Monday, May 14, 2007

Update, Part 3: (Mostly) Edible Landscaping

Outside the garden, I've been busy planting as well.

Last year I planted two peach trees. One was killed by bark chewing critters (rabbits or rodents, I'm guessing). I managed to save the other one by surrounding its trunk with hardware cloth (metal mesh stuff). I saved four of my six apple trees from the same fate, with the same method.

This year, I decided to move the surviving peach tree closer to the house, and to add some more peach trees - because homegrown peaches fall into the same category as homegrown tomatoes, strawberries, eggs, and homemade bread. There's just no comparison to the product at the grocery store. So now I have one Elberta, one Hale Haven, one Redhaven, and one Reliance.

Thanks to the Arbor Day Foundation, I now have a bunch of new trees. I bought a total of six trees, but in addition to the ones I purchased, they're sending a total of eleven freebies, plus a couple of forsythia shrubs. Crazy.

So far I've planted two Chinese chestnut trees, two hardy pecan trees, two hybrid poplars (weed tree, I know, but it'll give us a much-needed windbreak, some shade while we wait for the slower growers, and then a supply of wood), a red maple, and the two forsythias.

Sadly, within two days of planting, one of the poplars and one of the pecans were "pruned" from knee high to calf high by my friendly neighborhood gnawing critters. So, hardware cloth all around again.

I was glad about the two free forsythias, because I wanted some early bloomers to attract mason bees to my nest block next year. I also added a Pieris japonica shrub, which they're supposed to adore. I think it's quite attractive too.

I just received my other 10 free trees for joining the Arbor Day Foundation, which includes one of each of the following: Sugar Maple, Silver Maple, Red Maple, Red Oak, Pin Oak, White Pine, Colorado Blue Spruce, River Birch, White Flowering Dogwood, and Redbud. Planting tomorrow, weather permitting.

I'm dying to plant some cherry trees, but that'll have to wait until next year. I have no idea where I'll put those yet...

I transplanted a few purple coneflowers, and a mini rose that we've had good luck with before ("The Fairy"), as well as two dwarf Hinoki false cypress shrubs that my dad gave me. So we're finally filling in the long-neglected flower bed in front of the house. At least the lemon balm is thriving there...

The gooseberry bush I planted last year looks to have a nice little crop on it, and the red and black currants (also from last year) appear to be doing well.

Last year's blackberries were a total loss. They were too small and I put them in a weedy spot, thinking they could handle it. They couldn't. So this year I tried again with slightly stockier red and black raspberries. Unfortunately, they don't seem to be doing all that well either. Of the twelve I planted, only about five of them have any leaves. I haven't given up on them yet, but they are making me wonder. I put in a couple rhubarb plants as well. Maybe by next June, we can have some strawberry rhubarb pie.

I think that's it for the perennial & woody plants for this season. I've got big ideas for next year, or maybe the year after. We'll see.

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