Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Evergreen Pear Tree: now blooming

 The evergreen pear tree, Pyrus kawakamii is an early and prolific bloomer.  Found throughout San Diego County, it is prized for its showy winter bloom, and can grow as high as 30' and also as wide.  They bear a small inedible fruit.  There are less and less of these trees being planted in recent years due to their propensity for 'fire blight', which kills random branches from the tree and disfigures them.  Spray for fire blight can be somewhat effective, yet it is an annual expense.

Good options which are less prone to fire blight are:
Pyrus calleryana 'Aristocrat' and Pyrus calleryana 'Bradford'
Both are fruitless, have a very similar bloom, but grow in a more pyramidal shape.

Contributor: Chris Cutler
Photo credit: Armando Diaz (taken at one of our HOA's)

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Happy Valentine's Day!

Two kinds of lettuce, red and romaine, freshly picked this morning by our Supervisor  Del K.  Del most definitely has a green thumb when it comes to vegetable gardening, and these were too pretty to go undocumented before they wind up in our salads. A most unusual but appropriate Valentine's bouquet!

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Fun with plant identification, February 2013

I found this photo in our files that Chris Cutler had taken awhile back.  After some research we decided it was a type of geranium, but what exactly? There are many websites to help you identify plants, if you can set some parameters: petal color, leaf shape, height etc. This plant clearly has toothed leaves, pink flowers and hairy stems.  I do remember at the time the name 'cranesbill' was mentioned. So searching for : cranesbill, geranium, pink etc. led me to a very informative UC Davis article on the Geranium maderense
This plant is endemic to the island of Madeira.  The name 'cranesbill' refers to the shape of the seed pods on geraniums which resemble a long crane’s bill. The article is very useful in sorting out the difference between Geranium pelargonium and the 'hardy' geraniums like G. maderense.  It is a really unusual plant and thank you to Chris for getting a high resolution on both the leaves and flowers (makes plant ID so much easier to see all parts of the plant clearly).
 To see more suggestions for drought resistant landscape plants, visit