The Week in Bloom

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This week I asked my friend Colby Eierman (above) to report on the Week in Bloom from Benziger Family Winery in Glen Ellen CA, giving us a glimpse of a micro climate just 20 miles to the East; all text and images that follow are by Colby (if you would like to report on ‘The Week in Bloom’ from your neck of the woods, please fill out the PARTICIPATE form and send a note):

This week could be considered the season opener for gardeners, as our official frost free date is April 15th.  Of course every garden is different, but it is pretty safe to say that most of us are now free to plant tender annuals.  This also turns out to be a tough week to choose only a few highlights for “The Week in Bloom”.  Here are a few choice selections from this valley, hanging at about 800 ft. above sea level on the east side of Sonoma Mountain, that we call Benziger Family Winery.

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This bulb in the iris family is called Angel’s Fishing Rod (Dierama pulcherrimum) and is one that I get a lot of questions about when it is blooming.  It tends to form clumps over time and the corms can be divided in the dormant season.

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The alliums have done particularly well this year and we are enjoying these Red Long of Tropea onions in the scallion stage.

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One of the few buds on this apple tree that seems to be slipping into a biennial cycle, having set too big of a crop last year.  We will be more diligent in our fruit thinning next June to try and convince it to set a balanced crop year to year.

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This agave relative is called Furcraea (not sure on the species) and this family boast the largest inflorescence of any plant on earth.  We have quite a few of these on the ranch that all came from the same mother plant.  Small bulblets will follow the flowers and can be easily propagated.  You can’t predict when they will flower, but once they do that is the end of their life.

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Close up Furcraea flower

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The black bean aphids (Aphis fabae) are a bit out of balance this year, but we have already gotten most of the crop off these Windsor fava beans (Vicia faba).  Kinda fun to notice the species names.

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Much closer to the Wowhaus compound, at our Pinot Noir vineyard in Bodega, we have welcomed a beautiful new Watusi (Bos indicus) calf.  The breed is at least 6000 years old, tracing its roots back to Africa.  Locally you can see the breed at Safari West.

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