Friday, January 5, 2018

Friday Miscellany

I've been busy with the garden for the past week but not at all focused, jumping from one activity to another.  As I did so, various sights caught my interest, if only temporarily, so I decided to consolidate them into a grab-bag post.

Staring out my home office window, I noticed some bright green spots on the mimosa tree (Albizia julibrissin) and promptly went outside to investigate.  As background, this is a tree that spends a good deal of the year naked (except for the seedpods that it drops all year).  It doesn't leaf out until late April or early May and it begins dropping both foliage and flowers once in starts blooming in late June, returning to its naked state in October.

Here's what the tree looks like at the moment when viewed from a distance


So what's happening here?!

When I first noticed the green foliage, all I could see were green leaves.  The stems started to develop a couple of days afterwards, when I took this photo.  It looked so odd and so unlike anything I'd seen the tree do before that I briefly wondered if some other plant had colonized the tree's trunk.

But no, yesterday I found signs of more conventional stem development on a couple of the tree's higher branches.  Still, the fact that it's leafing out almost 4 months ahead of schedule is very odd.


Perhaps the fact that we've had the driest start to our "rainy season" since 1930 has the tree acting as if we've leap-frogged winter into spring?  Or perhaps it overheard me talking to the arborist about cutting it back or even taking it out?  It remains to be seen whether the fresh green foliage will be short-lived or the start of a trend.

Meanwhile, across the street, the tree that MDN of Un jardin en clima subtropical húmedo identified for me as Melia azedarbach (aka Chinaberry or Persian Lilac) is positively glowing.

Right now, the tree's foliage almost matches the new paint color of the house just up the hill from it, barely visible in the background here.  Unlike my fig tree at the bottom of the back slope, I also noticed that the one here next to the Melia azadarbach still has some lovely yellow leaves, whereas mine dropped the last of its leaves during October's extended heatwave.


Back in my own garden, our citrus trees look to be headed for a banner year despite the woeful lack of rain.

The noID Mandarin orange tree is loaded with fruit, still not quite ripe but getting there.  We're already eating some of the Washington navel oranges, which are nearly the size of grapefruits and so much tastier than the fruit bought at the supermarket.  The lime tree (far right) is bearing well too but its fruit is less visible.

And our lovely lemon tree remains the best feature of the back slope.  Despite my massive giveaway of fruit several weeks ago, there's still plenty on the tree.  This tree bears continuously year-round - the only time we were without ripe lemons was the year following the the intense heatwave in June 2015, when all the fruit dropped as the temperature suddenly hit 106F.


I've even paid a couple of visits to my local garden centers since Christmas and, although they've yet to restock after clearing out their Christmas trees, I managed to find sufficient items of interest to liquidate the gift cards I received as Christmas presents.  Most of those purchases have gone into plants for the new lath house, which I'll share at another time.  However, I saw some interesting cacti on one recent trip, which I thought I'd share.

This is Opuntia subulata montrose 'Gumbi'.  I'd never seen an Opuntia sporting bright colored foliage reminiscent of Euphorbia 'Sticks on Fire' before.

The garden center also stocked several of 'Gumbi's' relatives, including this one labeled as Christmas Tree Cactus

And this hybrid (Opuntia vestita x subulata), labeled as Opuntia hybrid crest 'Roller Coaster'

This plant was also new to me.  It's Pereskia grandiflora violacea.  My photo doesn't do the flower justice.  All these plants were under a shade structure that made them difficult to photograph.

Unlike some of my favorite bloggers, I shy away from true cactus, especially the really prickly kinds.  However, I found myself repeatedly thinking about this plant, Pilosocereus azureus, after I left the garden center.  This photo doesn't fully capture its ethereal blue color.  After looking it up on-line I'm even more covetous.  But it was expensive and it apparently grows rather quickly to 12 feet tall.  Perhaps, if I can find a window-sill size plant to start with, I'll try it one day...



That's my wrap up for the week.  Enjoy your weekend!


All material © 2012-2018 by Kris Peterson for Late to the Garden Party

24 comments:

  1. Not to be alarmist, but many trees start producing more adventitious shoots like your Albizia is doing when they are declining due to age, disease, or environmental stress. You may want to talk to your arborist about it. Fresh citrus may be the facet of your climate I envy the most.

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    1. Ugh, I had a vague fear that the unprecedented growth on the Albizia could be reflective of decline. Although I have a long list of issues with the tree, replacing it, especially in the same area, would also present a host of problems. The arborist should be back later this month when his crew is scheduled to trim our trees, including removal of 3 large branches on the Albizia, so I'll consult him again then.

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  2. Kris, your citrus trees looks amazing! I had a big lemon tree but didn't survive the transplant when a neighbor built a wall, I'd like to have a grapefuit and a bergamot orange tree.

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    1. I don't think lemon trees like being moved. Ours came with the house and, like the 3 other citrus trees, has probably been in place more than 20 years.

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  3. Your citrus trees look marvelous - If you're looking to get rid of some fruit, I'll pay for shipping! :)

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    1. Ha! It's only the lemon tree that sometimes produces in excess of demand. My husband and I LOVE those navel oranges!

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  4. Those Opuntia plants are very cool - I hadn't seen any of those yet. And your citrus trees are wonderful. All in all a very nice grab bag to start the first weekend of 2018!

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    1. All those Opuntia were new to me too. If only they didn't have those nasty glochids and thorns!

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  5. I think all of us who read your blog are familiar with the love-hate relationship you have with the mimosa. I'm in the get-rid-of-it camp..I love trees but only in the right place. I will be having a 30ish year old and way taller than my 2 story house Liquidambar cut down this winter before I fall on my keister and break something stepping on the damn sticky-balls and/or the thing drops anymore branches at random.However, this removal will dramatically change the exposure in my back garden-in a good way actually and I have been preparing for months.

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    1. Perhaps the biggest wild-card I have, one that you don't face, is the parameters of our "view conservation" ordinance, which could prevent me from replacing the mimosa with anything nearly as tall. Hopefully, my current neighbors won't be as difficult as my former neighbor up the street was and perhaps I could argue that any new obstruction is less than or equal to that presented by the mimosa but whether that argument would fly is questionable. The other major issue is that the current tree is planted on top of a relatively steep slope, which could be destabilized by its removal. On the other hand, my husband might like the elimination of the impairment to "his view."

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  6. Ugh, I was worried about the same thing Evan noted (and in a much more technical way than I would have). Love that ‘Gumbi'!

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    1. Although Kathy is right that I struggle with that mimosa and it's certainly not what I'd have chosen for that location, the thought of cutting it down is more than a little unnerving. We'll see what the arborist says later this month.

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  7. Those cacti plants are rather attractive but I think if they grew to 12 feet they'd be scary monsters.Interesting about the Mimosa's unusual growth, maybe climate change? Or maybe telepathy. Good looking citrus fruit - did you water them?

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    1. And you can't prune those Pileosocereus to keep them smaller! I water almost everything here, Sue. Our annual rainy period is just a few months long and, this year, a no-show thus far.

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    1. I clicked the wrong spot and removed your comment by mistake, Alison. For some reason, Blogger didn't warn me either. I'd love to see how the Pilosocerus does in your garden. I'm guessing it's in a pot, which may keep its size in check.

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  9. Oh, your citrus trees are so healthy! I'm salivating at the taste of all those oranges, limes, and lemons! We have a small Meyer Lemon that goes outside in the summer and inside during the winter. The lemons are small, but so tasty! Your lemon tree is so beautiful! Oh, to have ripe lemons year-round! You are blessed! :)

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    1. I know that Florida lays claim on the citrus industry but citrus does well here too. There were citrus groves all over the inland valley I grew up in but they sadly disappeared over time as the area made room for homes and business.

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  10. I'm so envious of your citrus trees, it must be wonderful to pick your own oranges and clementines.
    I never liked cacti but once you fall in love with succulents it's a slippery slope, you find yourself admiring plants you wouldn't have glanced at before.

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    1. Succulents are addictive! And I know you've already dipped your toe into those waters - beware!

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  11. Your citrus trees are loaded! Very impressive!

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    1. The mandarin oranges bear heavily every other year and this is the other year!

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  12. I thought you had a Melia, I must have imagined it. I have two, plus some seedlings I'm considering putting on the slope. The tree does very well here and has no problem during the drought, it has interest most of the year from its fabulous bark to the flowers and impressive berries; the down side for your garden is perhaps that it grows incredibly quickly!

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    1. I've featured the neighbor's Melia a couple of times, which is probably why you remember it, Christina. It's considered somewhat invasive here and it can get big fast. The neighbors usually cut it back severely so it can be controlled even here. That tree, like many of mine, was the another source of our former tree-hating neighbor's complaints. I wonder if the neighbors will cut it back this year, now that she's gone?

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