Rhubarb Blooms?!??

Last year, I planted a couple of rhubarb plants to compliment the many, many strawberries I just planted.  I hoped they would do well, and they seemed to be pretty happy for their first season.

Well, this year the plants shot out of the ground and almost immediately went to bloom.  Now, if I wanted to harvest rhubarb, I should have cut the blooms and encouraged the plants to focus on leaves.  But, I had never seen rhubarb bloom so I was curious and decided this year would be an experiment.  I would see what rhubarb looked like blooming:
Rhubarb blooming

Initially, the plants looked something more like cauliflower or broccoli, but they quickly grew very tall and sent out little white flowers:

Rhubarb flowering

Then the flowers produced seeds- and now I have plenty of seeds to plant more rhubarb!

Rhubarb seed

After watching this process in my front yard, and thinking I had never seen rhubarb bloom before, I now realize my area has a ton of rhubarb going to bloom- both wild rhubarb and neighbors who planted rhubarb but don’t appear too concerned about maximizing a harvest.  But I’m glad my plants appear to be happy, I fully expect to add more rhubarb to my garden in the coming years, and now I know how to recognize rhubarb that has gone to bloom.

Happy blooming!

Pollarding Catalpas: An Update

Late last fall, I did a ton of research and decided to pollard our catalpa trees.

But even with the research I did I found lots of conflicting information, didn’t know what I was doing, and I knew I was taking a risk.

So all winter I have been staring at these ugly stumps and questioning my decision:


But my gamble appears to be paying off!  All three trees are sending out new shoots!


Here’s hoping our trees never get so out of hand again!

Garden: Trimming Catalpa Trees

Our house came with lots of peculiar things.  One such item was the trees lining our street:

Trimming Catalpas: catalpas in bloom

Although the trees held some appeal over the summer, we moved in last winter when they looked like this:

Trimming Catalpas: catalpas before trimming

Turns out, these trees are called catalpas, and although we have some very tall ones in our backyard, these three trees lining the street were coppiced or pollarded- something that pretty much means topping off trees to make them mimic more of a bush.  Apparently, the act of cutting back catalpa trees is fairly common as it keeps the trees small and encourages the leaves to grow extra large.

Unfortunately for us, our trees had been coppiced (or pollarded) many years ago but it also sounds like this type of severe trimming needs to be done on a semi-regular basis- something that hadn’t been done to our trees in many, many years.

So after talking to a few tree trimming services and seeing some neighbors with these same pollarded trees, I decided something needed to be done and took matters into my own hands; or, more specifically, I took matters into my own hands that just so happened to be wielding a chainsaw:

Trimming Catalpas: catalpas after trimming

Looks like I created an even bigger eyesore!!!  But, supposedly, these trees thrive with this kind of cutting and hopefully (fingers crossed) will come in beautifully next year.   Of course, despite all my research, I have no idea what I’m doing.  If it doesn’t work out then I guess we will be shopping for some new trees! (gulp)