Sunday, July 20, 2014

Japanese Plum Harvest

Considering we bought our Japanese plum (Methley) tree only three years ago, it provided a good harvest this year.  Yesterday, I noticed the plums started disappearing (squirrels!), and falling (squirrels?) to the ground, so I picked most of them, leaving only a half dozen which were not fully ripe (which were already gone today - squirrels!).  Here is my harvest :
As the description promised, the plums have "dark red juicy flesh" with "mild and sweet flavour" and it is an "attractive and vigorous tree".  It is a truly beautiful tree, and I think I've done a reasonable job of pruning it so far, so it is growing in nicely.

Since the forecast yesterday was for rain, we had postponed our big BBQ for the following week, and then it didn't end up raining at all, so I spent a few good solid hours in the garden.  One of my projects was to fight through a solid mat of ornamental grass, which is growing all around my red Japanese maple, so that I can get to a nasty blackberry vine which is growing up from under the tree, and pushing through it for the last few years.  After more than an hour of chopping through the grass, I had cleared a path which is close to the blackberry, but removing it, and the grass directly under the tree, will be a job for another day.  The path I cleared was more than one wheelbarrow's worth :

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Japanese Plum

We bought a Japanese Plum tree only a couple of years ago, and it is doing very well.  This time, we dug an extra large hole to plant into.  Last year I got one plum, to sample, which was a nice surprise.  This year, it is fairly loaded with fruits, although many of them look scarred, so I don't know if that is some insect damage, or ...?  Anyhow, today I thought one of the plums looked dark enough to sample.  When polished, it looked like this:
The flesh is VERY red, mild (I'd prefer it a bit more punchy) but sweet, and the fruit clings to the stone, so the best way to eat these little sweeties will be to pop them into your mouth, then spit back the stone.  This little tree was definitely a good investment.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Frog for My Garden

We went camping in Osoyoos BC (a few hundred miles from here, the home of Canada's only desert) on the weekend.  One of my friends caught me this frog in the campsite, and I decided to bring him home for my garden.  It is much more moist here and I have lots of bugs, so I hope he'll be happy and stay here for the remainder of the year :
I set out a ceramic cylinder, although maybe it is too small for him to hide in (see my ceramics blog for more of my creations), and a couple of bowls of water, in case he wants to sit in them (frogs don't drink, they absorb moisture and oxygen through their skin).  This is the last I saw of him last night, but I hope I will see him again many times :

Tuesday, July 08, 2014

Banana Tree Devastation

This picture will look odd, it is taken from above, and shows 4 young banana shoots / trees, savagely chewed / broken off near the soil level.  Who or what does this kind of thing?
Last week, in preparation for ceramics, I went out on Tuesday evening to look at what leaves would be useful, and then when I went out to cut some the next morning, my largest banana shoot was chewed / cut down near the base of the stalk.  Now, a week later, all 4 shoots have suffered the same fate.  But the leaves don't even look chewed, and only enough of the stalk to destroy the plant.  What kind of creature would wreak such apparently senseless havoc?  It couldn't be this masked bandit which makes himself at home in my yard, could it?  He looks so sweet....
...doesn't he?
 What do I need to do, to protect my dear bananas from this fate, if they ever re-sprout?  Perhaps a roll of chicken wire around the whole set of them?  Or do I spray them with hot pepper, and give this garden visitor a hot mouthful?  Has anyone had a similar situation, and what did you do?

Friday, July 04, 2014

Queen Elizabeth Park in Vancouver, BC

My absence of posts from my garden are in no way reflective of lack of activity there, since I've been spending a lot of time weeding and pruning and hauling away wheelbarrows of plant material every week.  But I guess I've been getting lazy with not carrying the camera with me into the yard.

Today I went with my 13 year old to Queen Elizabeth Park, and was also too lazy to carry my camera, mainly since I knew I had my mobile phone camera anyhow.  I ended up taking a number of photos, because there was just so much beauty there.  I hope I convey some of it with my sample of photos here.

The beautiful dome roof of the Bloedel Conservatory, which apparently was built in 1969, is under repairs (although the conservatory remains open for visitors), so in the meantime there is this funny tent-like scaffolding rising high above the dome.

As you may have noticed, the Gunnera manicata (which as a kid I used to think was a giant rhubarb!) is featured in many of my photos.  This plant is the highlight of the park, in my opinion, and is now also a much-loved plant in my garden, too.

Another much-loved plant in my yard, the Davidii involucrata (dove or handkerchief) tree, was also inspired by the grand old tree at Queen Elizabeth Park.  Mine is still years away from blooming, but the QE tree not only blooms but is full of fruits/nuts at this time of year.  The gardeners had removed a branch, and I pinched off this piece, which shows the beautifully textured leaves and the nuts.  (If you follow my ceramics blog, you'll soon see some pieces which were inspired and created from the Davidii leaves.  The first one is #28 of this set, and I have two more pieces in progress.)

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