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Saturday, February 23, 2013


Oh just wait until you can make juice out of those oranges! There is absolutely nothing, and I mean nothing, like the taste of fresh orange juice from oranges straight of the tree! My parents have a mature tree we harvest every winter and I cherish each and every orange, as though I grew it myself! And I sip that juice like it is a fine wine, because I always enjoy it in the most beautiful wine goblet I have. I am the orange juice princess, lol! I planted a dwarf orange as well, about four years ago, after having it in a pot for about two years. I wish I would have planted it right away, I would have had oranges sooner, but it is a memory tree I planted for someone special to me and I wanted it in a pot at first. It was pretty in the pot, but apparently not very happy like it is now in the ground. Two years ago it finally produced 30 oranges (they were tart but I did not care! It was my first official crop and I gagged down that tart orange juice because it came from MY TREE!), and then this year we had three oranges. Three! Okay two, cuz one had a big hole in it since some critter got to enjoy it before I did. Crazy. But those two oranges were already much better than the crop before! I think the tree is toying with me! Don't worry, your lemon tree will take off and be super crazy fruitful! Those things are usually unstoppable, and you will have the best home-made lemonade EVER!!! And the best lemon juice for anything and everything! Love, The orange-lemon juice princess. But I am much sweeter then that sounds.....lol!

As a child, my grandmother had a lemon tree in a huge tin bathtub (square one, not the long kind) and it fascinated me! Don't remember every getting a lemon off of it, but "thanx" for sharing and bringing that memory back for me!

Envious of your garden as I watch the snow fall on Mt.Si. I had to pear apple trees but the elk ate them. Tree and all!

We have 2 different apple varieties. We took out a third tree to give our prune plum tree more room. Apple trees are funny buggers. All three had never had a good year on the same year. Our plum tree is generally a great producers but alas we have to keep a close watch when they start to ripen as the local raccoons love them as much as we do.
Kiwi (a boy and a girl) generally have a bumper crop every other year...our problem is our growing season is too short and haven't figured a way to ripen them. But the ones we do use unripened make fabulous daiquiris. Our pear tree is getting better every year.

I think if your neighbours have the same type of fruit trees of the opposite sex to yours it is better.

Like one of your other commenters...wild blackberries are not fruit trees but they are delicious to have right outside the door to throw into a morning smoothie or an afternoon crumble.

Is it summer yet?

Ooooooh....envious of your mini-orchard. I have plans for one also, but haven't planted the trees yet. I'm hoping to start this spring with an apple and a sour cherry plus one more to be decided. We used to have a full-size apple tree, but it bit the dust years ago (I loved making freezer applesauce). Also love all your succulents. I planted a lovely mix a year ago and the squirrels tore them out immediately. Back to the drawing board on that. :-/

Mary Ann, are there any photos of Moss Cottage and your little spot of paradise? I would love to see them online, sometime. I'm a new blog follower via the article in Somerset Art Journaling that I just read. Awesome article, BTW. I've been in the FULL TILT BOOGIE online class but have yet to make a book. Now I'm in the ROD class which has a better possibility of getting at least one handmade journal out of me.

Thanks so much for your great online classes at such a fantastically reasonable price. My kind of learning.

Marrianna in Flagstaff, AZ, USA

Love your green thumb Mary Ann, and your pink, yellow and orange ones too! :)Your garden is awesome. What a delight to enjoy from your many perches around your home.

Someone sent me this video, and I'm sending it to you. The Best Pep Talk Ever. Really. http://mashable.com/2013/01/26/kid-president-pep-talk/ I'm not very good at putting links in, so I'm giving it a try. But it's called the best pep talk ever -given by a kid. Hope it brings a smile to your face.

MAM you live in the best place on earth for growing anything and everything. The CA central valley is incredible. try cherries and check what the growers have. Your cats will help with peckish birds and hopefully frighten them off.

er, that's Ball Canning book. I have no idea where the Bull came from which leads one to a whole different kind of cooking. Ew.

I have an orange tree in our backyard which we totally neglect and it's loaded with fruit this year. It's too tart for orange juice which is what we've done in previous years, but I started making jam for the first time last year, so I'm thinking these guys will be great for marmalade. Hope to make it this week as I was sick last week.

We have a passionfruit vine in our front yard which went from a couple of handfuls we could easily keep up with to *buckets*. So I made jam from them, and passionfruit skin jam too which was delicious but had to be eaten quickly as it hadn't quite set and was a sauce instead but *fabulous* over ice cream. One of the best culinary mistakes Ever. I have the Bull Ball Canning book, plus several older pamphlets from my mother-in-law who handed off her canning equipment to me.

In the 70's when I lived in Redlands, CA, we had a 100 year old navel in our backyard. Totally supplies us with fruit all winter and I never bought oranges in the supermarket again. I think until you have tasted your own home grown oranges you haven't lived. We had a plum here in No. Calif. which had wonderful fruit that I would make a plum compote with (which included the wild blackberries that also grew near but the thing was it became a contest between us and the local squirrels who evidently can tell the exact moment the fruit all comes ripe and would denude the tree in one weekend. So unless we remembered to anticipate and harvest the week before they always won. Now I get Chandler strawberries at the local farmer's market (once again, if you haven't tasted a Chandler, you haven't lived) and during the summer we stop at a peach stand that is on the road between two wineries in Healdsburg. Originally I used the book "Putting Food Buy" for canning (may not still be in print) and currently I enjoy "The Blue Chair Jam Cookbook". She has interesting combos like Strawberry, Blood Orange, and Rosemary Jam...plus if you like jam it has beautiful pictures!

Your garden reminds me so much of the Cape Town garden where I grew up! Same climate, same plants, but I think you have better soil - we mostly had rocks. Hope your citrus trees grow big and strong for your fragrant retirement years!

I just east of you in East Los Angeles County and my orhard is exactly the same count as yours so far. All three were planted in the last two years. The peach is the oldest and has given us plenty of juicy fruit which surprised me. The plum has proven a bit more fickle with one lone fruit last year but I have high hopes this year. No buds yet but it is slower to get going and our newest addition last fall was a blood red orange tree which we got several small but delicious oranges from. I am looking for an apple tree that will flourish in our mild winters. Oh and we need a lemon tree. I will be taking a look at that article today over my coffee.

hey MaryAnn,
I tried growing apricots in our south-facing yard in Richmond, VA. One tree is still strong, with a new young family living in our former home! What I can tell/warn you is that you need to ask at your nursery what causes the tree to split & pour out a very honey-like sap....because this is what happened to 2nd tree which died. And, it may be best to have two varieties for cross-pollination. Do you have enough honey bees visiting your yard? Because you need them to work their magical wonders for fruit. Perhaps you could rent/lease a bee colony?

Red Raspberry bushes were by far the easiest & most productive to grow....I don't know if they can withstand LA summer heat. Fig trees/bushes are another good fruit to try....they produce a very lush & large foliage which could provide shade for some other annuals/perennials underneath. Best of luck, Holly

Lewis says that big orange hanging from that wee tree looks like a tether ball. He wants to challeng Wyatt to a match and the winner gets to take Corky on a date.

I love the photos of the succulents--there are so many varieties of these. When I was a kid, my older sister lived in California and we went to visit her. While we were there I bought a little garden of various cactus and brought them home with me. Good luck with your orchard.

I don't have anything like that here in MD but the scent of orange blossoms...I hope it's as delightful as the mock orange I had growing up.

I have plenty of them here in Florida and the fruit rats to go with them!

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