Saturday, April 5, 2014

Pluot Pollination, and Roses are Blooming

Spring is here and I hope many of you are enjoying your gardens at or near their best. I am sorry about another long absence, but I hope this long post will atone for it somewhat :)

Elie Beauvilain
I have been busy with many things, but in the garden, the project that took most time this spring was trying to figure out pollination for pluots.

I am used to apple and cherry trees, and it took me years to realize how aggressive pluot pruning should be to increase flowering. 

Pluots are technically crosses between Japanese plums and apricots, but are essentially improved Japanese plums, with little if any (or so some people say) apricot genes. Pluots taste absolutely wonderful and are very healthy garden trees in this climate. The only problem I and some other people have had is getting some varieties (there are quite a lot of them in the market) to set more than a modest fruit crop.

The pollen is sticky and hard to transfer by hand.

 It seems that the pollen of at least some varieties is not very attractive to pollinators.

I rarely saw bees on my pluot flowers. Hover flies were much more frequent visitors.

 Even growing several varieties close together (I have seven now) does not result in big crops, at least not in my garden :/. We do get plenty of fruit for fresh eating, but I don't think I will ever have enough to worry about making jam...

It does not look like a bumper crop: the little yellow fruit will soon fall off, it resulted from flowers that have not been pollinated.  This is Splash, a partially self-fruitful variety (to the best of my knowledge)

And now back to roses. My garden is not quite at peak bloom, but soon will be.


We had a warm and largely rainless winter, and the roses started growing early.


The balmy weather was followed by a spate of rain and wind, which  brought quite a bit of damage to the blooms.

April in Paris

 Nevertheless, the rain is welcome, and many flowers remained unspoiled. Here are some of them:

Crown Princess Margareta


Mme Berard


Carding Mill


Roseraie de l'Hay

Golden Celebration

Jaune Desprez (?) at the San Jose Heritage Rose Garden

Rubens at the Heritage

'Grandmother's Hat' at the Heritage

Mme Edouard Herriot

Rosa Primula at the Heritage

Souvenir d'un Ami at the Heritage

Sutter's Gold

'Tina Marie'

We gardeners are the luckiest of people. Whatever life throws at us, as long as  the garden blooms, we have a source of joy, tranquility and beauty, always waiting, just outside the door.