A Home Inspector’s Weblog by Frank Schulte-Ladbeck

exploring homes and the lives in them around Houston

The Flowers to Come

I think that this is a good year to concentrate on the vegetables of my garden. I noticed that food prices are still going up, and then there was the article in the New York Times this past weekend, which mentions that grain prices are rising too. Just what we need at a time of uncertain financial standing. I think that it is great that farmers will have an opportunity to earn a decent living, so I do not begrudge them this windfall.

I saw pictures from a flower festival in Hawaii yesterday. I would love to be at such a festival. What a wonderful way to celebrate the coming spring. I noticed that many of my neighbors do not care for planting flowering plants, But I love the homes that put on shows of vibrant color. I admit that I have been focusing on my backyard for more of this type of eye candy, but I have some flowering shrubs in the front. I like the fact that my antique roses give a light scent by my front path, but I have jasmine by the front and back doors, so they will really fragrance the air, when in bloom. I think people forget about the joys of these scents, since so many plants are hybrids bred for looks, and not for their fragrances.

One flower is easy to miss though. My apple tree is already in bloom with tiny white flowers. Houston is not true apple country, but this variety is a self pollinating variety, which can withstand our weather. Considering my childhood in the northern climes, I felt that I needed this tree to grace my yard. My thoughts turned towards its neighbor, my plum tree. It should be setting blooms soon too, and this inspired my post. Plum flowers are notoriously short lived. I have been letting my tree gain some heft before I start to work on having it produce fruit, but there is one step that you take if you want this tree to set fruit. Instead of leaving it to chance that a bee comes along on the day of the plum bloom to pollinate it, you should take a brush to the flowers to encourage the fruit production. By brushing the flowers with one brush, you are imitating the action of a bee by moving pollen from one flower to the next. Use a small painters brush for this task.

Fruit from your own tree will taste so much sweeter, so why not give this tip a try with your plum tree. You may not being producing bushels from one tree, but I imagine that every little bit will help with these higher food prices.


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