Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Birds and Flowers

Yesterday I noticed a flock of sparrows in my garden. They were on the netting row covers, hopping around. I was afraid they would break the netting as it is so fragile but they didn't. One however did get under one of my row covers. He is in the above photo in the upper left. Just a blur as he was desperate to get out. I went out and lifted the cover. I fully expected there to be a hole where he got in, but no. The only place I could imagine was at one corner there was a bit of fabric that wasn't tacked down well enough. But he would have had to crawl under a thick bunch to get under. Needless to say I tacked it down better after I let the poor bird out.

I haven't been out much over the last handful of days as I've had family in, but before they came I got a few plants in so I wouldn't have to keep them alive during that interval. I put in the last succession of baby Asian greens. I put in my zinnias in four spots - the wall garden, the new perennial bed, the front door flower pot, and the edge of the vegetable garden. And I put in four Brussels sprouts. I hope they grow. I really need to make them a row cover which I hope to get to today. Right now I just have them under some scraps. Now all I have left are twelve soil blocks. Two groups of six. A succession of lettuces and my basil. I should probably get those in soon too as the weather is going to be so nice over the next week.

I didn't get a lot of chance to go out and see what is happening in the yard. But we are in the middle of a long warm spell. So the blooms have been bursting out. The peach blossoms aren't particularly big or showy, but they are a pretty pink. I have two peach trees. Redhaven was planted in 2011 and has given us so many peaches already. It is just covered in flowers as you can see above. The other is Stark Elberta Queen and it was planted last year. It is still a pretty small tree even for a dwarf, but it is blossoming too. If it sets any fruit I'll pick them off. I need this tree to get bigger first. Maybe next year I'll let it set. It is supposed to be a later peach than Red Haven as I want to extend the peach season.

Also in the front yard the strawberries are in bloom. As you can see some of the flowers are losing petals already. Usually I get the first berries in mid to late May. Last year the first harvest was May 31st - very late. I think the earliest has been the 19th. I'm hoping our warm spell right now will give us the earliest yet. Can you tell I'm impatient for my first strawberry?

Also in the rock wall garden are some newly planted fruit and some that were planted in 2013. So this is their third year. For dwarf trees sometimes that means fruit, but I've espaliered these trees and they grow more slowly when you have to cut them back to force branches in certain spots. So there are no blossoms. Though the pear tree is looking very healthy.

The currant and gooseberry blooms aren't really much to look at as the blooms are green, but they sure are floriferous. I'm always shocked by how many blooms a currant puts out on a small little plant. I suppose the berries aren't big, but still.

The Ginger Gold apple is just covered in blooms. I'll have a huge thinning chore this year. Last year it didn't do much, but the year before it did. It isn't supposed to be a biennial bearer and I did thin the fruit in 2013. I'm hoping it doesn't keep being biennial. The best I can do is thin and hope, unless anyone has other suggestions.

Our other apple tree in the back yard is Honey Crisp. It was planted the same year as the Ginger Gold. The Ginger Gold is 7' tall. The Honey Crisp is 4'. But at least it is blooming well this year. So I'll let the fruit set and just assume I'll have a tiny tree there. At least it will be easy to net to keep the squirrels out. I think I'll need help netting the Ginger Gold this year. Without netting I wouldn't get any peaches or any apples at all. The squirrels would eat them all - though the groundhogs sometimes get the low lying fruit.

I guess the only flowers that I haven't talked about are the blueberries. They too are in bloom right now. There are still a lot of buds that haven't opened too. I'm thinking about netting these this year. I always net my strawberries so I can get something but the blueberries have been unprotected. I often don't get more than one or two ripe ones. Interestingly enough I never net the currants or gooseberries and the squirrels don't eat those. But the blueberries they love.


  1. It must be a blessed relief for you to get a warm spell, after your long cold Winter! Your report of the trapped bird has reminded me to watch out for similar situations, since I am using lots of anti-butterfly nets at present.

  2. Hurray for the lovely weather & fruit blossoms!! I'm so envious of your peach harvests from a tree planted in 2011, esp. as my cherry and plum planted the year before have only given us a handful of fruit.

    I'm also hardening off a bunch of late sown seedlings simply to get them out of the house - I have so many under the lights right now, not only is it crowded, but I'm also having a hard time keeping track of them in terms of watering.

  3. We're still waiting for the first strawberries here too. Latest estimate from the berry growers is mid-May. I know they like to have them for Mother's Day sales but that may not happen this year.

    I am also amazed at how many blooms our little currant bushes put on. Ours are still not full sized, but we should get more than last year. It may be another year or two before we have enough for processing into something like jelly or jam.

  4. It's amazing how birds get under netting - I think they teleport. I have peach envy - I am hoping for a couple of fruits this year. As for strawberries our early flowers were frosted :(