A week ago, some of my plums, pluots, and apricots were beginning to bloom, and I wrote about how I was worried that they would not be pollinated because of the lack of pollinators that had emerged from winter and because there were not enough cross-pollinating fruit trees to lend a hand.
I went out of town at the end of the week and returned to an abundance of blooms. Also, the native bees were out in force, industriously visiting all of the blooms. If you look very closely at the Morris plum in the photograph above, you can count at least eight bees swarming in the air around these blossoms.
A large number of our plums are now in bloom, including the Morris, the Bruce, the Santa Rosa, and the Allred. Here is another photograph of the Morris along with a photo of the Allred in bloom seen through the still-dormant fuzzy kiwi vines and burgeoning Jefferson peach blossoms.
Although the Allred above has pink blossoms, our other plums have beautiful, white blossoms as you can see below.
Our Royal Lee low-chill cherries also have lovely white blossoms as featured below.
I must say, however, that our Royal Lee and Minnie Royal trees have been very disappointing to me this spring. We planted 5 of them last spring in 2011. They did very well during the growing season despite the intense heat and drought, and they put on significant growth. Nevertheless, this spring, the majority went straight to leafing out without any blossoms. A single Royal Lee was the sole exception, producing the blossoms that you see above.
If you look very closely at the photograph below, though, you can see that the tree has very few blossoms. It is not clear to me why these trees did not produce more blooms. It should not be a result of the mild winter weather because these cherry varieties should only require 200 to 300 chill hours, which we had. It is not the result of my pruning, which was very light. I am perplexed.
Our remaining cherry tree, the Compact Stella, has neither leafed out nor blossomed at this point.
In contrast, all of our peach trees have burst into bloom, or are about to do so. Our Sentinel peach has the greatest number of blooms followed by our Saturn. The Springold, Ranger, Jefferson, Redhaven, and Reliance are just a bit behind the Sentinel.
The tree and blossoms below are of the Sentinel peach. As you can see from at least one of these photographs, our local bee population is hard at work.
The photograph below is of Redhaven peach blossom buds that are very close to blooming.
As I mentioned a bit earlier, the Saturn peach -- also known as a Peento -- has really had a dramatic bloom this Spring. It is still a very small tree, but the number of blooms and the striking color of the blooms have impressed me.
Our two mature apricot trees continue to flourish in bloom. The Blenheim added more blossoms since the last photographs that I shared, and the Moorpark apricot is also now in bloom. The first photograph is of the Blenheim and the remainder are from the Moorpark. My guess is that I'm going to get a good set of fruit from these two --- but we'll see.
These apricot blossoms remind me somewhat of fuschia flowers with their combination of red and white coloring. The blossoms are also somewhat akin to an apple blossom that starts pink and matures to white, but differ in that the apricot blossoms maintain the red coloration much longer.
Nearby, our Cot-N-Candy aprium has really had unusual bloom structure this year. With the way that the blooms completely cover the branches, it almost reminds me of a delphinium flower. You can see what I mean from the photograph below.
These blooms have been particularly attractive to the bees.
The apricots, apriums, and pluots are all near each other, and they are producing a heavenly scent in the air.
We have several Blue Velvet and Blue Pacific honeyberry bushes growing around the vegetable garden. Although they are three years old, they are still very petite bushes. Indigenous to northern climates, I think they may be stunted by our intense summer heat.
The photograph above is of a honeyberry blossom before it opens. The photograph below is of opened blossoms.
Also known as blue honeysuckle, you can see the similarities between its blossoms and a honeysuckle blossom.
Our blueberry bushes have set many, many blossoms. I love the bell shaped look of blueberry blossoms because they are so unique.
Our Nanking cherry bushes are also filling with delicate white blossoms. These are still very young bushes, so they look rather sparse in the photographs. Later in the year, these 8 or 9 bushes will produce white cherries which are less attractive to the birds; however, I also plan on planting two red cherry varieties to help with pollination. Last year, although the white Nanking cherry bushes bloomed prodigiously, they did not produce any fruit.
Last, but not least, at least one of our pear trees is blooming. Our Orient pear has set a fair number of blooms. Because of the sunlight, you have to look very carefully to see the blooms in this tree, but it actually has a decent number of blooms.
We have a fair number of pear varieties growing in our yard -- Orient, Warren, Monterrey, Moonglow, Pineapple, Kiepfer, Seckle, and Magness -- however, only the Orient has bloomed this Spring. Last year, we did not have very many blooms, either. I am concerned that the trees may not be getting enough sunlight because they essentially have a northern exposure resulting from nearby ornamental trees and bushes. Until these pear trees grow a little taller, they may continue to be sunlight challenged.