ABOUT YELLOW JACKETS AND THE BENEFITS OF WASPS IN THE GARDEN NEW
there is just a link to Ringing Cedars of Russia that I want to publish here fyi on this subject - I was surprised as we always tried to get rid of them back at our dacha in Moscow. Even here, in Australian these insects are very annoying... but now we know...
SILVER BIRCH? NEW
just finished - from 10am - three hours of gardening, autumn leaves cleaning and the rest of time - cleaning the garage with Yoshi Lis... well 'thank you' is said to each other and exchange of kisses followed... like my mom says: "it's so clean, that there is nowhere to spit at - except at ourselves :)" and yes, we are all covered in dirt... just two dirty people we are :) should go have a shower.
new discoveries though: i found a young shoot of silver birch tree about 20 cm high ; it probably started growing from our neighbours' mother-tree seeds; we had to re-plant the seedling to the 'right' place... not that many flowers are left for winter. i took some photos. and take a look at the pumpkin - what all this fuss growing all around our garden was about? - to get us a couple of plum-size pumpkins? strange crazy plant it was! - just a waste...
I am running of ideas but I will think about something constructive that will bring some new and fresh ideas to your minds... just have to concentrate on the subject of gardening... for now there is a bit of our own
wild violets hot chili peppers some flowering plants (i have no idea what they r called) just a bit of yellow colors in the garden on roses and grapes shooting life - young lemon tree potatoes (WTH?) some winter bulbs are shooting out flowering tomatoes (WTH again? where did they come from? composter soil?) flowering wild strawberries pumpkin young springs (it just simply does not understand that its time is up!) japanese maple falling red leaves - i love the colors rosehips seeds irises are showing up slowly and my favourite fragrant daffnees forgot the name of the large red bells plant camelias some winter mess from falling leaves and naked trees pear tree falliage that's it!
i asked alex on any ideas what to write about in gardening section. he replied in one go: "tell me when the lemons will be on our tree?" good one yoshi! especially considering that we planted it less than a year ago. i dunno (definitely not in 36 hours after planting!) but i will find out... I found a good article to answer alex's question:
Having lived in an orchard area surrounded by citrus for the past 15 years, you’d think that I would know everything there is to know about the fruit.
I probably had a bit of nous when I first came here, because in those days you didn’t often see much outside of oranges, lemons, mandarins and grapefruit. Even the 150 lime trees that were on this property when I bought it were considered exotic, and I was hugely popular with friends when I visited with plastic bags of Tahitian limes, for which people often paid as much as $20 a kilo.
But these days there are so many citrus hybrids I can’t keep up, so I’m frequently on the internet trying to find out what on earth pomelo, citrine, trifoliate orange, desert lime, natsumikan, daidai and etrogs are. No, I’m not kidding – etrogs! But more on that later.
Citrus, I’m saddened to report, are promiscuous in the extreme. They’ll hook up with just about any other citrus at the drop of a hat, and this behaviour makes it dif cult to know exactly how many natural species there were originally. There may have been as few as four, with the rest being natural or man-made hybrids.
Oranges are the result of an ancient hybridisation – possibly a blend of pomelo and mandarin – while the lemon has been genetically linked to the sour orange and citron. The grapefruit is a more recent hybrid of pomelo and sweet orange that dates to the 19th century. Busy little souls, then.
When you’re looking into the sexual proclivities of citrus, the pomelo rears its head with shameful regularity. If you haven’t heard of a pomelo, you may have heard of a pummelo. Or, if you’re from the UK, a shaddock. If you’re looking for them in the supermarket, they may be labelled Chinese grapefruit. But whatever you want to call them, they’re the largest of all citrus fruits and will grow here if you can keep them warm enough.
It’s soft, with thick rind enclosing white or pink flesh. The rind tears off and segments separate easily, and there’s no chewy membrane. The taste is pretty fabulous – mild and sweet without the bitterness of, say, a grapefruit. Not unexpectedly, the pomelo tree is described as precocious. It’s also prolific, although it occasionally takes a year off. It’s good looking and will grow in a large container.
I’m keen to try the Citrus Cipo Orange. Not so much for the fruit, but because it’s a compact, weeping tree ideal for a small garden. I know, I know, two acres isn’t small, but I’d use this as an ornamental tree with benefits, so to speak. These sorts of trees look gorgeous close to the house, lending a Greek flavour to the landscape design. The Cipo Orange grows about 1.5m x 1.5m, is self-fertile, and grafted trees start bearing between two and four years from planting. The large, orange fruit are juicy and sweet with very few seeds. I like that in a citrus.
The Citrus KiwiCitrus Sweetie is a bit bigger, growing to around 3m x 2m, but is still a manageable size for a suburban garden. It’s a mandarin/tangerine hybrid with easy peel fruit and the sweet flavour is quite distinctive. It’s self-fertile and trees grown from cuttings bear fruit between two and four years after planting. The fusion of two of my favourites – kumquat and lime – has produced perfection in a citrus tree. The limequat is a hybrid between the West Indian lime and the kumquat, and it’s not too demanding in terms of heat. It makes a good-looking, 3m x 2m shrub and bears lemon-coloured fruit just about all year round. It leans towards the lime in avour and acidity but has hung on to the lovely, oval kumquat shape for its fruit.
Kumquats are among the hardiest citrus trees and hybrids can grow in all citrus regions. Buy in company for your limequat – an orangequat; a satsuma mandarin; and Meiwa kumquat hybrid. It has mildly sweet rind and tart flesh, is bright orange and makes great marmalade.
The tree is highly ornamental – ideal for containers. Citrus may be promiscuous when it comes to hooking up with almost anything, so you could be forgiven for thinking one had a fling with a raspberry when you first meet a blood orange.
Certain types can be grown in New Zealand but I’m not sure they replicate the astonishing, blood-red flesh of the imported fruit. If you check this out online, be aware that when you type in “blood orange” you’ll be inundated with links to a band of the same name. If you’re not in a hurry, have a listen – they’re really good.
LAID-BACK FRUIT JUST LOVES A CUPPA
As you’d expect of a tree with a casual moral code, citrus are pretty relaxed. Theylike to be warm and well fed, with free-draining soil high in organic matter. Full sun is good but they handle shade, although too much will make them spindly. And they do have a few special requests: • Chook poo please – citrus love it. Our hens roosted in one of the lime trees and within two years it was a good 30% bigger than the rest. We’ve had no hens for ages but that tree is still our best producer. • Citrus enjoy a decent cuppa, so throw a few tea bags around the base, or if you’re old-fashioned enough to have a teapot, empty it there. • No matter how old-fashioned you may be, chances are you don’t have a chamber pot. But there’s plenty of anecdotal evidence that citrus appreciate urine for its high nitrogen levels. Popular opinion says to water the tree first, supply it with urine, and water it in afterwards. If you’re getting a male partner to do this during the night, it might pay to leave a watering can full of water by the tree. • If you buy a seedless citrus tree, plant it well away from any lemon tree that bears seeds. Cross-pollination will cause your seedless fruit to have seeds. Pretty much what you’d expect of the sexy citrus.
For a conversation piece, you could grow an etrog – not so much for its taste, but for its historic and cultural value. This odd little fruit is used in rituals of the Jewish festival of Sukkot, which commemorates travel in the desert and the final harvest. It’s also known as the Feast of Tabernacles or the Festival of Ingathering. The etrog is said to represent the heart, because of its shape. And due to its pleasant scent and taste, it’s also said to represent the ideal kind of Jew, who has both knowledge of Torah and good deeds. Some research suggests that the etrog was the forbidden fruit in the Garden of Eden, confused with the apple because the ancient Greeks called it the Persian apple, Median apple or golden apple.