Luther Burbank Home & Garden

It was a perfectly sunny and warm day in Santa Rosa, California.  But sunset was fast approaching as we took a stroll at the Luther Burbank Home & Garden.

Luther Burbank (March 7, 1849 – April 11, 1926) was an American botanist, horticulturist and pioneer in agricultural science.

He is credited with introducing more than 250 new varieties of fruit, including a large number of plum varieties that are widely used in agriculture.

A portion of the property was declared a National Historic Landmark in 1964.

Read more about his life and work via Wikipedia.

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Blooming Wax Flower

I’ve owned my wax plant (Hoya Carnosa Plant) for about four years now and it finally gave me one bloom.

The buds took a few weeks to open up.  And once it did bloom, it lasted about 1 month.  It was a pleasant surprise to finally see what type of flower it would turn out. Since there are so many varieties of wax flowers.

It didn’t have any kind of scent.  The leaves are really hardy and doesn’t need much attention or watering.  I just grew up next to a tall bush and it started to climb up the limbs.

I’ve been tempted to make cuttings, but it seems easier to just separate the root ball and re-pot them.  So far I have about 3 plants in small pots and will give some away as gifts.

 

Cherimoya Fruit Tree

Just last weekend I was browsing our local Lowe’s garden center and was really surprised to come upon these great selection of tropical fruits.  Especially the cherimoya tree since they are one of my favorite tropical fruits.

I was tempted to purchase one, but since I live in Northern California this was not possible.  It takes a lot of dedication to successfully grow these tropical fruits here.

This one named “Honeyheart” sounds really delicious.  Another variety available was “Chaffey”.   The plants were from La Verne Nursery in Ventura county.  They have a great list of Sub-tropical fruit trees, but are only sold wholesale to retailers such as Lowe’s.

In the meantime it was a nice surprise and neat to see Lowe’s offering such a diverse selection of plants.  Here’s a list of the tropical trees available: Goji berries, Dragon Fruit, Loquats, Sapote, Mango, Guava, and Avocado.

A Few Summer Fruits

Our little backyard orchard hasn’t been doing well at all this summer.  Each tree has only been producing a few fruits.  The Asian Pear tree had lots of new growth in the spring, but some of the branches turned black and just died out.

But we did manage to get at least 10 fruits growing on different varieties of Pear branch.  Even with the small amount of fruits that showed up, the birds are trying to get to them before it’s ready to pick.

I think I’m going to have to take some small brown bags or newspaper and wrap each fruit to prevent birds from attacking them.  It won’t be too hard since I only have a few fruits on the tree.  I know Asian pear farms in China hand pollinate their trees and hand wrap the fruits too.  No wonder it’s so expensive!

In the beginning of the year, I had decided to prune down the Mexicola avocado tree because it was just getting too big (wide and tall). Now I’m starting to think the heavy pruning caused it to fruit less. Even after the pruning, it did send off lots of blooms and even started to form tiny fruits. But most of the tiny fruits started to drop by end of spring. And now I am just down to 2 fruit on the tree. Well, maybe the tree is just taking a break and next year it will bear more fruits.  We’ll just have to wait and see.

Spring Blossoms 2017

Spring has arrived!  And that means blossoms are popping out left and right.

The Asian Pear is again blooming and coming out strong.

The cherry tree has a few more blossoms, but I doubt I’ll see even a handful of cherries.  Especially if the birds get to them first.

 

The Mexicola avocado has always been prolific with blossoms.  Even so, the flowers end up dropping by middle of summer.  But since I noticed more bees buzzing around maybe we’ll have more fruit setting rather than dropping.  Maybe we’ll have a good crop of avocado this year.

Even with all the rain we had this winter, the sate of California still encourages us to save water.  Since our mini backyard fruit orchard is on year 3, I would think  most of the roots have grown deep and strong.  So hopefully it will do well with limited water.

 

 

Winter Garden

After consecutive days of rain, it was nice to welcome the sun this weekend.  And it was a lovely and warm 62 degrees too 🙂

winter_succulents_feb17

These are the same succulent plants from previous years.  I like how these always turn a bit red on the tips during the cold season.

winter_citrus

This clementine actually had lots of blossoms, but most of them dropped.  But somehow there are 2 fruits that are ready for picking.

winter_fruit

The fruit was very sour and had way too many seeds.  I should have listen to other gardeners when they warned me about the seeds.

winter_avocado_tree

The Mexicola avocado tree is getting bigger.  I also topped off the main branch because it was getting so tall.  Being that our backyard is small, best to keep this tree pruned.

I actually told myself I was not going to add anymore plants to the garden.  But I couldn’t help it and I got 2 more plants.  The Forsythia plant and also the pineapple guava bush.  Pineapple guava is known to be carefree, drought resistant plants…. that sounds good to me!  Anyway I haven’t put them in the garden yet… when I do I will post an update.

Autumn Harvest

The summer has just flew by and now it’s autumn!  The world is getting bigger and the the clock keeps ticking forward.  So much distractions and things to ponder.  Just need to remember to take time out and enjoy the small things too.  Such small things as my little backyard orchard. Which didn’t really produce much of a harvest at all…. but what we did harvest was greatly appreciated!

jujube_large

I do have a small jujubee tree, but it’s still too young and looks like a small shrub.  These big varieties I got from the Farmer’s Market recently.  Jujubee are sometimes called, “Chinese apple” and taste like crisp apple but with a unique sweetness.  One of my mom’s favorite fall fruits.

mexicola_avocado_october

Best to pick the avocado when they turn black/purple then let it sit for about 5 days until soft enough to eat.  This Mexicola variety has very thin skin that was hard to peel, so I just ate the skin too.  Good thing it’s organic!

harvest_october_2016

I’ve gathered some fruits here… “Wonderful Pomegranate”  and some avocados.  We gave  few ripe fruits to our friends and neighbor.  One that grows mandarin oranges and he didn’t have a good harvest this year either.  Besides the drought, there is also a citrus disease going around here.  Maybe next season will be better.

All photos taken with Samsung Galaxy Note 2