Pear Pleasure

Dessert pears, eating pears, large or small….pears are popular around the world and the Rogue Valley’s climate is perfect for growing pears.  The Rogue Valley was once covered in pear trees and many varieties of extra fancy pears were grown for Harry and David Inc. to ship gourmet fruit baskets nationwide.  So why not grow your own?

In fruit tree catalogs you’ll find European pears,  Heirloom pears,  Asian Pears,  Keeper Pears and pears that are better for espalier.  Dwarf and semi-dwarf varieties of pear trees make it easy for an urban gardener to fit a pear tree into their backyard; some are even small enough grow in a large container.   Pear trees need a pollinator, another pear tree that blooms at the same time to cross-pollinate and bear fruit.  Mostly likely there is a pear tree somewhere in your neighborhood to pollinate your tree, but if not and you only have space for one tree, you can create a combo pear tree by grafting a scionwood branch from another variety onto your tree, or purchase a combo pear tree from a nursery.  Bare-root fruit trees will be arriving at local nurseries soon, so look for fruit trees with healthy grafts, well-balanced branches, and  well-established root systems.

Below are a few heirloom varieties to consider:

Seseckel-pear.jpgckel (Sugar Pear) – American cultivar introduced in 1790. Easy to grow.  Small chubby round pears are small with reddish brown skin,  fine-textured flesh that is sweet richly flavored and juicy. Tolerant of most pear diseases.

 

 Bosc PearBosc – Originated in France or Belgium, discovered in Europe in the 1800’s, then came to America in 1833.  A large pear with a russet skin and high sugar content, slightly fibrous texture and a spicy sweet flavor.

 

ComComice pearice –  Originated in France 1848.  A large pear with greenish yellow skin, buttery tender texture, aromatic and very juicy.  A traditional gift fruit.

 

Green AnjouGreen Anjou – (Beurré d’ Anjou)  Originated in Belgium, introduced to America 1842.  A large conical pear with a short neck stem, it has pale green skin, even when ripe.  Excellent storage pear with smooth texture, lemony flavor, but it’s not very sweet. Good for baking, poaching, roasting, grilling,  and salads.

 

Red AnjouRed Anjou– Originated as a naturally occurring bud sport on a Green Anjou.  It has all the traits of the Green Anjou, except it’s red.   (Wikipedia: Bud sport is part of a plant that shows morphological differences from the rest of the plant)

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Snowdrop anemone

Plant Name:  Anemone sylvestris
Common Name: Snowdrop anemone Snowdrop anemone
Plant type: Perennial
Height: 12-18 inches
Spread:   12 inches
Bloom Time:  Spring to Early summer
Flower Color:  White with yellow centers
Exposure: Part Shade to filtered sun
Soil Requirements: Well-drained Humus, Acidic to Neutral Soil,   
Water Needs:  Moderate, needs more in the heat
Attributes:   Showy fragrant flower, Fall color: glossy leaves turn burgundy, Deer resistant, Rabbit resistant,  
Note: Lives in the forest floor in leaf litter & shade
Uses:  Naturalizing, Woodlawn garden, Cut Flowers,  Mass plantings, Urban gardens where where buildings create shade, Containers, Water side gardens
Native to: Meadows & dry deciduous woodlands of central and western Europe
USDA Hardiness Zone: 4-8

Horticulture Report: Cobaea scandens

Plant Name: Cobaea sandenscobaea-scandens
Common Name:  Cup & Saucer Vine
Family:
Polemoniaceae
Plant type:  Sub-tropical Vine  (annual below zone 9)
Height:   10-25 feet
Bloom Time:
Seasonal (In a greenhouse it flowers year round)
Flower Color: Violet or White
Exposure:  
Full Sun
Soil Requirements: Rich, moist, good drainage
Water Needs: Medium
Attributes:
Showy Bell Flowers, Fragrant, Attracts Hummingbirds & Butterflies
Note:
Mexico native, flowers last 4 days, Circa 1828 ~ RHS Award of Garden Merit
Start seeds indoors 8-10 weeks before last frost.
Uses:
Garden wall, Fence and Trellis plant, Container plant with adequate support,
USDA Zone:
9-11

Check your local nurseries and garden center for seeds and/or plants.

Available online at:

Annie’s Annuals http://www.anniesannuals.com/plants/view/?id=269

Select Seeds Seeds & Plants : http://www.selectseeds.com/heirloom-ines/cup_and_saucer_vine_plants.aspx

Seeds: J.L. Hudson, Seedsman http://www.jlhudsonseeds.net/SeedlistCN-CZ.htm

Seed Heads for Winter Interest

After an exuberant display of flowers during spring and summer, the fall and winter    mofrosted-seedhead1nths leave gardeners longing for sunnier days.  A way to help overcome the winter blues is to plant winter interest in your garden.  Most gardeners know about adding texture, berries, branch color and bark, to a garden, but often flower seed heads are overlooked as a winter interest.

Leaving seed heads standing in your garden provides shelter and food for birds and insects in your yard, but seed heads also provide visual interest.  There is a quiet beauty when frost lies upon a seed head displaying its delicate wispy patterns.  Even those spider webs covering the seed heads put on a display like tiny garlands, then add frost… and those threads sparkle like crystals in a breeze. So while you’re combing through the garden catalogs during  February, look for perennials and annuals which produce interesting longstanding seed heads and distinctive structures.

A few to consider….
Anethum graveolens– Dill – Zone 2-11
Aster cordifolius– Blue wood aster (many other species) – Zone 3-820151111_072856
Coreopsis grandiflora – Tickseed -Zone 4-9
Celosia cristata – Cockscomb – Zone 3-11
Echinacea purpurea– Coneflowers – Zone 3-9
Eupatorium maculatum – Joe Pye Weed – Zone 4-9
Foeniculum vulgare – Fennel- Zone 4-9

Phlomis russeliana-  Jerusalem sage-  Zone 5-9
Pot Marigolds – tall – Zone 3-10
Monarda – Bee balms  – Zone 4-9
Muhlenbergia capillaries- Pink Muhly Grass – Zone 6-9
Ornamental grasses (all varieties & zones)
Rudbeckia hirta– Black-Eyed Susans – Zone 3-7
Sanguisorba- Burnets  – Zone 3-8
Solidago – Goldenrod   – Zone  5-9
Zinnia elegans – Zone 3-10