Thursday, May 2, 2013

Spring has Sprung!

We have a brief but beautiful spring.  Brief because the winds persist until the heat of the high desert summer moves in.  Only the strong or well-nurtured plants survive.  Here are a few of the more productive perennials that are making it this year:
Gala and Fuji apples.  Have since thinned them for larger, healthier apples.

Black currants. Lots of small yellow trumpet-shaped blossoms lead to lots of yummy black berries. This plant appeared after a small flash flood swept through town in 1999.
They make the most amazing preserves! 

Nectarine. This is the third year this dwarf has been in the ground.
Probably won't get any fruit, but the deep pink blossoms were lovely!

Serviceberries (also called Saskatoons or Rocky Mountain Blueberries): Though not related to real blueberries, these alkali-tolerant dark purple berries taste a lot like the real thing.
They also make great jam or preserves.

Pomegranate: The Feb 2010 deep freeze across the southwest really hammered the pomegranates. Many died or died back significantly. Because they only produce on wood that is 3 or more years old, these are the first blossoms I've had since 2009.
Real blueberries: This spot in the yard may have been where coal ash was dumped many years ago. Most of the area has a pH of around 7.5 to 8, which is not suitable for blueberries. We planted several native trees here, all of which died an agonizing death. After buying a pH meter, we discovered a pH of 5.5 in this area, about 10 X 10 feet. Despite the alkaline water (also 7.5 to 8 pH) the blueberries are faring well here and have a lot of little blossoms (grayish white) hanging on.  Last year the birds beat us to the ripe berries. This year, the Walmart netting fabric will go up so we can throw them in the mixed berry jam.

Prickly Pear Cactus: the new, brighter green pads are ready to harvest for nopalitos, essentially a fresh green vegetable. 

The beautiful blossoms will turn to red fruit, great for juice or jam. For now, they are a feast for the bees, like the busy one inside this blossom!

Next post will be photos from the cutting garden -- those few hardy flower-bearing non-natives that I keep for their beauty and fragrance.

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