Color Me Fall

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Fall colors normally aren't as vibrant as those you will find in the spring and summer -- but the backyard is still spitting out some beautiful scenes. Oh sure -- those summer flower arrangements are starting to look a little tired (I'm partial to the Rainbow of Color design myself) -- but if you look hard enough -- you'll find some things are still going strong.

I didn't get everything done in the Back 40 that I wanted to get done this summer. I never do. The main section of the lawn that I was hoping to plant? Unplanted. The thirty-plus yards of garden soil I wanted to move in? I'm at five and counting. The greenhouse? Still a long ways off.

I suppose that's the way it works with us Weekend Warrior types. There's never enough time in the day. Weekends just seem to fly by. There's always that one "project" that must be accomplished first before moving onto backyard landscaping pleasures.

But I did get at least one project finished. Venus has her tree rose. Not just any tree rose mind you -- the one special tree rose that my wife has wanted since we were first married. I finally got around to locating the one remaining Saint Patrick tree rose left in the Sacramento area this summer.

This rose holds a special meaning for my wife. It was her mother's favorite rose. In every house her mother and father purchased during a ten-year span of home-flipping in Auburn, Rocklin and finally Sacramento -- you will find the Saint Patrick tree rose. And -- beside that special rose -- is the Celtic Cross of St. Patrick.

When Venus' mother passed away quite unexpectedly four years ago following a long battle with cancer -- I knew she longed for the Saint Patrick tree rose and the Celtic Cross. It is, quite simply, her favorite spot in the yard.

Unfortunately, the recent rain and windstorm that hit the Sacramento area (and the rest of California I might add) -- did some rather wicked damage to the wife's special rose. Not only did it lose blooms -- it's no longer standing straight as an arrow. I suppose I have learned the "curse" of tree roses. I don't care how well you have it staked. If Mother Nature throws a vicious curveball of sustained rain and winds -- that perfectly placed tree rose is no longer standing at attention.

Yet another project for me to take care of this weekend. The companion tree rose took at even worse hit.

One of the most pleasant surprises in the backyard has to be the Pomegranate tree that Venus and I stumbled upon last summer at Lowe's in West Sacramento. It wasn't the variety I wanted -- but it looked nice and the price was more than right. So -- I didn't get the pomegranate variety of Wonderful. I purchased the variety of "Sweet" instead. Or -- so I thought. As it turns out -- I may have purchased a mislabled variety. This tree is churning out fruit that look strangely like a Wonderful.

This picture simply doesn't do justice. The fruits were starting to color to a deep red when I took this two weeks ago. They are all now a deep -- candy-apple red in color. It wasn't ready to harvest two weeks ago when I was disappointed to find white kernals inside of a "test harvest" fruit. I'm not sure what it will look like now -- although I'm willing to give it a little more time.

I am somewhat surprised by this tree -- the rate of growth -- and fruit production. What had been a small starter tree last summer has blossomed into one of the fastest-growing, most prolific fruit trees in the backyard. It was covered with red and yellow blossoms earlier this spring -- and has tripled in size. I can only imagine what will happen next spring.

If you are looking for a beautiful landscape tree that produces more than just flowers and blooms -- I highly reccommend the Pomegranate. The spring-time blooms are staggering in color and a highly favored source of pollen for honeybees and Carpenter bees alike.

Plus -- I'll admit -- I love a splash of fresh pomegranate juice in my margarita! And I also ran across an interesting recipe for pomegranate syrup here, courtesty of Jenn's Cooking Garden.

Sadly -- the display of color located to your immediate right no longer exists. It was one of the last sunflower displays out of the summer garden -- and a big display of color at that. The flowers from this variety of sunflower were perfect for vase cuttings (combined with the Saint Patrick tree rose, of course).

I'm not exactly sure where I received the seeds for this one variety. They may have been sent to us through a bee research project at San Francisco State University. Seeds from this variety may have been collected from a wild plant growing on the side of Elkhorn Blvd., a hop, skip and a jump away from our North Natomas compound.

I know this much: Despite the landscaping headaches that sunflowers can pose, they are a welcome addition to our "Edible Garden" landscape. While not necessarily edible for humans, they are a favorite place to forage for our "Hello Kitty" beehive.

And they do put on a mighty fine show of color.


Jenn's Cooking Garden! said...

Thanks for that plug to my blog! Those roses are gourgeous! I love Pomegranats. Future post will be a pomegranate Vinegarette! Very yummy!

Thanks again

The Vintage Vignette said...

What a touching tribute to your wife's mother. There is just something about the rose that encourages remembrance. I planted a "Sundance" hybrid tea rose for my mother in honor of the loss of her beloved kitty of the same name. I bring her vases full of these beauties all throughout the year and it just warms her heart. Also your sunflowers were beautiful. My husband and I planted 4 varieties this year and although they are now dried and withered we are having a ball watching all of the goldfinches, warblers and chickadees pluck the seeds out for a good meal. :)