update from the orchard – flowers, lizards and mushrooms

Spring is truly a beautiful time of year! The temperature hit the upper sixties yesterday and gaves us a break from the rain. We took the opportunity to spend some time in and around the orchard.

We were not the only creatures out enjoying the sunshine – the fence lizards came out in force from many of the little burrows and holes. Hearing them skitter around is fun, but it takes some getting used to again. They make a surprising amount of noise for little lizards.

The fence lizards are a frequent patron and not very shy. We also got a chance to see one of their larger relatives just outside the orchard. This alligator lizard was also soaking up some rays:

After all the rain recently, the wild mushrooms are still going strong. The flush of LBMs around the 49’er peach tree keeps on expanding. Really have to try and figure out what it is.

All in all, the orchard is shaping up quite well for the warm season. I am still concerned that the warm weather in Feb has started the trees to begin developing buds too early, but time will tell. I can see freeze/frost damage on the bush cherry buds, but they are already showing signs of regrowth. It just means we will have less of a crop this year. Some of the peach trees have a couple flowers open, along with the Hunza apricot. Most of the blossoms are yet to come. Here is a shot of the Elephant Heart Japanese plum with a close-up of a branch filled with flower buds:

Our ponds are plenty full at this point, so I am ready for the warm season to begin!

Spring is bringing out the wildflowers and other plants to put on a show and see who can win this year’s battle for territory. Here is a picture with a (mostly) native polyculture – all pretty aggressive plants growing in a path: mullein, greater hounds tongue, wild strawberry, dandelion and cleavers.

The great hounds tongue is a local member of the borage family and has interesting blue flowers that are just starting to come out on some of the further along plants.

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