Sunday, January 25, 2009

Espalier (es-PAL-yer) (es-Pal-yay)

The redwood posts are in and the 3 lines of wire have been strung. We pruned 6 fruit trees in espalier fashion to train them along those lines. Anything above the tallest line got lopped off. Pruning was difficult because I could see the plump buds that I was eliminating. Here's an upclose image of the apricot along with a view of all the trees that were pruned. As the summer progresses, I'll post updates to show how they develop.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Espalier Line

This is the heavy duty wire we will be using to string between the 4 redwood posts. There will be 3 lines. These lines will be used to train the fruit trees similar to a grapevine OR a split rail fence. See that blue thing on the bench next to the wire? That's a line level. It hangs on a line to show the levelness (Is that a word?) of the line. A N Y W A Y...I hope to be able to show you how the wires look when they're all hooked up with tree branches.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Espalier Line

The trees will be grown in an espalier (es-pal-yer) fashion. They will be trained similar to a grapevine in a 2-Dimensional manner. The diagram above shows some common espalier patterns. We're shooting for example "a". In order to do this, a support system needs to be constructed to train the young branches on. 1st the redwood posts were cut by Scott. See the cool obelisk angles? He did that Saturday. Sunday, we needed to get them set in the ground and level. Lines were tied. Levels were used (4 different types). Then, the posts were put in place. We'll see Monday if the clay soil they were set in has dried and will be strong enough for the next step.

3 eye bolts will be drilled into each post about 15" apart. From the eye bolts, sturdy wire will be strung similar to a clothesline on its end. The limbs of the trees will be trained along those lines. I'll post more about espalier as we move along.

Today, gravel is being brought in for the vegetable garden paths.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Blue Wisteria

The final new plant is a blue wisteria. We already transplanted the old wisteria to climb up the pergola. When we transplanted it this summer, we didn't hold out much hope that it would survive the blistering hot summer. Surprisingly, the old girl bloomed!

The new bare root will be a companion. It's already in the ground. The plan is to have an abundance of same colored stunning blossoms draping from the pergola. Wisteria comes in a variety of colors from white to purple. Hopefully, the pergola will support loads of beautiful, fragrant blossoms.

Big, fat bumblebees hover around along with the hummingbirds. A lovely confetti floats down when the petals fall. Then, soft light green leaves sprout to knit a shelter from the summer sun.

As the wisteria develops and the pergola project is completed, I hope to be able to post photos here.

Robertson Navel Orange

We'll need to get 2 pots for the extended patio. One for the lemon and another for the orange. We chose the Robertson Navel Orange. This should be great for eating and juicing if we can save enough of the fruit to juice.

Do you know anyone that doesn't like the smell of citrus blooms? With 4 citrus trees in the yard, the perfume will be fantastic until the evening breeze brings the ode de feedlot. Yuck.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Rio Red Grapefruit

The Rio Red Grapefruit will be in the ground next to the Satsuma Manderine on the west side of the shed. (Sheesh!) These are probably going to be sweet enough to just peel and eat. Their juice will be great. However, I like to eat a grapefruit with a spoon. It may be the reaction of the acid with the metal; but I like to use a spoon. No sugar required---just a spoon.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Satsuma Mandarin

The Satsuma Mandarin will be planted in the ground. I think this is my favorite citrus. They peel easily and taste great...just like Christmas. This tree will be planted in the ground on the west side of the shed. These are great to just plain eat; but I like making a sorbet with the juice and serving it in the hollowed out skin.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

None of the citrus has been planted yet. There are 4 citrus trees so far: Variegated (weird word to me) Pink Lemon, Rio Red Grapefruit, Robertson Navel Orange, and Satsuma Mandarin Orange. These are all dwarf but we hope they produce well. I think the lemon and orange will be planted in pots and grow on the extended patio once it's constructed. No pots purchased yet. Do you have any suggestions?

The grapefruit and mandarin will be in the ground on the west side of the shed. All the trees planted in the ground have a special irrigation system that I will discuss in a later post.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Santa Rosa Plum

I believe we used to have a Santa Rosa plum. I remember Morgan sitting under a plum tree and chowin' down on the fruit once it ripened. Sadly, most of the trees were diseased and the termites finished them off. This plum will make great jam.
Can anyone tell me why the photo rotates? I didn't take the picture this way.

O'Henry Peach

The peach tree may be a bit trick to espalier. The lateral branches seem too high; but I'm going to try to force lower growth. If that doesn't work, I may try grafting. I've never grafted anything before.

Granny Smith Apple

Moving past the arbor is good old Granny Smith. This tree looks like it will be the best to espalier train. The apples should be ready for harvest to use at Thanksgiving. These apples are good for canning, baking, saucing, and just plain eating.


As this tour is taking you from east to west along the espalier line of trees, there is a break. This is the entrance to the vegetable garden. There will be an arbor with a gate constructed at this point. It will reflect the pergola built a few months ago. Here is where a Red Flame grapevine will grow.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Warren Pear

The Warren pear doesn't have a cool tag like the other trees. It's supposed to be similar to a Bosc; but it will produce in the Southern San Joaquin Valley climate. Good. Pear trees are especially good to prune in espalier. Dang, I feel so French even though the pear is from Mississippi. That gets you 1/2 way through the espalier line of trees. It's quite an orchard don't you think?

Fantasia Nectarine

Sunset doesn't have a listing for 'Fantasia'. The tag shown in the picture says that it's perfect for this area and will produce tangy, sweet yellow fruit with blush streaks. Man, can you just feel the juice running down your chin? What a mess!

Blenheim Apricot

Here's the trees that were planted from east to west. The 1st tree is a Blenheim apricot. In the Sunset Western Garden Book this variety is also known as 'Royalty' or 'Blenheim'. They are noted for canning and drying. That's exactly what the crop is intended if I don't eat them all 1st along with the pesky birds.


Six trees have been planted awaiting espalier pruning. These trees will form the fence separating the lawn from the vegetable garden. The vegetables will be planted in the raised beds that are framed with the cinder blocks. Next week, the dirt path will be covered with gravel.