Archive for the 'Flowers' Category

Repeat Blooming Orchids

I have a small collection of 5 orchid plants. They are growing in our indoor sun room where they receive some early morning sunlight and some late afternoon sunlight. One of them is about 10 years old. Three of the others are 3-5 years old. Each of them has bloomed many times, even though I haven’t fertilized them in several years. They typically generate 1 or 2 flower stems once a year, but the flowers last for months.

Orchid care has been pretty easy. I water them every 2-3 weeks by taking them outside and spraying them with a hose. Orchids hate standing water, so I make sure to let all of the water in the pots drain away before taking them back inside. I no longer soak them in a sink full of water. Other than watering, orchids don’t seem to need fertilizer or any other special care to generate repeat blooms.

Two of my orchids are in bloom now:

March 19 2018 | Orchids | Comments Off on Repeat Blooming Orchids

A Rainbow of Dahlias

Last June, some of the big box stores in our area had a large selection of dahlia plants in bloom. They seemed to have every solid color, but what most impressed me was how large the dahlia flowers were. Some of the flowers were 8-9 inches in diameter. I bought red, magenta, purple, yellow, pink, and orange dahlias to add to my garden. The magenta colored dahlia had the largest flowers (maybe 10 inches in diameter). They were full of beautiful flowers through July and into August, and they continued to bloom in Sept. Although starting in August, they got mildew on their leaves and produced less flowers.

A few of the dahlias I bought last summer I kept in pots. Earlier this month, I transplanted those tubers, which are now dormant, from pots into the ground near our fence line. They usually don’t start coming up until April, so it’s not too late to transplant or subdivided dahlias. Below are some pictures from last July.

February 28 2018 | Dahlias | Comments Off on A Rainbow of Dahlias

Early Blooms

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The blue hyacinths we planted last fall are already in bloom. Weeds were nearly obscuring them until I weeded around them a few weeks ago.  Now they are stand outs in our front yard.

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Some of our fruit trees are already in bloom this month. Below is a new arctic blaze nectarine tree I bought last year that is now blooming for the first time. My previous attempts at growing white nectarines ended in failure when the entire crop cracked and rotted, apparently from over watering. Subsequent under watering led to dead trees. This time, I am growing one in a pot to ensure better drainage.

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Below is our new loring peach tree, also in bloom for the first time. I bought it last year after our O’Henry peach died a few years ago.

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This flavor king pluot tree is another new fruit tree that I bought last year. I am also growing it in a pot due to lack of space (too many fruit trees). It bloomed last year, but it did not set any fruit – possibly a pollination issue. Now, I have a super-pollinator (santa rosa plum) growing in a pot to the right of it.

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Our multi-grafted pluot tree is also in bloom (below). One of the grafts is also flavor king. Flavor king is our favorite pluot, perhaps my favorite fruit, which is the reason I bought one tree that only has a flavor king graft on it.

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February 26 2016 | Hyacinths and Peaches/Nectarines and Pluots | Comments Off on Early Blooms

Mid-summer post

Our multi-grafted Japanese plum tree is full of plums right now. It’s a very small tree, about 5 feet tall and 4 feet wide. But it has over 100 plums on it. It has the most densely packed fruit of any fruit tree we have. It would benefit from thinning, because the branches can break under the weight of the fruit, but I didn’t bother to thin this year, because the fruit set was not as heavy as last year. The main grafts are the varieties Elephant heart and Laroda, which is the dark purple fruit in the picture below.

The tree also has a graft of Nubiana, which is very small and doesn’t grow much, and Beauty. Most of the Beauty graft broke off two years ago under the weight of a heavy load of fruit. I cut off the remaining branches of Beauty, because I didn’t care for its flavor. The Elephant Heart and Laroda grafts are not self-fruitful, but both have managed to set a lot of fruit two seasons in a row without pollen from Beauty. Pollen from our pluot tree and a neighbor’s plum have probably helped. The Beauty graft was huge and on the verge of taking over the tree. The Elephant Heart and Laroda grafts have grown a lot since Beauty has been gone.

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I really enjoy growing sugar pie pumpkins and butternut squash. I have found that they are both easy to grow from seed as long as they get regular water. I planted several groups of seeds last March. The vines are very long now and have set many fruits, even though I haven’t fertilized them. The vines can take up a lot of space, which is why I planted the seeds where the vines can grow in between our fruit trees. I planted them directly in the ground, not in our raised beds, because the vines would just grow out of the beds and across our paths between the beds. Some of the pumpkins have even grown roots directly from the vines into the ground.

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We are also growing Siam Queen (Thai) basil this year. I planted the seeds in pots in our mini-greenhouse in April and transplanted the seedlings into one of our raised beds in May. They only grow in warm weather, and it can get cold in April here. The plants grew slowly at first, but they are now starting to grow more rapidly. Their leaves have a strong scent that is similar to licorice, and their flowers are an attractive purple color. Also, they don’t seem to attract insects.

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Our purple Dahlias have been full of flowers for several weeks. We are also growing them in raised beds where they get plenty of water and rich composted soil. Unfortunately, they are already getting mildew on their leaves, which happens every year around this time.

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I planted corn seeds in mid-March this year, which is the earliest I have ever planted them. We almost never get frost here after March 1. I planted the peaches and cream variety, and ended up with about 18 plants. I always plant at least 15 corn seeds in a planting to ensure proper pollination. I started harvesting corn ears the first week of this month. They were very tasty.

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I harvested some of the last ears today. Several of the stalks had two ears, and a few stalks grew outshoots that themselves grew an additional ear of corn. I have more corn in another bed that I planted in June. They should be ready to harvest in October.

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I planted Albion strawberries in pots with potting soil in May. I had not grown this variety previously. I have been picking strawberries from the Albion plants for over a month now, and they have exceeded my expectations. They have been continuously producing very sweet and large berries. They are much sweeter than Chandler, which are on the tart side in our yard. I think I will be planting more Albion strawberries in the future. So far the Albion plants have not produced many runners, unlike our Sequoia strawberries, which are prolifically producing runners right now.

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July 26 2014 | Basil and Corn and Dahlias and Plums and Pumpkin and Squash and Strawberries | 4 Comments »

More Black Magic

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Our roses starting blooming in late March this year, which is earlier then I remember them blooming in the past by a few weeks. Our black magic (red) roses are particularly beautiful this year (first picture). The flowers last a very long time but have no fragrance. Our double delight roses were also amazing (second and third photos). They are very fragrant but the flowers are more ephemeral.

May 04 2014 | Roses | Comments Off on More Black Magic

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