Saturday, March 8, 2008

Blood Orange & Spring Clean Up

One of the rewards of late winter is that citrus are ripening. This year I was rewarded with two blood oranges; Gary and I each had one. They were delicious. Since I had never actually tasted a blood orange, I thought I would do some research to see how my blood orange measures up to the characteristics of the species. I discovered that the ingredient in the orange that makes it red, anthocyanin, also happens to be an antioxidant. I also learned this same ingredient in blood oranges helps to protect against many types of health problems including diabetes. As with all natural remedies, do your own research and do not disregard the advice of your doctor.

With the warm weather we are having, I realize I am behind in my spring clean up chores. I have been busy cutting back all the perennials, raking leaves, cleaning up the vegetable bins, cutting back the herbs, and last, but not least, weeding. Cutting back perennials in the Spring is much better than doing it in the winter. One reason is because the dry branches help to hold leaves around the base of the plants and the leaves protect the plant from cold weather. Another reason is that the tall dried branches are a reminder where the plant is located in the Spring when the perennial starts sending up new shoots.

The buddleia prefers to be pruned in the Spring. I have tried pruning buddleia in the Fall and I have lost several buddleia that way. Buddleia is one of those plants which is stimulated to grow when it is pruned; therefore it makes sense to prune it in early Spring. Citrus are another plant that should only be pruned during the growing season since pruning stimulates growth for citrus. Last summer I had to prune my wisteria four times. I have always wanted a wisteria covered patio, so when we moved here I planted two wisteria on either side of patio near the gift shop. I didn't realize that a wisteria would take so much upkeep to keep it tidy. Hopefully I will be rewarded this Spring with lots of blossoms. I know I am definitely rewarded in the middle of summer, when the arbor is the best place to obtain relief from the scorching summer sun.