What's Happening Today 2023

What a fine creekside view!


What are your methods of trying to do that?
I was thinking about those tube type heaters,either propane or electric,that have a fairly powerful fan,blowing the heat out.They seem to push the air quite some distance.If one or more were used,in a small orchard,it might make a difference.

So sad to see. I hope at least some survive.

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I have used different techniques over the years. Originally blankets and burlap but it knocks off a lot of blooms and is difficult to place if wind are high. Most of my trees are much too large for that now. It does only provide limited protection.

I switched to dual propane burners that I attached to an ATV and literally drove by each tree all night long, pausing at each briefly. I killed the frozen grass by driving over it constantly My accelerator starting sticking in the cold and I ended up running into a tree covered in burlap and set it on fire. That’s a story for another day that I’ve outlined here before. Mixed results and multiple long cold nights for me.

The next year I dragged my big metal firepit to the middle of the orchard and kept it raging all night. I had a metal pot under each vulnerable tree and kept coal burning under each one all night. Lots of effort and the fire pit got so hot it bent. Again, some positive results but just too difficult to sustain.

This year six excel wobbler high angle sprinklers with lowest nozzle elevated on PVC pipe attached to t posts. Best results so far but conditions need to be right and start and stop time are important. Lots of water usage even with smallest droplets because of long run time. Extra weight on branches can cause breakage. Water must continuously be applied so that sufficient latent heat is available. Final success TBD. Multiple long flat irrigation hoses needed.

I have heard of larger smudge pots orchard heaters which I haven’t tried. It would probably take 3 or 4 of those in my 100 x 75 foot orchard. I’ve seen some clever home made ones.

Yours is a possibility I could explore. I have a fair amount of time and money invested in these sprinklers so I wanted to set up a pump and pull from a nearby creek.

Some can say all my efforts were a failure but I don’t think so. I mentioned before I feel less helpless to these monster temp swings through active prevention. I will hit upon the right method and stick with it. I’m in a microclimate between the Appalachian and blue ridge mountains and spring freezes in the Shenandoah valley are a sure thing pretty much every year.

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I applaud your efforts.That is dedication.It reminded me of a quote from Thomas Edison.

Another idea.Along with a forced air heater,some painter’s plastic film could be used.It’s very thin and probably won’t damage trees.From your pictures,I can’t really tell how big the orchard is.But the plastic could cover everything and then weighted around the perimeter.With the heater turned on,it should lift the plastic up,like a tent.Sections could be done,if the area size is too big.This probably won’t work though,if there is much wind.


A drive along part of the Blue Ridge Parkway. This is at an oveverlook close to the Orchard at Alta Pass.


I’m near the blue ridge parkway, but it’s a long drive for me. Looks awesome though!

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It wasn’t originally in the plan for this year, but I just spent the afternoon attempting to reclaim about 350 square feet adjacent to my yard from wild blackberry, virginia creeper, virgin’s bower, multiflora rose, poison ivy and probably a few struggling golden rod and other herbaceious types trying not ot get swallowed up. I still have a pile of pear branches to grind up in one corner and a few unidentifiable logs sinking into the earth in another that are each protecting some long-term squatters, but overall, I freed up a nice plot for my jujubes and/or yellowhorns. Of course, all of the things I removed are bad at taking the hint to move, but it’ll be easier next month.

Edit: It was more like 800 square feet. I was thinking about covering it all with cardboard to try and kill off much of what is in the dirt, but as everything is either viney or rhizomous that was there, I suspect I’d just give it a stronger root system to explode on me once the cardboard decayed. I don’t think it’s quite sunny enough to use black plastic and try to bake it all to death, so maybe some target boiling water where the densest clumps were. Bu that’s a lot of boiling water.

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We had unusually hot weather a couple weeks ago. It may have affected growth of many things, some for better or worse. It got up to 90, and that usually happens in June not the first of May. But this week has been in the 70s, and it was cool this morning for the Hazel Dell Parade of Bands. That is good, as so many families attend this children’s parade, and it can cause a lot to overheat and get sunburned most years.

Due to the heat, I built a birdbath on my patio. At least one bird found it, as I found her before she shook off her wings and flew away.

My patio garden is a work in progress. I have had complements from neighbors. I spent a lot this year investing into wooden outside planters and separate hidden inside plastic self-watering planters, which being under the shade of the patio facing south gets plenty of sun but also will not scorch in the crazy heat. Every bulb I put into them seems to be sprouted and doing very well. I am excited to see if this dahlia will actually survive and bloom! Likewise we had some disease years ago affect ground planted gladiolus. So those I put into planters are looking very healthy.

I also put tomatoes in various pots, planters, and even compost bin, with a layer of potting soil on top. They all appear to be mighty happy right now, and two have blossoms and are starting to bear fruit.

I have always struggled however to make anything thrive after springtime bulbs die back in the planters on the patio railing. The issues are: too much direct sun without any shade time, not being the self watering type, and many being shallow/narrow. I would need to plant things for summer that handle heat, direct sun all day, and infrequent watering. So far things that have yet to die in them include tiny mums and small carnations. So from May through September they are not good looking anymore.

A few years ago in Covid the apartment decided to ban all our gardens in the ground and made us all hate them. However, God is good, and nature has a way, so I found many of the flowers they dug out grew back from a root they missed, and pineberries decided to grow from one plant to a 2 foot tall and about 30 feet long carpet groundcover. I seem to have all the iris back I originally had, at least one of the peonies (I think the prettiest), a boysenberry that will not die, and one grape vine likely from a single seed. I had long ago a pink currant which died, but I see 3 plants near the rain gutter trying to grow, this their third year but still so small. I would like to transplant them but fear killing them.

I also decided to buy Holiday and Marshall strawberries. All are living, and I put into the ground because with all the other berries not far away nobody is going to care anymore. :stuck_out_tongue: They just gave up.

I will post some photos that I can.



One of these was taken last month and one yesterday same planter.


was 90F today. picked up my stepkid’s mom, who has no car, and took her shopping for her new little garden.

got dirt, compost, starts. got her some little labels. she had really nice red raspberry on her fence so I helped her wrestle those. gave her some tomatillos and basil and such I had extra of. we got fancy coffee like girls out shopping, it was fun. I like her a lot, she’s a sweet person. then I came home and put all the flowers I didn’t need, but bought anyway, into long planters on the front porch edges. looks nice. cactuses in between to deter the squirrels.

it was an interesting day for me, I’m usually a total hermit, neither she or I are very girly so going shopping and getting a smoothie was funny to us both


Today was overcast and slightly humid. This was a good time to water and check on stuff that maybe survived the heat or needed moved.

I discovered one mini pea growing. I have not had luck growing peas in containers, as it always gets too hot and cooks them in the sun. I will try again come fall in the new containers not so close to the sun.
One of the late planted parrot tulip varieties still has not opened blooms. They feel fine, healthy to the touch, just a late bloomer it seems.
Of the dahlias I have attempted in planters these are doing the best, and this one in particular is quite a big plant now. I forget which color I put in each of them, so it will be a happy surprise.

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The natural predators are really wiping out the aphids on my Asian pears. Here’s a ladybug larva on the left and a syrphid fly larva on the right with aphid remains.