Oranges beat the freeze

December 7, 2011

We get our first freeze of the season in Dallas tonight.  I’m thinking of the heat of the summer.

Kathryn gambled a bit, bought a Satsuma orange tree for the patio plant menagerie this summer.  To her joy and my utter surprise, it fruited.

Kathryn's Satsuma oranges in Dallas

Kathryn's Satsuma oranges in Dallas -- oranges take a long time to ripen; photos from late October 2011

Green fruit approached its final size in late June, then tortured us as it just sat there, green and unripe.  They turned orange slowly, through August and September.  An occasional individual would give up and hit the ground.  So we had samples — bitter at first, hints of sugar in September.

Two weeks ago Kathryn harvested a score of the little beauties.

Oranges on the patio in Dallas

Through the summer the oranges rested there, teasing us with their sloth . . .

First freeze tonight, but we enjoyed the last of the oranges this morning.

Horticulture teaches patience.  Horticulture is fun.

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Fresh from the garden: Bat faced cuphea

July 10, 2011

Bat-faced cuphea in Kathryn's garden

On a pedestal? Kathryn's potted bat-faced cuphea stands out when the mid-morning sun bathes it, but the yard in back still hovers in the shade of the live oak. Horticultural design by Kathryn Knowles; photo by Ed Darrell

Kathryn’s bat faced cuphea (Cuphea llavea) has graced our garden for several years with this particular plant, or its seedlings.  It attracts butterflies and hummingbirds with regularity.

It gets its name because each blossom resembles the face of a tiny bat.

Bat faced cuphea in Kathryn's garden, IMGP5294

Each blossom of bat faced cuphea resembles the face of a bat.


Waiting for the New President: Doctoring data on global warming

December 16, 2008

ArborDay.org map showing changes in hardiness zones between 1990 and 2006

ArborDay.org map showing changes in hardiness zones between 1990 and 2006, a map climate change denialists wish did not exist.

We need a new category of urban myth or urban legend.  Jan Brunvand’s inventions and development of the study of folk stories that people claim to be true long enough that they become legends, needs to be updated to include internet stupidity that just won’t die.  Especially, we need a good, two-word label for politically-motivated propaganda that should go away, but won’t.

Perhaps I digress.

One might be filled with hope at the prospect of the administration of President Obama. Science issues that have been ignored for too long may once again rise to due consideration.  Friends in health care worry that it will take four or eight terms of diligent work to undo the damage done to medical science by neglect of spending and budgeting during the last eight years.

I take a little hope in this:  Maybe we can get an update of the planting zones maps relied on by farmers, horticulturists, and backyard gardeners.

New maps were delayed through the Bush administration.  The last serious update, officially, was 1990.  Perhaps much has changed in climate in the last generation, and perhaps that is why the new maps were delayed, though they had been painstakingly prepared by the American Horticulture Society.

Why?

Plants cannot be fooled by newspaper reports.  Plants are not partisan in political issues. Plants both respond to and clearly demonstrate climate change.  To those who wished to suppress or deny climate change, suppressing the hardiness zone maps may have seemed like a good way to win a political debate.

Robust discussion based on the facts, a casualty of the past eight years, ready to be resurrected.

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