April, 2007

Winter 2006 was particularly brutal for  several weeks straight.  Probably some damage out there.

The cactus patch needs to be thinned out again.  Most of the Cacti actually looks pretty good.
The pads shown are from a species that grows east of Reno.  Give this guy a little water and it goes
to town.  I originally intended to use spare pads as filler material.  It does that and then some.

Of course, there is always a volunteer standing by.  Cairns aren't exactly known as the smartest critters in the world...........

Or maybe he sees something I don't.

The Oregon patch was something of a surprise.  The Blue Elderberries (planted 2006) were one of the first
things to leaf out.  It looked like everything else was dead.  However, two Nootka roses appear to be coming
back to life, the two Little Wild roses have a bit of green, one Orange Currant appears to be alive.

This year I am switching to overhead watering to see if that helps.

Oregon Patch 7,  Winter 2.

The Dwarf Pampas Grass and the Yuccas survived.  Got the rest of the grasses cut down the first of  April.
One thing you need to consider when using these grasses is the waste they produce - barrels full - and unless you
live in an are that permits open burning, getting rid of the excess could get expensive.

Most of the roses did ok.  The large Iceberg got hit pretty hard.  It looks like about 30-40 percent die off.
Betty Boop and Playboy actually seem have made it.  Several large canes on Mr. Lincoln split vertically, requiring
some major pruning.

Jan's Wedding and Darlow's Enigma are both saying, "Winter? What winter"

We have an old Hybrid Blue Moon tea rose that is supposedly not very sturdy.  Not a blemish or broken
stem on that one.

Too early to tell how the wildflower patch did.  All the green on the left are day lilies transplanted from
Kansas.  Should get a few blooms this year.  Yarrow is just starting and several  Sea Hollies are leafing out.
Unfortunately, the weather didnt' quite kill the kale that found its way into the bed.

The crab came into full bloom the first week in April.  Some years it is difficult to get a good picture because
the winds get so severe sometimes, they strip the blooms.  It is an attractive tree.  The problem nowadays is that
its roots have extendend into the wild flower bed and it continually sends up suckers.  I cut out two last fall and
planted them out back.  Have to see how that works out.  Mostly Indian burial ground out there.

Both Prairie Fire Crabs did well and are blooming a bit later, it looks like.  Expecting to see some real growth this year.
These trees are a sight to see as adults.  From bark to leaves to blooms, it is hard to beat this variety when it comes to
impressive year-round displays.

This is a sucker I took off the oldest crab last fall.  The whip looks ok, about 4 feet tall, but all the branches died.
There do appear to be some small buds though.  It would be nice to get a couple more going for spring color.

Update two weeks later:  I need to get this pounded into my head  - if something is not doing well -

The sprayer clogged up and the tree was getting a couple drips of water a minute.  Hopefully this one will
turn around.

This is another sucker I took off at the same time.  This one leafed out in record time.  Kind of interesting - this has leaves and no
blooms and the mature crab has blooms and no leaves.  The other whip has neither.
I figured I would increases the survivability odds of these whips by mulching, using good double barrier weed fabric and bark.  

Malus Cascade and Snowdrift seem no worse for the wear.  It is looking like these guys are going to bloom in
mid-April.  A few dead branches on Cascade but that's about it.  I think last year these two spent the season
surviving.  Maybe they will do some real growing this year.

I thought I lost both Osage Orange saplings.  Everything above ground died. I dug around under the mulch and there is one small
green bud above each root.  We'll see how they do this year.

Of course, since I assumed they were dead, I ordered a couple more trees - Manchurian Apricots this time.  I'll need to  find
a couple spots for them.  After that, I think I am done with trees for a while.  

A new addition to the fold - Austrian Copper.  I have had a heck of a time getting a rambler started and this is the latest.
One of the things we never had luck growing was believe it or not, Lilacs.  This hold used to sport a Lilac, which was moved
to the outer flower beds because it will get a bit more shade and more overhead water.

At any rate, we visited a large nursery down in Napa and I spent a while talking to the owner about my luck with
ramblers.  His first question was what size were these other ramblers I purchased.  They were all  $14.95 bare root
starts from Heirloom Roses.  He said he thought that was the problem and said a more mature bush would likely
fair better in our climate.  He recommended a two gallon Austrian Copper.  We shall see.

I think what he says makes a fair amount of sense though.  More mature shrubs have a thicker hide and that always
helps with  40+ degree temperature swings.

Speaking of which, we also recently planted a Black Magic HT rose.  Never tried one of those.  

Desert Peach is just coming into bloom and we have a lot of that, as we do Tent caterpillars.  
I think I got a good handle on them this spring.  

All in all, it is looking to be a pretty nice spring!