Today I went out and got some lovely photos of the early spring blossoms. Warning, this post contains many high-res photos.
There’s not a whole lot blooming, but there’s some. We’re still a long while away from the violets, dandelions and asters that flood my lawn in late summer and fall.
It’s really nice to see all the life starting to creep back into the world, though. And these early flowers can be a lifesaver for bees, especially wild ones.
I even took a few shots of the tree out front of my house. The same one you saw weighed down under snow in my last post. The lovely pink blossoms are just about on their way out. After much digging I have finally identified this mystery tree outside my house as am ornamental plum tree, either a cherry plum or purple leaf plum. Both have edible fruits in the late summer to early fall ideal for making jams. I had NO idea that this was the case, and perhaps I shall have the opportunity to taste them this year. I have my pectin and jelly jars all ready!
Also on the list of “things I didn’t know” are these gorgeous pink flowers that produced for me one whole apple last year. I was shocked. When I saw it, I thought it was some sort of bug’s nest hanging on a branch. I have NEVER seen this plant do anything before, but I knew it was in the rose family and given that it never produced a fruit, I assumed it was a rose bush, not a fruit tree. But apparently it’s an APPLE shrub!
Who knew!? Maybe we will get more apples from it some day. I would like to try to graft some branches onto it from other very-early blooming apple trees and see if I can get a real apple crop! I shall be trimming it down aggressively this year, along with the plum tree. They both need a serious pruning.
Even our Magnolia is in bloom, though it’s flowers aren’t quite so useful. They don’t even feed bees, and the tree is a mess. It’s my least favorite plant on my property.
Pretty much all of these plants were put in by the people who owned this house before the people who owned this house before us. Apparently they were a couple of old retired ladies who loved to garden. I find myself in need of upping my game. The plants they chose are generally lovely, but I want to grow flowers too! Specifically bee flowers. You may recall some of my previous posts about gardening, especially for bees, wherein I attempted to grow some bee-friendly flowering plants to ultimately end in epic failure as they were dug up by my chickens escaping the confines of their chicken pen.
Well this year, I thought I’d try again. I invested $20 in a mixed shade perennial package from Costco, same as last time. It came with five hostas, five astibles and five crimson star columbines. These are all big bee attractant plants that bloom from early to late summer. And so far, things are going OK.
The plants came in plastic bags which I immediately opened, tried to sort them into generally upright positions, and then watered heavily. Recently I repotted them. Since then, the columbines have done squat nothing, they may indeed be dead completely on three of them.
But the astibles and hostas are doing MUCH better!
In addition to these I also purchased a pair of lilac bushes that were similarly sad and pathetic upon arrival. Lilacs are good for butterflies, and sub-par for bees, but they are my favorite flowers, and all pollinators need food, including butterflies.
They have since perked up significantly and nearly doubled in size.
And lastly, I also did some homesteading things while I was outside today. I started by pruning and separating some blackberry canes that were starting to overgrow.
Then I weeded the strawberry bed. The weeds were then tossed right back into the bed, root side up, to produce mulch for the strawberries. It may not look like much but the nine plants we put in last year have multiplied into a couple dozen. Depending on how well they do, some of them might be dug up, washed, and repotted for some vertical gardening I would like to do.
And with the advent of freshly disturbed mulch, dirt and plant, the chickens attempted to lend a beak to the process.
So they were given a handful of wheat berries that we use to grow fodder on occasion, away from the strawberries, which kept them distracted until nightfall.
Making today a warm, beautiful, and otherwise rewarding day. I just still wish that the REST of my lawn wasn’t quite a swamp, so I could get right down to gardening. This weather would have been perfect for it!