Sunday, January 3, 2010

79 ~ Pruning With the Moon

pruned tree New Shoots on our Grapefruit Tree

Here in Canary Islands it is customary to prune with the menguante, or waning phase of the moon. And adhering to this custom is my garden helper Antonio as well as other local Canary people I have known. I used to follow that rule myself with my rose bushes. I was never sure if it really made a difference.

Last month we gave a drastic pruning to our grapefruit tree because the leaves were suffering from a blight which has extended to most citrus trees of these islands. So this is what we did:

tree pruned And now with just a month behind us, we see the first new green shoots. I wonder how long it will take before the insect settles on the new leaves. We don't use any pesticides in the garden now, although years ago I used to use pyrethrum, a natural insecticide from a flower of the chrysanthemum family. But as that is also very toxic to bees and somewhat toxic to humans and birds, we stopped all spraying, other than plain hose water out of respect for the environment.

But of course now we have to hope that the tree can survive and overcome the insect that mottles and curls the leaves. This year we had no grapefruit from our little tree which normally produces more than we can eat or give away. Here is an old photo of the tree in 2001:

grapefruit tree 2001
Our little lime tree is faring somewhat better although it also has the blight. It's currently full of blossoms and fruit.
You can see the misshapen leaves in the background.

lime 1 Lime Blossom

lime blossom 2

lime fruit Bearss lime on our tree

Also know as Persian Lime, it was named after John T. Bearss, who developed this seedless variety around 1895 in his nursery at Porterville, California. (Quoted from Wikipedia.) It always surprises me that both lemons and limes will produce both fruit and flowers at the same time! And the perfume....ahhh...the scent of citrus blossoms is unforgettable. I notice a heavy scent in the air around 6 pm when we sit outside for our late afternoon coffee, watching the sun go down.

So now it seems we should start pruning the roses in four days, just when they are all in full bloom! We'll see if I have the courage to cut them all down. Here's what some of them looked like yesterday:

Gruss an Aachen Grüss an Aachen

Heinzelmännchen Heinzelmännchen

Queen Elizabeth Queen Elizabeth

I'll leave you with the scent of imaginary citrus blossoms hanging in the air!

¡Hasta la Vista!


leavesnbloom said...

the smell from citrus is wonderful - being on your blog is making me hungry as I browse through your photos etc lol lovely photographs......... and so nice and warm too. I yearn to see some green - everything here is white or black or brown. Rosie Scotland

gardeningAngel said...

Grapefruit is one of my favorite fruits to eat and smell - it is so clean and fresh. Your roses look very lovely. Sorry to hear about the blight - I hope that your trees are able to fend it off. Kathy

Olive Tree Guitar Ensemble said...

Hi, it's a very great blog.
i could tell how much efforts you've taken on it.
Keep doing!

Canarybird said...

Thank you Rosie....I visited your beautiful garden blog today and it reminded me so much of my grandfather's garden in Canada. I left a comment there also.

Thank you for dropping by Kathy...I also visited your lovely blog and left a comment.
I also hope we get through this current blight on the citrus.

Olive Tree Guitar Ensemble...What a surprise it was to hear from you. I listened to some of the music on your site.

Thank you for visiting me and your kind comment! As a former teacher of classical guitar in Canada and Spain I am very impressed with the Olive Tree Guitar Ensemble and the high level you have achieved. It is wonderful to see my favourite instrument and musical pieces being played with such imagination as a group and with such talented soloists. I wish you much success in the future! Kind regards, Sharon.

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andrea chiu said...
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