Spring has definitely sprung at Reverie. In fact, it began about six weeks ago! I noticed the first little star-like flowers on the spirea as well as the narcissus and hellebore blooms on January 17…
The buckeye began to leaf out on January 31…
And did you know that manzanitas actually have little pink bell-shaped blossoms in the spring? I didn’t realize that until we moved to Reverie with its many acres of manzanitas. The blossoms are only here for about six weeks so you need to see them in the early spring.
And now of course, by the beginning of March, the peach and apricot trees are blooming, the persimmon tree is leafing out, and the Asian greens, daikon radishes, and peas I planted a few weeks ago are sprouting. I’ve got peppers, eggplant, and tomato seedlings started under grow lights in the basement too.
I’ve been experimenting with propagating new plants through cuttings. I took some cuttings from a neighbor’s flowering quince bush (I LOVE flowering quince in the spring – it’s just stunning!) and I’m seeing if I can get some cuttings from our mulberry tree and the fig tree to root. It will be at least three months until I know if I’ve been successful so I will keep you posted.
But spring also brings those plants we don’t want. I spent this past Sunday afternoon trying to clear out some baby scotch broom plants before they bloom. I didn’t quite make it – I noticed a few of the larger ones were starting to show their bright yellow flowers. It’s a beautiful plant when it blooms – in a week or so the steep hillsides around here will be spectacular with thousands of bright yellow flowers — but this invasive species has spread like crazy through our area of the foothills with a single plant producing more than 10,000 seeds. Stan and my mother spent quite a few days over the past few years painstakingly pulling out mature scotch broom plants from the oak grove, but I imagine it will be several more years of pulling out the baby plants before we can declare that area a ‘scotch broom free’ zone.
And of course the poison oak is starting to sprout as well. I don’t think I’m sensitive to it – I’ve never had an outbreak even though I must have been exposed over my lifetime of traipsing through territory infested with poison oak – but I haven’t actually rubbed any on my skin to be sure.
We are slowly working on eradicating the poison oak. This weekend I plan to take a shovel and try to dig out the little plants sprouting out. We don’t want to use any chemicals so a shovel is really the only way. But if anyone else has an easier method, please let me know!
The past few days we’ve had someone here with a bobcat brushing out a few acres below the small pond that we want to develop into a mini-farm. That area is so choked with brush and blackberry bushes that we didn’t realize there were quite a few beautiful oak trees hidden back there until he started clearing everything away. It will be a great place to plant the vegetables we will need to supply the retreat center guests with produce right out of the ground — and hopefully a greenhouse as well.
Happy Spring to everyone!
P.S. Be sure to mark your calendars for our Friends and Family camping weekend August 7 – 9. It’s around the time of the Perseid meteor showers and there’s a new moon so stargazing should be spectacular! More details to come as we figure out our game plan this year.