Friday, May 31, 2013

Scotch Broom - Friday's Flower

The Scotch Broom is a large woody shrub, averaging 3-6 feet,  that bears tiny yellow flowers and is related to the pea family.  The plants bloom between March and June before the leaves emerge.  I have 3 plants in different areas of my yard, and I love them.  In 8 years, I have never had a problem with volunteer plants due to it's reported excessive self sowing
However, according to the Oregon State Community Extension Service, it is a very invasive plant in the Pacific Northwest.  The Scotch Broom is a native of Europe and North Africa, and was introduced in the 1850's as an ornamental plant in California and later used to prevent erosion and stabilize banks and dunes.  There is no hatred for this plant on the East Coast where it doesn't appear to have the negative characteristics the folks on the West Coast talk about  I will keep a close watch on mine.  On the positive side, Wikipedia states that as a legume, this shrub can fix nitrogen in the soil through a symbiotic relationship with Rhizobium bacteria.  Something else to consider if you have small children or dogs, all parts of the Broom are poisonous.
On a more light-hearted note, I am back on bunny alert.  A little guy has taken up residence under the backyard deck.  This bunny is so small, it looks like one of those yard decorations with a hollow bottom for a hidden key.  Adorable.

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Tropical Fruit Trees

On a nice warm day, two weeks ago, I transplanted 5 of my fruit trees.  There were two reasons for doing this: 1-most of them needed to get into a larger growing space; and 2-I wanted them to be in a lighter weight pot for ease of moving.
Meyer Lemon, Clementine, Seedless Lime and 2 Dwarf Banana Trees.  Everyday they are exposed to a little more direct-sun time, and soon will be enjoying full days of sunshine.
I have also repotted the Dragonfruit and Cavendish Banana.  All have been trimmed, including the Bay Laurel and Kaffir Lime, which didn't need to be up-potted this year.  Apparently they are all happy to be outdoors again, enjoying the warmer temperatures.
The Clementine and Lime trees are sporting fruit to show their appreciation.  I'm looking forward to a productive growing season.

Friday, May 24, 2013

Feels like Summer

This year there was not a day I could say, Spring is here!  Spring-like weather appeared the end of February.  Then every Monday during March and April the Front Range Foothills received 10-12" of snow, just as if we had placed an 8 week order requesting delivery, it happened without fail.  On the 9th week there was no snow that Monday, but 6" fell 2 days later on May 1st, and fortunately that was the last of it.  The perennials didn't know if they were suppose to start growing or remain dormant.
Pink Tulips with Bordeaux Spinach.
We went from Winter to Summer and the now the plants are nearly jumping out of the ground. The Iris's are just beginning to flower as well as the Lupines.  This is the first year that tulips will still be in bloom when the Peonies open; that's unheard of.  Peonies typically bloom on Memorial weekend, and the tulips have always been long gone by then...except for this year. 
The Smoke Bush leaves remind me of delicate roses opening.
Apparently some plants benefited from the extended winter season.  After trimming the Wisteria, I discovered over 4 dozen flower buds.  Needless to say, I'm expecting a stunning show of purple.  The Spring Snow Crab Apple wasn't as pleased with the weekly snowfall...lost all it's buds...went straight to green leaves rather than first giving us a beautiful display of white flowers.  Several of the fruit trees followed suit.  We trimmed the Lilacs back severely last year, but they still managed to give us a few blooms.
The vegetable garden has finally been planted, and as every other year, tomatoes and peppers account for 3/4 of the space.  I'm trying a few new varieties of tomatoes-Franchi Red Pear, Dr Wyche's Yellow, Cherokee Purple and the Mortgage Lifter, along with my old standbys-San Marzano, Sungold, Sweet 100, Black Krim, Green Zebra, Tomatillo and Juliet.
The wildlife is always eager to see what is planted.
I'm trying my hand at red potatoes for the first time, and they appear to be growing according to plan.  Added the 2nd stack and another layer of soil this week.
A front planter is filled with blooming Allium.