Three years ago I bought a satsuma tree.
I brought it home in anticipation of husband arriving back home so he could plant it out on Highway 90.
Toby thought that tree in a pot must have had something wonderful hidden among its roots. She dug it out of the pot three times.
Lee, who mows the yard for me, happened to be there when I was trying to pick up the tree—again and repot it. He was laughing. I gave up on waiting to plant it elsewhere and asked him to plant it somewhere that was a good spot–and not where Toby could dig it up.
The first year we had a dozen fruits.
The next year two dozen–we cherished them–saved them for special occasions.
We had a hard frost last winter and were afraid we might lose the tree–along with our Meyer Lemon.
But we have had bushels of fruit–we became so spoiled–just run out to the front yard and pick a half dozen, when those were gone, go get more.
Starting in October, we have had fresh fruit from the tree. I’ve picked several dozen lemons, given away some, and then there were no more.
But as soon as we mourned the loss of the fresh fruit, blossoms appeared. Branches are heavy and need propping against the promised fruit.
And the lemon tree?
Covered with blossoms with bees eagerly working away.
While working on the apiary yesterday, I checked on my tank garden.
The tanks are conveniently elevated for my back, but have the disadvantage of not draining when overwhelmed with Noah’s Ark level of rain. One tank was flooded out–but one tank has a healthy crop of lettuce nearly ready for harvesting.
I have a few peas–not as many as I would like—but still a few fresh peas will be added to our dining pleasure.
My northern relatives are taking photos of birds in bare shrubs in backgrounds of snow; I am thinking that I didn’t remember my bee suit as being that hot—and sinking three or four inches into the mud.
Each morning I get up, look out my bedroom window, hoping to see vistages of sunshine. But the last few weeks have been gray, drizzly, foggy, and COLD!
My Wisconsin relatives think that it is always hot here and our houses are warm and cozy. This house is designed for heat outside, not cold outside—and I wear slippers and robe and each sitting area has a set of afghans or quilts to wrap up in.
But then there are the flowers.
Azaleas are in full bloom. Ditto the peach tree–and maybe I will get some peaches this year. We picked the last satsuma three weeks ago—we had become quite spoiled–want some fresh fruit, just go pick one or two off the tree.
I still have lemons to process–maybe I’ll make some marmalade–there are still dozens left on the tree. Again, so spoiled.–want a fresh lemon–just go pick one or two.
I understand another major snow storm is forecast for this weekend—for all my relatives and friends who live in the icebox regions of our world–perhaps you can enjoy these blooms—and spend a few minutes looking through your seed catalogs which somehow always arrive in mid January.
Here is the link to the azaleas and peach blossoms.https://sylviaweirphotos.smugmug.com/Whatsblooming/March-flowers/i-NJRkXTk/A
My mother always planted a row of Marigolds and Zinnias in her vegetable garden along the edge. Zinnias are easy to grow, proliferate wildly and show a variety of colorations. Marigolds on the other hand are always bright orange and gold; their scent being repulsive.
Rabbits and deer do not like marigolds. They will eat potato plants, tomato plants, and love lettuce, broccoli, cabbage and all the other vegetables you plan to grow in your garden.
I tried raised beds here in Southeast Texas where the local soil will harden like fired piece of pottery if insufficient rain–and if there is sufficient rain glues itself together. And San Augustine grass loves to crawl across the top of it, engulfing your preferred vegetation.
I did fairly well the first couple of years, then the grass invaded and despite my best efforts dominated the raised beds. I also had a few back surgeries making leaning over to the ground challenging.
My next attempt was stock tanks filled with rocks and soil. The first year rain was adequately spaced; this year not so. I have revised my watering system several times–this year a soaker hose with a timer.
Marigolds have flourished in these stock tanks, my tomatoes had their leaves completely eaten twice; the okra have produced enough for a couple of gallon bags in the freezer but not nearly as productive as past years.
Most gardeners always hope for a better year—next year—but here in Southeast Texas we get to have a winter garden….in the North, we could only drool over the seed catalogs which always seemed to appear in January–the dead of winter when the only green thing to be seen were winter jackets.
August is the season to find cherries in our local grocery store. My favorites are the Mount Ranier Cherries–golden with pinky-rose spots–they are sweet but not too sweet.
Then there is Okra–the blossoms are so pretty—like cotton and hollyhock blooms. I haven’t had a lot of success in my garden in past years and I had hoped to have a bountiful harvest of okra this year—the first year I planted it–I could pick it in the morning and in the afternoon—it grew so fast. This year has been quite a bit slower but still I have a nice amount set aside in the freezer for winter days–and have sampled more than a few as a vegetable stir fry medley.
Citrus trees supposedly grow really well here—and we have had good luck with our lemon tree. The past winter had freezing temperatures for several days and we were really afraid we had lost the tree–we covered it as best we could with sheets held down with tent pegs–it lost all the leaves–a few feeble blossoms early in the spring–and later a wealth of blossoms and the tree is covered once again with fruit.
The kumquat tree is still quite short–but has fruit on it again–last year there was a handful of kumquats–this year promises a bowlful.
And finally there is this. I don’t remember what kind of citrus it was supposed to be but that part died off–and now we have this root stock producing this fruit. If I really wanted fruit, I would hack it down and replant–but its outright ugliness is somehow appealing along with its will to survive despite all odds.
Every year around this time I see pink snow.
Until this year I thought it was a Southeast Texas phenomenon. Our house is surrounded by hundred year old crepe myrtles in pink and purple. The trees grow rapidly in rainy weather, shedding their bark in huge strips that drape like strangely colored icicles from their branches.
The blossoms drip nectar constantly and fall to the ground creating the illusion of pink snow. Perhaps people raised in the south call it something different—but to me—it is pink snow.
And then I discovered pink snow in Wisconsin.
My mother loved peonies–she pronounced it ‘piney’s’ as rhyming with pine. There are several planted around the farm-house and at my friend’s house–in pink and white. After a hard rain, the petals fall.
Peonies require the assistance of ants to open their blossoms–a requirement that I always found rather odd.
I grew up in rural southwestern Wisconsin. Everyone had a garden of vegetables–tomatoes, carrots, beans, potatoes, cabbage. With long days of sun-light, things grew like crazy–along with ragweed. Corn grew so fast you could hear it growing–always a good field crop if it was knee high by the Fourth—-a traditional photo for many farmers.
But everyone also planted flowers–zinnias and marigolds. Marigolds supposedly repelled rabbits and other things that liked to sample garden vegetation. And then zinnias–so colorful and so easy to grow. Both will reseed themselves given a chance–much to the dismay of one of my sister-in-laws in Virginia.
But then there are orchids–here they are exotic and raised in fancy greenhouses or in my case on my dining room table and back-yard. But where they are native–they grow like crazy in the wild–cross-pollinating themselves.
This past Sunday, the local orchid society met–and there were so many lovely blooms to be seen–all grown by other orchid afficionados.
I missed the assignment of ‘stripes’ but was able to complete the ‘dreamscape’ assignment.
About a block away from my house is a lovely old home that is now a museum. (McFadden-Ward Museum). The house sits on a full block with a large garden. Behind it on another block is the carriage house and behind that is a modern steel building with the offices of the people who manage the museum plus some of their collection that rotates in and out seasonally. Beside that building is a small garden.
It has large clumps of marigolds, zinnias, and a few garden vegetables–dill weed and tomatoes. There are also two cats patrolling the area.
This photo is of that garden–with a rooftop of a neighboring house erased. I wish I could have a flower garden as vibrant and colorful–but with dogs who wear paths around the fence I must content myself with finding other gardens to view.
I don’t remember smelling things like blackberries in bloom or apple trees when I was younger. I do remember the antiseptic smell of the hospital and the smell of binder’s glue in the library. The first floral scent was the carnation I wore for Confirmation Sunday and high school graduation.
Now, though, I can smell the magnolia trees in full bloom in my backyard and across the street, the wisteria that has bloomed and faded, the dewberries and blackberries, the lemon tree and the satsuma, honeysuckle and wild garlic.
So many lovely fragrances and although many people complain of their sense of taste and smell declining as they age–mine has not—.
Wish I could capture the smell of this Easter lily still putting out buds and in full flower in southern Louisiana.
With a surfeit of lemons last fall harvested from one lone lemon tree barely four feet tall, I hunted down recipes and ideas for dealing with those lemons. I gave many away but still had a lot left–and so I pickled them in quart jars with a lot of salt.
The lemons shrunk in size filling about half of four quart jars. I added olive oil to them and ran them through the blender. One jar had a lovely sprig of dill added prior to blenderizing.
The result has been a lovely mush of salted lemony flavor–perfect for fish or chicken.
And we were both pleased to see blossoms on that lemon tree hoping it survived our snow and icy temps this winter.