Dry Soil, But Delicious Cherries

Lapins cherries on the tree. I didn't notice the heart-shaped yellow leaf until I cropped the photo. :)

You’ve probably read about the extreme drought here in much of the western U.S., or you are dealing with it yourself and have the biceps to show for it (carrying greywater buckets). The field grasses in our low-lying spot in Sonoma County, California, are turning brown and crackly now, and it feels like late summer, even though it’s only mid-June. Our soil is sandy and riddled with gophers and this is what open ground looks like now: bare dirt dotted with dry grass and pock-marked with gopher activity.

We’ve mostly finished shoring up the drip irrigation system that is keeping the food and habitat gardens alive. The veggies are grown in raised beds in good soil and though they aren’t as vigorous as when they have all the water they like, they are hanging in there. The berries may have a tough year. So it was a happy surprise that one of the established cherry trees yielded a great and luscious crop. We got over four large colanders from one semi-dwarf tree! Thank you cherry tree!

Lapins cherries on the tree. I didn't notice the heart-shaped yellow leaf until I cropped the photo. :)
Lapins cherries on the tree. I didn’t notice the heart-shaped yellow leaf until I cropped the photo. Sharon: if you read this, this photo is for you! 🙂
Half of the Lapins cherry harvest from our oldest tree. I appear to be ready to serve some with espresso or oolong, don't I?
Half of the Lapins cherry harvest from our oldest tree. I appear to be ready to serve some with espresso or oolong, don’t I?

Meanwhile, the birds, lizards, snakes and other wildlife seem to be streaming into the garden for sips of water from the fountain and shade from the mature trees. We’ve seen more lizards than ever, and a wider range of birds than normal. I’m guessing they are thirsty and I’m inclined to keep water out for them despite, and because of, the drought.

We've been trying to grow a few pomegranate trees for many years. This is our tallest one and it just got liberated from some overzealous pink jasmine that was trying to eat the tree and the house. ;) The tree seems happy to be unencumbered now, if profuse blooms are an indication. The variety is "Wonderful".
We’ve been trying to grow a few pomegranate trees for many years. This is our tallest one and it just got liberated from some overzealous pink jasmine that was trying to eat the tree and the house. 😉 The tree seems happy to be unencumbered now, if profuse blooms are an indication. The variety is “Wonderful”.

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11 thoughts on “Dry Soil, But Delicious Cherries

  1. Those cherries are a testament to your careful watering. I am glad you keep some water out for the wildlife, it sounds as if they need help. We are the reverse situation, I have never known so much thunder and rain in June. One evening we had 100 mm. which is unheard of in this area. Our little river at the bottom of our garden is often dry by now but it has refilled with all the rain. I like the idea of a pink bottlebrush. I have never seen one. We have a red one as we like to watch the bees in it but it is a bit gaudy. The pomegranite trees look very good, we cannot grow edible ones in this area, only ornamental ones. Amelia

    1. Oh my goodness, I didn’t know you were still getting rain! It seems like everyone I talk to is having very unusual weather—all around the world. On another note, I didn’t know you couldn’t grow edible pomegranates there. Does it get too cold? I always love reading your blog Amelia.

    2. We can get cold weather in the winter time. It is very variable but the cold years affect the trees. Kourosh very much wanted to try an edible pomegranate tree which he found with some difficulty. We had a hard winter after it was planted and I think all that survives now has shot up from under the graft. Still we do have flowers now,

  2. Sweet cherries – yum! We used to go pick sour cherries in Michigan in summer. Very exciting to see pipevine swallowtail caterpillars. We’ve been in a serious drought also but have had two rainstorms in the last week.

    1. I didn’t know Michigan had been in drought too! Glad you got some rain. Did you make pies with sour cherries? Sounds fun! I grew up in the Plains and remember gathering black walnuts. So delicious!

  3. Those cherries look amazing, how did you manage to get to them before the birds? I’ve been hearing about the drought and especially the heatwave in your part of the world on the BBC news, frightening to see how low the levels of water are in the reservoirs. Here we’ve had a huge amount of rain by contrast, last night several inches in a matter of moments. Btw I love gladioli too, and that’s great to see the Swallowtail caterpillars are doing well.

    1. Hi Sel! Sorry it took me awhile to respond… I’ve been on crutches–dealing with a knee issue. We net the cherry trees with bird netting. It’s not an easy task since the trees are getting bigger. I try to prune the cherries to keep them from getting really tall, but this oldest one is now about 11 feet high. To get the net over the top of the tree, I use a duster head on top of an extension pole. Very high tech. 😉 Then I cinch the bottom of the net around the trunk of the tree with clothespins or bungee cords. I try to keep the net from touching the ground to prevent snakes from getting caught in it. Without netting, the birds eat all the fruit. I like the birds too though and there is a lot for them to eat besides the netted trees. 🙂

    2. Hope you won’t be on crutches too long, I have been in them twice before and I don’t remember doing any gardening with them / in them 😉That’s a very clever way to get the netting over.

    3. Thx Sel… yes, very hard to get much done on crutches. I was philosophic at first—learning new ways to do things, but at this point I’m just frustrated. Luckily there are some simple pleasures, like just having a cute kitty curled up on my lap, purring. 🙂

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