Thursday, January 2, 2020

What Will 2020 Bring to the Garden?

2019 was a pretty good year in the garden, although I didn't blog much about it.

I didn't feel the need to buy many plants in 2019. I made it through many spring sales and plant pilgrimages and kept my plant buys to plants I REALLY wanted (mostly). I was happy to drive and watch everyone else buy plants.

Last year, I came to the conclusion that my garden is at a point where I just need to maintain what I have. If I have too much more, I don't think I have the ability to tend it to the level I expect of myself.

I don't have grandiose notions to dig up big swaths of lawn anymore, and on the contrary, took some steps to eliminate some of the extra things I didn't really need to take care of.

There were a couple "problem" flower beds that got a good clean up and rearrangement of plants. The jury is still out on whether or not I did a good job, but I'm happier with them now.

I talked myself into removing the Glorybower tree that moved into my front yard many years ago from the neighbor's and look forward to pulling out fewer seedlings and suckers.

I got a David Austin rose for Christmas. Which means my boyfriend gave me the new David Austin catalog he got in the mail and I now have to narrow down my selection to just one rose. I've already picked out five, which means I'll probably end up with three this coming spring. At least that gives me time to figure out where they will all go.

My tomatoes were awful in 2019, so I hope 2020 will be a better year.

In the new year, I'm still looking for more hardy orchids and will try to focus on orchids for the bog gardens. At least, if they are in the bogs, Coco can't yank them and run across the lawn with them in her mouth.

My new Intern Coco is progressing in her gardening skills. She now knows exactly which plants will pop her balloon in less than a minute. 

In 2019, I started disconnected myself from a lot of internet/FaceBook specialty plant groups. I found they were not helping me enjoy plants more and on the contrary made me want to distance myself even more.

In 2020, I hope focus my attention to local plant groups and plant people I can interact with in real life. There's much more joy in that even if it means putting myself out there more.

I also want to share my garden again though the HPSO open gardens program and I hope to encourage some friends that haven't yet opened their gardens to do so in 2020.

So, happy New Year to my fellow gardeners and plant people!

Happy growing!

Camellia sasanqua 'Yuletide'

Wednesday, April 24, 2019

Today's Favorite Plant - 20th Century Pear

My special plant of the day is Pyrus pyrifolia (20th Century Pear aka Nijisseiki 二十世紀) .

I'm generally not a fan of fruit trees, but this Asian pear tree was an impulse buy at a big box store in 2007. 

When I bought it, it was a funny little stick wrapped in a plastic bag in a bin for $10.

Because the label called it "ultra-dwarf", I thought it would be an adorable tiny little tree. Boy was I wrong! 

Apparently I didn't read that the mature size is still 15-40' tall and 10-20' wide. But in the past 12 years, I've done my best to keep it on the "smaller" side, carefully pruning off new growth here and there. I've managed to keep the tree around 9' tall.

The fruit of this Asian pear combines the flavor and sweetness of a pear with the crispness and quality of an apple and are best when tree ripened, usually the end of August. They are crisp, a bit watery and sweet with white flesh and a thin tan skin.

My fruit harvest is about a dozen pears on the tree each year but if I am not on top of it when they ripen, the raccoons/opossums will take all of them. 

In 2018, I got one pear that wasn't half eaten or full of tooth marks. It was just enough though to make it worthwhile.