OKAY, SO IT’S NOT TOMORROW MORE THAN A WEEK LATER since the last posting, but there is still more to see around here! The weather has been so cold, wet, windy for days. April Fool’s Day I visited my friend Betty on Whidbey Island. The weather was forecast to be sunny and near 60 degrees, but what we got was cool and windy with miserly bits of sun. Crossing Puget Sound from Whidbey Island to the Mukilteo landing on my way back home I saw this huge, spectacular storm cloud to the south. By the time I reached Seattle I had driven right under its northeasterly path and dumping rain.
Friday was uninspiring and more rain right through the weekend. Saturday was saved with the annual dyeing of the eggs; a group effort by myself, my daughter and her two children. Lifted our spirits on an otherwise dreary day. And Sunday’s weather cooperated just enough for the morning egg hunt next door to take place and our little hiding and seeking of the eggs just before dinner. Nephew Ryan loves to hide the eggs and Simon and Sophia are challenged to seek them out.
Most of the week following Easter was cold, wet, cold, wet, and cold. Finally the weather turned on Friday, and Saturday afternoon after a cool and very breezy morning. By Sunday we had sunshine for most of the day.
In spite of the weather, life goes on in the garden; flowers bloom, perennials keep pushing skyward, creeping out of winter’s slumber. I am concerned that we will have relatively few pears this year because when it’s cold and rainy, pollinating insects don’t do much flying–bees in particular. Our pear is an espaliered tree with grafts; Bartlett, Comice and Rescue. We planted the pear and an espaliered apple (Spartan and Akane) in 1996. The three year old trees were already in training when we bought them. We used split cedar rails for a support fences. The trees are a bridge between the tiny lawn and the vegetable garden. It was a nice solution. Last year we had around forty pounds of pears and about twenty pounds of apples (not a great yield).
The apple tree is just now blooming. The blossoms are so sweet and tinged with pink
The pear is nearly done flowering.
In the rest of the garden plants are poppin’! Lots of tulips, some mangled by rain had shortened lives, but most are doing fine. One of our favorites is this one that we call the native tulip. These tulips were planted sometime long before we moved here in 1992. We dug up and replanted many of them before building the new house and dug more after building when we had a plan for the entire yard.They are spread around the west side of the house. They seem very sturdy, have beautiful color that light up in the sun and the flowers last several weeks.
Tulipa bakeri ‘Lilac Wonder’ is a great tulip for naturalizing, has vibrant color and is long lived. Tom chose these in 1997 and their numbers increase every year. When the sun shines they open wide.
Here is a nice contrast in colors, the white tulip was part of a red and white combo, but only the white tulips were in the mix! Anyway, they look beautiful with the budding apple blossoms and anthriscus sylvestris ‘Ravenswing’. Anthriscus is a prolific self-sower if not deadheaded before the seed ripens and if treated like a weed you won’t keep it where it’s not wanted. It is quite lovely and a good fill plant.
How about a little garden art? We have a few pieces here and there, some hidden, some in plain view; some pieces we purchased, a few inheirited and given to us as gifts. Art in the garden is very much like planting–right plant in the right place. Although sometimes repeated moving may take place until the right place is the right place!
Surrounded by spring blooms now, Ho Tai will be shaded under a summer rose with a view of Puget Sound.
St. Francis of Assisi used to stand guard over Grandma T’s house plants on the enclosed back porch. I inheirited him and this is his second place in the garden. He used to stand under the birdbath but the racoons kept knocking him over and he had to have some repairs made. He seems happy here under the white camelia and among the bluebells, lilies and amemones.
Yesterday mom and I went to visit my sister Debbie at her 2 acres of gardening space in Sbnohomish and this piece was in her yard. It looks just right under tall trees, rhododendrons, and maianthemum and native bleeding hearts at its feet. One reason for the visit was to split up some hostas that had come from our grandmother’s garden. Since they are just now poking out of the ground, the time was right for splitting up.
Deb has a new garden bench. It replaces one that came from my garden about nine years ago; made from old barn wood it finally fell apart. Her new bench sits on a small knoll behind the house under tall old maples and red alders. She plans will be planting a red climbing rose on each side. It should look great next year. How about a short tour of her yard in the next post?
I have 3 trained espalier apple trees that I intend to put on a rail fence. Do you recommend this method or have you found any problems doing it this way. Any pointers to pass on would be appreciated.
We planted our espaliered fruit trees with a rail fence for support in 1996. Since we live on a typical city lot, these trees are a great space saver, easy to prune and pick the fruit. By now they could probably support themselves except when the fruit is nearly ripe. At that point the fruit weighs down the branches to the point of breaking. Our cedar rail fences are rotting at ground level and we have shored up the vertical posts with rebar and tie wire. I would recommend pruning all new growth twice a year once the main fruit spurs are established if you want to limit your tree/branch size. Hope this has helped.