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Fruit Tree Advice

A riot of bloom in my garden

My back and front yards are full of flowers right now, finally. Many are among the wildly successful plants I wrote about in the book by that name. I have California poppies, which even the 7 year old neighbor girl knows are the "California flower." (A mother gave one to a toddler in a stroller as they walked by yesterday. OK with me as long as he doesn't eat it.) Then there are red and pink watsonias (in different areas), foxglove, columbine, nigella, Mexican daisy, hybrid English daisy, crown lychnis, calla lily, forget-me-not, nasturtium, and cineraria daisies in shades from blue violet through red violet, with many bicolored ones. The purple linarias are just coming into bloom, and the poor man's orchid (Impatiens balfourii) is starting to fill out.

Another of my favorites is nicotiana, and I have a white one that comes back year after year, though it is supposed to be an annual. I think the less highly bred ones are more likely to naturalize than the newer hybrids. Its blossoms open most fully evening through morning, and are lovely to see at dusk or dawn. A 'Cecil Brunner' shrub rose is in full bloom, covered with its pink rosebuds that open to fully double flowers about 2 inches across. And the Rosa chinensis is starting to bloom. This is a single (five-petalled) rose that opens peach, turns pink, and then, before the petals fall, they turn light violet. The effect is several colors on one plant. My plant is two years old, and just getting going. I have seen huge shrubs of it, but my plan is to keep it in a rather confined space with careful pruning. May be a foolish plan, but I have hopes of seeing it along the back fence, but not taking over the area.

So begins another season of watching the sequence of summer bloom in my garden and trying to introduce just a few more species each season. We are also enjoying the lovely warm weather of San Francisco's "May summer." (To be followed by colder June, July, and August, and then "September summer.") So we enjoy our warm days while we may.

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