Tuesday, June 23, 2015

summer plant update

"Summer" is a funky term around here, since we've had highly variable temperatures, reaching summery heights over a month ago. As always in California, the constants are a lack of rain, and a blinding sunlight that washes out the colors of the world and seems to find you even in the shade.

Our trees seem only variously happy, presumably from the drought. Some of them, like Loki the loquat, "cherry" plum, pomegranate, and Driveway Peach have taken the year off from fruiting. The Sidewalk Peach is taking it easy with the fruit, and may be adjusting to the heavy pruning we did--although that was only clearing out all the dead branches. Driveway Peach, to be fair, may still be recovering from the loss of its major branch two seasons ago, when the weight of the fruit snapped it off.

I put "cherry" in quotes because its companion, the pluot tree, is putting out fruit twice the size of previous years, so I imagine if the water table were higher, we'd be getting full-size pluots (we're already close). We fertilized it once and we've been watering it daily for a long time, so it seems possible that the "cherry" plum is just a plum that was discouraged and low on resources.

Figgy, of course, is going gangbusters like there's no drought. She was heavily pruned and seems to have responded with an explosion of leaves and nascent figs. The Figpocalypse will come for you. There is no escape.

I've had daydreams about making a dehydrator (wood frame + window screening + fan), but in reality I should probably just buy one. The figs in particular I hate to see go to waste, but there are so many of them it's not even practical to capture them all as fig puree (which is nice for baking, but takes up too much space and doesn't get used quickly enough).

Surprisingly, the apple tree is surging this year, despite being crammed in between Figgy and the pomegranate. Once we understood when the apples are ripe (November-ish), they were pretty good last year.

You may or may not remember that there were 8 rose...things, in front of the house when we moved in. "Bush" is sort of a strong term, but they were old rose plants, typical for rental properties around here. We don't care for roses and certainly didn't want them in the yard, so we invited people to come dig them up. They dug a foot or two down in the ground, pulled up the plants, and boom, we were done.

Eighteen months later, we have 9 rose plants.

The first Zombie Rose has been blooming regularly, first one flower, then two, and is currently at four. These are not the flowers of a plant in difficulty; they are bright, large, beautiful red roses. It's hard enough for me to think of roses as high-maintenance when they're one of the default half-assed-landscaping plants for low/mid-range rentals, but it's another thing entirely when people dig up the plants and then they simply grow back, in a record drought, without any watering.

Zombie Roses.

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