"United we bargain, divided we beg."

Monday, May 17, 2010

State of the Season, 49th parallel, 2010

This was such a strange year, what with the warm winter and the bizarrely early spring, that I decided to begin keeping track of the timing of the change of the seasons here on the farm. (It's Called "Phenology!") It seemed to me that a years-long record of the dates of the first and last frost, the timing of fruit tree blooms, and the leafing out of the trees is the sort of thing that might be useful to future farmers of this little plot of land (my kids and grandkids, if I am lucky.)

My sister, when she bought her house, inherited from the former owners - who were avid gardeners - a detailed garden journal spanning some fifteen years. Besides it obvious practical value, it also happens to be a beautiful work of art. Well, I'm not going to create anything like that. I'm not much of a gardener, truth to tell, but I am a fairly keen observer of the small slice of the natural world here on my doorstep.

Even in such a short span of time, it has become rather clear that I am not such a great recorder of all the little details, but I hope to compensate with a nice photographic record. With commentary.
The pink dogwood tree in maximum bloom. This was taken yesterday. Such a pretty tree. What more is there to say? Oh yes - if you want to plant one and have goats, be aware that dogwood is like crack cocaine for goats. They will jump fences, crawl under fences, and sell their hairy little souls to eat dogwood.

On a walk today I saw these California poppies in bloom. I usually associate these with mid-summer. Other flowers which are blooming now but which in my head are associated with July are Oxeye daisies, lupine, and Scotch broom.

Looks like we might get some cherries this year! These are Rainiers, and the tree was planted three years ago. This will be (knock wood) the first crop.

The very very first red clover bloom on the property, as far as I can tell. I am eagerly anticipating the clovers because it means I can stop feeding the bees. Right now, even though the weather is gorgeous, there just isn't a lot ion bloom for the bees. The trees are done and the dandelions are done, but clover and blackberries haven't started yet.

It's funny, on a side note, to see which pollinators like which kinds of flowers. One thing which is blooming now, strongly, is my rhododendrons and azaleas. I don't actually like rhodies and azaleas much, and I have considered tearing them out for garden space, but I can't do that when I see how they are always thickly covered with native mason bees. The mason bees just adore the rhodies! The whole bush just hums the whole time it is in bloom. Yellow jackets like them too, and apparently even paper wasps like them - but not honeybees. I've spent quite some time watching, and I've never seen a honeybee on a rhododendron.



Olive said...

What a glorious sight, the Dogwood tree. I planted one, must be about 15 years ago but sadly, it didn't grow.
Do you intend to net the cherry tree? It might pay to, to stop the pesky birds from sampling each and every one of the fruit. Eight cherry trees here and we have only managed to salvage 5 cherries from the bird attack. They were planted too far from the house and grew too tall to net, so the bloke cut them off low to the ground....now they're DEAD. Best of luck with yours.

AnyEdge said...

Olive, that sounds like the same reason that the strawberry wasn't domesticated until the 1800s. We couldn't defeat the birds.

As I hear the story, thrushes love wild strawberries, and they love the little ones that have lots of tiny little seeds. People doen't like those so much. But all out attempts to grow larger strawberries, as we'd done with carrots and potatoes and a dozen or even a thousand other vegetables and fruits, failed. Because it wasn't until the mid 1800s that we were finally able to build crop netting that would keep the birds out.

polly's path said...

I can't say that I have ever seen a pink dogwood-all ours here in south GA are white.
Love your cherry tree. I decided last year to stop buying annual landscaping all together and invest in edible landscaping.