Spot of Gardening

Gardening in South Louisiana

I Love Yuzu

The yuzu tree, citrus junos, is a cold hardy citrus tree with yellow to orange skinned fruit.  The fruit has a very fragrant rind and juice used in cooking but is usually considered too sour and seedy to eat fresh.   It’s usually quite difficult to find in U.S. markets and is a bit expensive when available.   It’s also usually used in Japanese cuisine but has since become a very trendy ingredient in many celebrity and well-known chefs around the world.  Hence, The Sushiman’s wish for a yuzu tree in our backyard.

Two yuzu trees were planted last year when we moved into the house.  Actually, they were the first two trees we planted ourselves.  After a fruitless search in all the local nurseries, I ordered them by mail order for The Sushiman. Two healthy 8″  trees arrived with little fruits on them, which promptly fell off within a week of planting into the ground.  (Maybe it was the shock of traveling and transplanting)

While the trees looked healthy with lots of leaves, you could barely see them in the nice 2′ by 2′ plots built for each of them by The Sushiman.   Nurturing them carefully,  I assured The Sushiman that next year these yuzus would bear some fruit.  Then, they were attacked by the dreaded citrus leaf miners!  Leaves curled up or had little tunnels running throughout them.   Nothing worked to stop the devastation.  Trying to avoid the use of insecticides, I was told to just remove the infected leaves and spray a little dormant oil on the other leaves, but practically the whole plant was covered in infected leaves!   Letting nature take it’s course,  I plucked the worst leaves off and left the rest of the two plants to fight it out with those bad citrus leaf miners.

Early February, I plucked off the rest of the curled leaves and hoped the bare branches would soon recover.  Lots of leaves and flowers soon bloomed and fruits appeared.   Oh, how we dote on those cute little yuzu fruits, hoping this year we can harvest a few precious yuzu fruits.

May 30, 2009 Posted by | Flowers, Fruits and Vegetables | 4 Comments

Memorial Weekend Plant Spree

This past Memorial Weekend was marked by a family outing to several plant nurseries in town.  I wasn’t planning to actually purchase anything but the temptation was too much and my designated purchasers were of no help.  (In fact, my sis, who had no garden, ended purchasing an apple mint and some habanero, serrano and tabasco pepper plants for a container garden at her mid-town townhome.  LOL)  My parents went to town and purchased several plants also.  I ended up with a habanero pepper plant,  an okra plant (gift from mom), 2 geraniums for the pink heart flower bed, 2 different hydrangeas (from my sweetie, The Sushiman), a whole tray of 4″  mixed bedding flower plants, mostly begonias and a cutting of my sis’s apple mint.

I planted the bedding flowers around the front sides of my heart flower bed in the front yard.  I added some white flowered begonias to contrast with all the pink and finished off one side with some hot pink moss roses.  It’s starting to look pretty nice.  I still have the back facing the house to finish planting but I’m holding off a little bit there.  My goal is to have a different view from every angle yet still be cohesive or at least be color coordinated.  🙂

Here’s some pics of my heart flower bed currently:

The daffodil leaves are starting to look scraggly but I’ll leave them to continue building up the bulbs underneath for next year’s return hopefully.  Looking at the flowerbed, I’m always tempted to keep adding more plants until it looks fuller but I’m trying to keep in mind the final size of each plant and leave it space to grow.  The big pink geranium in the corner was actually only 3″ wide last year when I planted it and now it’s at least 1′ wide.  It’s the instant garden mentally so pervasive everywhere nowadays but patience is a virtue.

May 28, 2009 Posted by | Family & Friends, Flowers, Fruits and Vegetables, Herbs | Leave a comment

Early Fruits of Labor

As a gardener, all the labor of planting, fertilizing, watering, bug and disease watching pays off at the moment of seeing that little fruit, vegetable or flower bud.  From that moment,  the anticipation of success knows no bounds, especially the first one.  You check that special one that you have marked daily, if not hourly.  LOL.   It is still early days, but I thought I would snap a few pictures of some of the fruits to be anticipated in my garden : Better Boy tomatoes, blueberries, blackberries, figs and Yuzu.

It is the first year for the blackberries and blueberries, which were just planted last month.  It is recommended that blueberry plants not be allowed to fruit the first year but these came with blueberries on them so what was I supposed to do?  So I just left them on the plants and will enjoy this year’s few berries as they ripen.

May 21, 2009 Posted by | Fruits and Vegetables | 6 Comments

Toad on a Lily Pad

Since my Sony camera is on the blink, I will be depending on my iphone camera for pics of my garden until the Sony camera is fixed.  Just when I’ve started to really get into taking garden pictures, too.  Anyways, here’s a picture of a cute little toad on a lily pad in my pond.   It’s the same toad but from different angles and distance.

Usually, you see frogs but I don’t seem to have any in my yard,  just toads.  Last year, there was an influx of tadpoles in my newly built pond which I thought were frogs.  For over two months, I eagerly monitored their growth and lamented the ones who were eaten by the koi.  Imagine my surprise to realize that I had been raising toads in my pond when they were fully grown.  They promptly hopped away and disappeared from my yard, which is a bit of a relief since I didn’t want my dog, Lucky, to eat one and get sick from the poison on the toad.

This year, I welcome all reptiles and amphibians to my garden since I seem to have an influx of snails and slugs eating all my plants.  Although I think snails are cute, they are not welcome to an all you can buffet in my garden.  LOL.

May 19, 2009 Posted by | Animals & Pets | 2 Comments

Freshman Plants

May may be the time for graduating students, but it’s the freshmen to my garden that’s the focus this month.  Cosmos, zinnias, pink calla and easter lilies to the front flower beds.  A pink hybrid rose to the heart- shaped flower bed, which my dad designed around those ugly cable and electric boxes in the front side yard.  Two red hybrid roses and hardy gladiolus to the front side flower bed.  Two yellow with orange markings cannas in pots next to the front entrance.   Eventually, I will have year-round flowers in the front of the house (Don’t you love living in the south!)

In the backyard, I have created a new dahlia bed next to pond.  In addition to the unknown dahlia transplants given by my dad, I have planted tubers of Mystery Day, Rosella, Seattle and Floodlights in the bed.  I have Thomas Edison and White Perfects in pots.  I know peonies don’t do well this far south but I planted a Sarah Bernhardt and a free mystery peony sent with the dahlia bulb order into separate pots.  Peonies are best planted in the fall but these peonies have already sprouted so here’s hoping for the best.

The Black Satin thornless blackberry plant is blooming and fruiting nicely, as well as the red desert rose I picked up at the LSU Garden Show this year.

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As for my sophomores, the gardenia, pink plumeria and mandeville are blooming beautifully.  I have three other types of plumeria given by my mom, which I am waiting to find out what color blooms they will have.  So far, just very healthy leaves have sprouted.

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May 15, 2009 Posted by | Flowers, Fruits and Vegetables | 2 Comments