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We use beneficial insects to control aphids and spider mites.
Fountain Enhancements
May 15, 2008
Blog PictureThe dragon fountain in the back yard is getting some new and cool things.

The first thing that happened was a trip to Pets on Broadway for some fish. I have learned that goldfish will survive the winter outdoors in our climate under the right conditions, so I was all set to get some interesting looking goldfish.

"Better start with these 'feeder goldfish,'" said the fish store guy. "They're goners anyway!"

I didn't ask what feeder goldfish get fed to (didn't want to know) and he said any fountain needed to get biologically balanced for a while, and some of the fish were definitely going to be casualties. This was the cheapest way to do it.

The first day a couple of them washed overboard, who knows how.

Out of the eight, three are now left. Their pot is getting murky, partly because (or mostly because) we had to turn off the fountain for a few days so Jim could wire in the permanent electricity.

Now we have a trench along the edge of the patio where the bluebells are, then taking a sharp perpendicular turn south to the wall of the neighbor's garage, where a nice new up to code outlet will be located.

Thank you Jim!!!!

Meanwhile, Portland flower market happenings: everybody is recovering from Mother's Day. Some were not very excited about their sales, and said they were down. Others report a good day, however with many customers waiting until the last minute. Those who were open on Sunday for cash and carry said it was worth it. Doug of Broadway Floral said that many people enjoy picking out their own flowers and putting together a bouquet on their own, and this method works great during the holiday rush.

We are at the end of the lily of the valley season for Peterkort Roses. An unusual weather year with lots of cold weather, but our convallaria came through once more for us and bloomed early. Haven't seen any other in the market yet, usually by now it's all over. And the hot weather we are supposed to have tomorrow will definitely fry things.

Peonies are very slow coming on this year. Walking in the neighborhood this morning with my friend Kyra I saw two humongous and beautiful tree peonies! Wow! This is another must-have for the back yard - a large white one would be wonderful. Herbaceous peonies for cut flowers are barely getting going. It's just been so incredibly cold.

May 8, 2008
Blog PictureIf you are interested in roses that smell good, you might want to read my riff on this subject in the May "News" - to access just click on News in the green box to the left of this blog.

I was thinking about this some more when pondering the relationship between smell and taste.

As we know, when we have a cold, or allergies (and it's bad right now, tree pollen is congesting sinuses all over town), your sense of smell is debilitated. And so nothing tastes very interesting either. Smell and taste are related and the absence of particularly the sense of smell hurts the sense of taste too.

I recall reading somewhere that a person has a difficult time distinguishing an apple from an onion if blindfolded and the nose is plugged up.

My conclusion from all this is that smell is more important than taste. You can ask any dog!

Pictured above is probably our most wonderful smelling rose, Lavande. An older variety with a beautiful deep lavender color, Lavande smells very fruity with citrus and lychee notes.

To jazz up a bouquet, tuck some in - they may last only a few days, but the "wow factor" makes it a fabulous addition.

Just ask Beka from Origin on Northeast Alberta - she does this all the time to enhance gift bouquets.

Anyway, check out the scent pyramid in this month's News and read about Ann Noble, the University of California Davis wine expert!

Vengeance is Mine, Saith the...Cherry Tree????
May 4, 2008
Blog PictureAh spring, finally, the Kwanzan flowering cherries are blooming at the farm. Here is Mom with a famous tree from the row...

It seems that when these were planted and were short, the deer at the farm fancied them as especially tasty.

Dad wrapped the trunks with chicken wire to protect them, and so they grew, but the deer still loved to eat them.

One beautiful Sunday morning, a hapless deer reared up on its hind legs to defeat the chicken wire and get up to the yummy flowers.

But...oh no! Its hoof became wedged into the crotch of the tree and it couldn't get out...it struggled and pulled, only managing to break its own leg. A sad story.

The deer was turned into venison by Primitivo and his friends, and so the tree became the Deer Eating Tree.

Many plants protect themselves by poison, spines, and hard trunks. But this tree managed to maim its attacker using the direct approach...

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