Friday, 19 September 2014

It’s Spring! (and all about my plums)

The highly fragrant star jasmine was first out

Here in Perth we have had a ridiculously warm finish to winter and start of spring. Out in the garden it has been less of a gradual transition from dormancy back to life and more of a concentrated rush and everything seems to be in flower at once.

One of several apricot trees in flower

Interspersed with the warmish days of winter were enough cold and chilly ones to hit the required chill hours for my plum trees and they have looked an absolute treat this year. Last year, nights were too warm for my medium chill fruit trees and they didn’t flower or fruit as they should have.

A close look at some plum blossom

I’m a big fan of blood plums so I have three trees, a Mariposa, a Ruby Blood plum and a Satsuma. My plum season stretches from mid-February starting with the Mariposa to the end of April with the Ruby Blood plum. The Mariposa and Ruby Blood plum are cross pollinators for each other.

Irises, looking great

The plum trees vary in habit from each other, with the Ruby Blood plum being a more spreading tree and also far and away the heavier fruiter and flowerer. I guess this means it needs less chill hours than the others. When it came to choosing the spots to plant these trees in, I turned to my trusty fruit tree bible: The Complete Book of Fruit Growing in Australia by Louis Glowinski. Louis told me the Mariposa would be a narrow upright growing tree and so I planted it in a tight corner where my pergola meets my garden beds. Luckily he was right and it is probably no more than a metre wide so it still fits. The shape of the Satsuma fits somewhere between the two, more your traditional vase shaped tree.

Elvins putting on a show

Over the winter I planted a standard prunus ‘Elvins’. I bought it (from Guildford Garden Centre) to plant in the centre of a path and I needed a tree I could walk under. It’s a tree I had never seen in real life before so seeing it in flower was something I had been looking forward to with a little anxiety. Luckily it didn’t disappoint me: its branches were smothered in cluster of very pale pink to white blossom.

Wisteria flowers

By far the biggest show stopper this year has been my wisteria which I have growing as a standard against an old Hills hoist clothesline. This was a plant that had been on my wishlist for many years and when the opportunity arose to plant one I grabbed it and here it is…


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