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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Garden of the Month: June 2017

946 B Street

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Lisa and Marc Blackburn purchased the charming house at 946 B Street almost three years ago.  Two years ago, they started re-landscaping with help from Jane Hardgrove and Juan Meraz of Bearclaw Landscape Services.  Now their garden is the Ashland Garden Club’s Garden of the Month for June 2017.

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Lisa Blackburn’s instructions to designer Hardgrove were that she wanted a whimsical, fairy-tale garden that did not feature the usual deer-resistant plants such as rosemary, heather, and lavender.  The result is a charming, inviting space with lots of texture and color.  A water feature provides pleasant sound.  Marc does almost all the maintenance, averaging ten hours a week in the garden and has started getting creative on his own, adding or replacing plants as necessary.  He uses a deer-repellant on some plants.

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This is a relatively small space shaded in front by ash trees and on the side by a giant cedar.  Hardgrove added Japanese maples for color and texture.  Among the many plants are hellebore, Japanese anemone, brunnera, choisya, bleeding heart, digiplexis, columbine, hostas, peonies, pieris, black-eyed Susan, salvia, Japanese fuchsia, and goldmound spirea.   Golden creeping jenny and stands of ornamental grass (called orange sedge but bronze in color) fill in and provide balance.  Private spaces on the side and in back feature azaleas as well as daphne for fragrance, among many other choices.

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Stroll by 946 B Street for a treat for sight, sound, and aroma. If you come in the morning, you may find Marc at work in the garden.

Article by: Ruth Sloan

Horticulture Report: Mountain Fleece

Plant Name: Persicaria amplexicaulis

mountian-fleece

Persicaria amplexicaulis

Common Name:  Mountain Fleece
Plant type: Herbaceous perennial
Height: 3-4 feet
Spread: 3-4 feet
Bloom Time: June to October
Flower Color: Crimson red
Exposure: Full sun, Part shade (hot regions)
Soil Requirements: Humus
Water Needs: Medium to wet
Attributes: Showy “bottlebrush” flower, Attracts  Birds & Butterflies, Tolerate deer
Note:  Low Maintenance
Uses: Perennial border, Water Gardens
Native to: China, the Himalayas and Pakistan
USDA Hardiness Zone: 4 to 7

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Horticulture Report: Yellow-wax Bells

Plant Name: Kirengeshoma palmatayellow-wax-bells
Common Name:  Yellow-wax Bells
Plant type:  
Herbaceous perennial
Height:  
3 -4.5 ft
Bloom Time:
Late Summer
Flower Color:
Yellow -Bell shaped
Exposure:  
Full to Part Shade
Soil Requirements: Humus rich acidic, well-drained soils
Water Needs:  Regular: keep moist
Attributes:  
Large Maple-shaped leaves, Clusters of yellow flowers, Pearl-sized buds, Dainty nodding bells, Showy fruit, Year-round interest
Note:
Highly prized
Uses:   
Mass plantings, Woodland Gardens, Shade Gardens,  Specimen plant, Winter Interest
Native to:
Mountainous regions of Japan to Korea
USDA Hardiness Zone: 5-8

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