Nurture, Respect, Learn, Educate, Always Grow!

Friday, March 11, 2011

Progress in the Orchard

Today is Johnny Appleseed Day. This day honors one of America's great legends. Johnny Appleseed (real name John Chapman) was a pioneer nurseryman who introduced apple trees to the states. As he traveled West he planted apple trees along the way and also sold trees to settlers and so his legend grew. He is also known for his leadership in conservation and his kind and generous ways.


I don't have any apple trees growing in my garden but it seems appropriate to write about one of the fruit trees that is blooming in my orchard right now in honor of this legend. 



We have three plum trees. A Menthley which is an early season variety that is somewhat self-fertile and crops reliably and two Burbank (Prunus salicina) which is the most commercial of plum trees and produces a purplish-red fruit. Generally plums are not self-fertile so at least two plum varieties are needed for pollination and fruitfulness. One variety acts as the pollen parent for the other variety and vice versa.


As beautiful as these blooms are now the real work begins...hand-thinning the blooms. This is recommended to improve crop yield and it also helps in pest control. If the fruit is bunched together it gives the bad bugs a great place to hide.

Many farmers around the world have believed that the spots on a ladybug tells the fortune of the next harvest. If there are fewer than seven spots, the harvest will be good. Well, look what I found, a lady bug without spots! Does this mean we will have a bountiful crop of plums this year? We shall see...


17 comments:

  1. They are beautiful! Hope you get a good crop!!

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  2. Plum is one of my favorite trees to use in landscaping. Not the fruiting ones though. The flowers are so pretty and your images show them at their best. Good luck for a good harvest!

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  3. Beautiful plum flowers. I enjoy your ladybug story. I have the spotless ones and the striped ones as shown on the header of my blog. Do I count the stripes?

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  4. Here's hoping for a bountiful harvest...and I love that book...I used to collect children's books as a teacher....and the ladybug story I will have to remember..hoping to attract and keep ladybugs in my garden this year...

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  5. They must be beautiful to see. I have been looking at all the beautiful redbuds and pear trees in Austin and thinking I could use one in my backyard.
    I love your header, too!!!

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  6. Thanks Eve, me too!

    GWGT, thanks Donna, this is my first go at fruit trees so it will be interesting to see what type of crop we get.

    One, I love your stripped ladybug. I have never seen one in person. I only know the red (orange) with black spots or the white with black spots)

    Donna, it is a great story especially to read to children. I have plenty of ladybugs in my garden but always want more. I am thinking about purchasing a ladybug house where they can overwinter (as opposed to coming in my house).

    Thanks Amy, I took the header photo one day after we had some strong winds which blew many of the cherry blossoms to the ground. They looked so lovely laying amongst the mulch. I love the red buds too! I would like to have one in my garden as well. Got it on the list.

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  7. Dear Karin, Thank you for reminding us about a great American hero. Lovely blossoms on your plums! I hope you have a great harvest this year. Yummy fruit! I love the story of the lady bugs dots. Rather like the wooly caterpillar and if the winter will be long or not. I guess this year it was a thick black band for our winter is still holding on. Enjoy your spring!!

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  8. Learned several things today from your post...I had never heard about the spots on the lady bug referring to the harvest! Good to know ;) Glad to see spring is making it's way farther north!

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  10. Hi Karin, I had no idea there was a Johnny Appleseed day. What a great part of history to remember. It looks like you found a type of asian ladybug. I've never seen one without spots before but apparently it's becoming more common in North America to see them. Last year I joined the Lost Ladybug Project so learned a little bit about ladybugs along the way.

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  11. What beautiful photos! Your post brought back memories. As a child, we had two plum trees. I loved to pick and eat them when they were golden, before they were fully ripe. Our trees produced abundantly every year. I know my parents never thinned them. They were planted years before we moved in, and I have no idea what variety they were. They were delicious!

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  12. Yum! I, too, remember Plums from my childhood. Our neighbors had several Plum trees in their backyard and they allowed us to pick them whenever we wanted to. I seem to remember them ripening in summertime and they were so refreshing on a hot day! Lovely photos!

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  13. Thanks for your ladybird story. I remember as a child, I used to love ladybirds. They were the only insects that I didn't find creepy. Now I'm lucky if I see one a year in London - I'm sure that's not a good sign.

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  14. I hope the lady bug is a good omen and you have a great harvest of fruit!

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  15. Great post! - The last photo is beautiful.. I hope you have a great harvest this year. Plum jelly sounds wonderful right now :)

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  16. Beautiful blooms - may you have a bountiful harvest !

    I'm looking forward to blooms in my apple orchard in a couple of months (back home in Canada).

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  17. I'm catching up with blog and I see how lovely your garden is developing, I would love to taste those apples! Lula

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"Don't wait for someone to bring you flowers. Plant your own garden and decorate your soul"

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