The Garden Journal - May 15

Another installment of the garden journal right away, since I'm just so excited about spring! I finally decided this year to plant edible vines to cover our front fence, and ordered several varieties recommended by Cooperative Extension from Indiana Berry (they are fabulous!)

The new grape vine (Himrod, a white table grape) seems to be doing pretty well. And the blackberry (Navajo) is finally growing a few leaves.

The grape vine I planted last year (Roberts Red, from Plants of the Southwest) is coming back strong, with vines about 5 feet long already.

The new raspberry (Caroline) is about 6 inches tall. The raspberry I planted last year (Fall Gold, from Plants of the Southwest) is about 18 inches tall already. It's on the north side of the house, while the new one is on the west side. We'll see how they do!

Something is eating my blueberry bush - see, holes in the leaves and even in the blossoms (at the bottom)! Anyone know what this could be? I grow it in a container so we can try to keep the soil more acidic. We really can't grow them in the ground here, because our soil is so alkaline.

The apricot and plum trees didn't bloom at all this year - I'm so sad we won't have any fruit... I guess the super-cold temperatures actually killed the buds. But they are putting on tons of leafy growth! Unfortunately, the pomegranate tree may not be so lucky. No leaves yet, and according to my notebook, it had leafed out by April 15 last year. But Lloyd (the Fig Man) said to wait another month, so I haven't given up hope yet.

The apple and pear trees have set fruit (below). We have an Arkansas Black and a Cort Pendu Plat planted in the same hole (to keep them small) in the front yard. And we have a White Doyenne pear in the back yard that used to have a Brandy pear planted with it (for making pear brandy!) But it was too sensitive to the alkaline soil and was always iron-deficient, until it finally died.

The hop rhizome that I planted on the south side of the porch just finally sprouted in the last week or two. It's Cascade, my favorite grapefruity-flavored hop. Not sure if we'll try brewing with it or just enjoy its funky scent.

Ok, so I do grow a few flowers. Larkspurs (right, above) are one of the hardiest flowers I know, although not edible - they reseed themselves all over my friend Margarita's yard, and she transplanted some into a pot for me. I know hummingbirds are supposed to like red flowers, but I have actually seen them visiting these. A black-chinned hummingbird has her nest in our front yard!

The honeysuckle (edible) and Spanish broom (not edible) are both in bloom, and I love their sweet scent. Unfortunately, the Tree of Heaven is also in bloom in the back yard and it's fragrance tends to overpower everything else.

Here are some pansies that I planted last fall, that I hardly watered, and was absolutely stunned when they reappeared in the spring. Soon I'll have to get around to candying some of them - aren't they gorgeous? Totally edible. And the huge leaves next to them are horseradish.

And finally, some of the irises (not edible) Dave's mom gave me two years ago. The light and dark purple ones bloomed first, but now they're gone and the yellow ones have started. Glorious!


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