Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Sunshine for Kiwi Vines, Sunflowers and Butterfly Bushes

The kiwi vines are starting their rapid growth during the warmer coastal weather. Now warmer coastal weather here means 60 to 70 degrees. We're still in the mid 50's to 60's most days in April. Once March hits the kiwi leaves start budding out and forming. The kiwi vines produce very small, pretty ivory cream colored flowers before setting fruit. This vine covers many months of leafing out, flowering then setting fruit for the winter season. This last winter the fruit just didn't ripen correctly. This could be due to the lower amounts of rain we received here on the north coast this past fall and winter. I'm guessing this was the culprit, the kiwi fruits never sweetened or fully formed. We'll see what happens this year. In the meantime the leaves are flying up high and winding around the metal sculpture. When the vines die off we're thinking of replacing them with grape vines. As far a we know grapes do grow up in this region. It will be interesting to see how they do in our yard. This all depends on how long lived kiwi vines are, If I remember correctly they are long lived vines. I would not suggest you plant kiwi vines unless you have a huge, heavy structure to grow them on, they are very vigorous vines.

My husband cut back the five butterfly bushes in mid April, usually we cut them back a little earlier in the season but it does not seem to matter when you cut them back because they always grow up to 10 to 12 feet tall within a season. The butterfly bushes are placed on the back yard fence behind the kiwi vines. I'm looking forward to their blooms this summer and the host of butterflies that visit while they are in bloom, the butterflies flying down in swirling patterns through the middle of the back yard towards the conical shaped lavender, deep purple and magenta flowers.

I planted the bronze red sunflower seeds I got from my BBC magazine, lining up against the rest of the back yard fence. They are tall reddish sunflowers and should be striking when they surpass the height of our fence, but no doubt they will be no match in height compared with the butterfly bushes.

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