a tree branch.  Ice particles frozen on a birch dainty limbs.  The orchard desolate waiting for spring to arrive.  Snow is everywhere, even the pond behind the house is frozen.   Serenity is in the air,  waiting for a miracle to happen.   Indeed, an  enchanting winter wonders .

Copyright Images”

Frozen hazelnut catkins and spider web.

 

Frosted English ivy

 

Snow covered old logs

 
 

Frosted maple leave on a piece of wood

 

Frozen tree moss

 

Snow covered frozen pond

 

Frosted Indian plum blossoms

 

Japanese dwarf pine

 

Frozen birch trees

 

Into the snow......

 
 
 
 

Cherry Plum Tree

Because of a long wet spring,  the cherry-plum trees did not produce as many fruit this year.  a disappointment for me, no jam and chutney to make.   

In the early part of spring the trees were covered with beautiful white blossoms.  So I assumed there will be plenty of fruit.  Well, not at all because lack of bees to pollinate the blossoms.  I discovered, the bees only come by when is warm and sunny.  Sometime, though,  cloudy days the bees will pollinate.  But is seldom happen.

The above image is a cherry-plum fruit.  Fruit size similar to cherry, appearance of a plum including the interior, pit similar to cherry.  The fruit has a plum taste.  Botanical name is Prunus Cerasifera also known as Myrobalan plum.  Latin name Rosaceae.

Cherry – Plum tree in full bloom, the flowers attract bees and when standing near the tree the sound of bees buzzing is awesome. Cerasifera in Latin name means “bearing cherry like fruits”

Happy Gardening…….